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DescriptionPlay the role of a spaceship pilot trapped in a gigantic asteroid cloud and pulverize incoming asteroids with the ship's photon cannon. When all asteroids are destroyed, the player can then move on to the next round. In addition to the asteroids, the player will also face an Alien Robot Saucer which shoots randomly across the screen.
The player using the controller may rotate the ship (left or right) to any direction or move the ship forward. Shots will be fired according to the ship direction. The player has three reserved ships available to replace a destroyed spaceship. The spaceship is destroyed if an asteroid collides with the spaceship or is shot by an Alien Robot Saucer. Additionally, the player may opt to use the hyperspace warp to avoid collision. The warp however, may also destroy the spaceship in the process.
Asteroids when shot will break-up into smaller pieces or be destroyed. There are three types of asteroids: large asteroids, medium asteroids, and small asteroids. Large asteroids and medium asteroids when shot, will break-up into two smaller sized asteroids. Small asteroids when shot will be destroyed.
Alien Robot Saucers come in two sizes: small and large. Both use photon lasers to shoot and will explode when destroyed. Alien Robot Saucers will not appear at the Novice Level.
Game Difficulty and Variations
There are 4 available difficulty settings: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert.
The game also offers three different game variations:
The score of the Player 1 is viewable on the upper left side of the screen, while Player 2 on the opposite upper right side. A player will be awarded a new reserve ship for every 10,000 points.
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The Press Says
Atari 7800Asteroids was one of the "Fabulous Eleven" launch games for the Atari 7800.
ControlsThe original Asteroids arcade control scheme (five buttons, no joystick) is identical to the configuration employed in the early PDP-1 Spacewar! implementation.
ReferencesInternally at Atari the two flavours of UFO in Asteroids (slow and fast) were referred to as "Mr. Bill" and "Sluggo", after characters in Saturday Night Live skits. After this was disclosed in an interview, Atari was sent a cease-and-desist letter by NBC's lawyers.
References to the gameAsteroids was popular enough to have a song inspired by it on the full-length Pac-Man Fever album: Hyperspace.
TechnologyThe original Coin-Op game of Asteroids in the arcade machines contained 4 kilobytes of code and 4 kilobytes of graphic data. Programmers managed to squeeze it in to 1 kilobyte of data for the Atari 2600!
Information also contributed by PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual and Scott Monster.
Atari 2600 Credits