Developer(s): Atari Inc.
Publisher(s): Atari Inc.
Designer(s): Lyle Rains & Ed Logg
Being one of the standout titles of the second generations of gaming, Asteroids became an instant success, garnishing units sales of over $150,000,000, and $500,000,000 in coin drops at arcades. It is still re-released on many different home consoles to this day, and remains a very strong cult classic among fans with an appreciation for their routes and newer gamers looking to experience previous generation of gaming. Though I was born during the third generation of gaming, I have recently made more of an effort to delve into earlier gaming generations, and so far Asteroids has been one of my favourite games of the second generation; up there with the likes of Bosconian, Pac-Man and Yars’ Revenge.
The visuals depend largely on what version of the game one may be playing. The arcade cabinet version of the game was simply black and white, and the home console version had a black background with coloured asteroids, since home consoles relied heavily on the use of different colours. In this instance, I am going by the home console version, since in my opinion, it’s the superior version of the two. I think that although the game’s sprites pretty basic, the developers did incorporate a very effective use of colour compared to many other games at the time, but I also think they did have the facility to add a little more design to the ship, and they didn’t.
The concept of Asteroids is simple; move around the screen shooting as many asteroids as possible before losing all lives. The more asteroids destroyed, the higher the player’s score. Insanely addictive and enjoyable to play, Asteroids embodies the pinnacle of what a great video game could have ever expected to be at the time, and still largely holds up to this day, in my opinion.
There are no issues with the controls whatsoever. How well the game plays out depends entirely on player’s skill and attention to what is going on in the game, which was fairly difficult to do at the time, since I have found some issues concerning things like hit detection and general movement in a fair few games of the era.
There were many different shooting games around at the time, and even more games revolving around racking up the highest score possible. But very few games were laid out as this one was, or as addictive or engrossing as this.
In Summation, Asteroid to me, is a timeless classic; a shining example of exceptional video game design during the late 70s and early 80s. Truly, a wonderful and immersing early gaming experience.
4/5 – A game polished to the max with only a couple of small flaws that don’t ruin the game, but can cause minor annoyance
ED note: If this was your kind of game and you are now looking for something in the same vein today then you may want to consider: