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Asteroids (Atari 2600, 1982) - CX2649

Asteroids (Atari 2600, 1982) - CX2649

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"Asteroids" is a classic video game developed by Atari, Inc., and originally released as an arcade game in 1979. The Atari 2600 version of "Asteroids" was released in 1981, not 1982 as sometimes mistaken, and it adapted the arcade game for home consoles.

Overview of the Game

Developer: Atari, Inc.

Platform: Atari 2600

Release Year: 1981

Genre: Multi-directional shooter


In "Asteroids," the player controls a spaceship in an asteroid field that is periodically traversed by flying saucers. The objective is to shoot and destroy asteroids and saucers while avoiding collisions with them and their projectiles. The game is known for its simple, yet engaging mechanics and infinite gameplay, allowing players to score as high as they can.

Key Features:

  • Spaceship Control: Players maneuver their spaceship using the joystick to rotate left and right, move forward, and fire bullets.
  • Asteroid Splitting: Large asteroids split into smaller ones when shot, and these smaller asteroids can also be shot to split further or be destroyed.
  • UFOs: Periodically, small and large UFOs appear, which shoot at the player's ship.
  • Hyperspace: The player's ship can temporarily jump to a random location on the screen to escape danger, though this can be risky as the new location might be just as perilous.

Differences from the Arcade Version

The Atari 2600 version had to be simplified due to the hardware limitations of the home console:

  • Graphics: The visuals are less detailed and simpler compared to the vector graphics of the arcade version.
  • Sound: Sound effects are also less sophisticated.
  • Controls: The control scheme had to be adapted to fit the joystick controller of the Atari 2600.
  • Game Mechanics: Some of the more complex behaviors of the arcade version were simplified or removed.

Despite these limitations, the Atari 2600 version of "Asteroids" was well-received and is remembered as a significant title in the console's library. It brought the arcade experience into the living room, contributing to the popularity of home gaming in the early 1980s.

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