Asteroids (video game)

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Asteroids is a video arcade game released in 1979 by Atari Inc. It was one of the most popular and influential games of the Golden Age of Arcade Games. Asteroids uses a vector display and a two-dimensional view that wraps around in both screen axes (a toroidal topology). The player controls a spaceship in an asteroid field which is periodically traversed by flying saucers. The object of the game is to shoot and destroy asteroids and saucers while not colliding with either, or being hit by the saucers' counter-fire.



The game was conceived by Lyle Rains and programmed and designed by Ed Logg.[1] It was implemented on hardware developed by Howard Delman. Asteroids was a hit in the United States and became Atari's best selling game of all time.[2] Atari had been in the process of manufacturing another vector game, Lunar Lander, but demand for Asteroids was so high they stopped further production of Lunar Lander so they could begin building Asteroids.[citation needed] The first 300 Asteroids machines were sent out in Lunar Lander cabinets. Asteroids was so popular that video arcade operators sometimes had to install larger boxes to hold the amount of coins that were spent by players.

Asteroids is also the first game to use Atari's "QuadraScan" vector-refresh system.[3] a full-color version known as "Color-QuadraScan" was later developed for games such as Space Duel and Tempest.


The objective of Asteroids is to score as many points as possible by destroying asteroids and flying saucers. The player controls a triangular-shaped ship that can rotate left and right, fire shots straight forward, and thrust forward. As the ship moves, momentum is not conserved — the ship eventually comes to a stop again when not thrusting. The player can also send their ship into hyperspace, causing it to disappear and reappear in a random location on the screen (with the risk of self-destructing or appearing on top of an asteroid).

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