Game of the Month January, 2005:

System: Multiple Developer: Atari
Asteroids is one of the first games I can remember playing, both in the arcades and on the Atari 2600. It is one of the games that is largely responsible for making me a gamer. Despite its age, it's a game that I still find entertaining even to this day. Asteroids has been ported to numerous home systems, and because of its simplistic game design, even the least powerful (like the 2600) could capture its gameplay and feel quite accurately. But despite its simplicity, Asteroids is a game that is fun, hectic, and just begs you to keep coming back for a higher score.

Atari 2600 Asteroids

Atari 7800 Asteroids Your hapless thrust ship is perpetually lost in a deadly asteroid belt. So your only goal is to destroy all the space rocks and the occasional UFO. Asteroids was one of the first arcade games to use vector-line graphics, but even more importantly, it introduced a unique control scheme that made the game truly stand out. Your thrust ship is free to move all over the screen, but only by rotating in the direction you wish to go, and then thrusting forward. The more you thrust, the faster your ship will go, but it doesn't automatically stop. You could only stop by thrusting in the opposite direction or by letting the ship's momentum run out. This control allowed for you to move in one direction while turning and firing in another. Mastering this control is essential to staying alive and gaining high scores.

As you may have guessed (or already known), as you clear each round, the asteroids move faster and more appear on the screen. Shooting a large or medium-sized asteroid makes it break into smaller pieces, which then fly in different directions. The screen can easily become filled up with rocks flying everywhere, plus, you have to be on the lookout for the UFO's that fly by and shoot at you, too. Because Asteroids has been ported to so many home systems, it shouldn't be difficult to find a version of it that you can play. Some home versions lack the vector-line graphics, but the gameplay usually remains intact.

SNES Asteorids on Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits: Atari Collection 1

Although Asteroids may not be one of my top favorite games, I do have a fondness for it and lots of good memories of playing it. I also think it's held up pretty well, and I still like to give it a go every now and then.

Asteroids Links

  • My Asteroids Review - A complete review of the Atari 7800 version of this game.
  • My Midway Arcade Classics Review - Asteroids is one of the games covered on this collection.


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