#8 Asteroids

Posted: 22nd April 2014 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

324th played so far

asteroidsGenre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1979
Developer: Atari
Publisher: Atari

Some games are so well-known, they require no introduction.

Our Thoughts

I mean, do I really need to describe Asteroids? Line graphics, little ship that rotates and moves ahead, firing at rocks to split and destroy them.

It’s a simple concept, predictable and straight forward. But then again, it’s got that simplicity that makes the old arcade games so addictive. It’s possible to survive – not that complicated, even – but endurance plays a large part. And from there on, the levels blur together. You die and lose a life for some reason and you’re back in the game so quickly that it all flows into each other – you simply keep playing the game.

There have been many knock-offs of the game – from straight re-skins to taking the basic gameplay and adding additional features, but going back to the original, I must admit that it just doesn’t entirely work for me. The simple aesthetic, plain, direct line drawings, add to the gameplay and fit in nicely with the game itself.

My first exposure to the Asteroids formula was the rather beautifully 3D-rendered AstroFire. Like Asteroids you had to fire your laser into the flying chunks of space rock whilst evading the smaller chunks but also included power-ups and colour graphics. My first playthrough of Asteroids actually confused a young me since there was no power-ups. Still, it speaks to the influential nature of this game that it has become a standard game-type.

It’s a simple game – sure, more advanced than Pong or Boot Hill, but still focused on doing a single thing well. It feels rare these days – something for indies, free internet games, but not the big titles, but it’s what makes the game more fun.

Final Thoughts

I can’t claim perfection here, sure. If you searched, you could find some niggles with the game – the control scheme, while fit for purpose, can fit a bit awkward sometimes. But the game is good enough to come back to more often. It’s these sort of games that are one of the reasons playing these games again is so much fun – it’s great to get back into them.

  1. […] it is years ahead of its time (since we are only talking about a year difference between this and Asteroids) is because it uses a different form of graphics. This is a very early attempt to create a three […]

  2. […] notes describe this game as Asteroids or Lunar Lander combined with Scramble and having added missions. That’s pretty long, but it […]

  3. […] makes for a more frantic version of Asteroids at first, firing at rocks to destroy and get rid of them. Rocks have certain weapons they are weak […]

  4. […] be playing on your own. That’s fine too – the battles feel like an annoying version of Asteroids, although with loads of different ships with their own stats and setups. I do wish we’d see […]

  5. […] Asteroids is a classic, defining the 2D shooter genre in a major way. Its sequels don’t come up much on the list – although derivatives might have – and Blasteroids is the one official one that made it on – nearly a decade later. […]