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Asteroids (Atari 2600)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.5
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5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

Play 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:
  • Standard Play - For one or two players, taking turns when a player's ship is destroyed.

  • Competition Asteroids - Two players appear on the screen at the same time. Friendly fire is in affect, which means shots fired from one player's spaceship will destroy the other player's spaceship. Each player has separate ship reserves.

  • Team Asteroids - Two players on the screen at the same time. Friendly fire is disabled, which means shots fired from one player's spaceship will not destroy the other player's spaceship and just pass through. Ship reserves for both players are combined.
Scoring
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.
  • Small saucer - 1,000 points
  • Other player's ship - 500 points
  • Large saucer - 200 points
  • Small asteroid - 100 points
  • Medium asteroid - 50 points
  • Large asteroid - 20 points

Screenshots

Asteroids Atari 2600 Each level starts with several large asteroids
Asteroids Atari 2600 Blasting asteroids...
Asteroids Atari 2600 Eventually you have lots of little asteroids floating around

Alternate Titles

  • "Asteroids (AsterĂ³ides)" -- Brazilian Polyvox release

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

An Authentic Arcade Experience. Guy Chapman (1744) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
Addictive and fun title, which shines in simplicity. vedder (20153) 3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars
This is the game I would shovel snow 2 miles uphill to play lasttoblame (393) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
If you are seriously reading reviews to consider buying this game or not, truly humanity has lost all hope. Matt Neuteboom (941) 1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars
Great game. One of the only games I have worth playing on the emulators. Alex K. (3) unrated
So where is Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck at ? DANIEL HAWKS ! (1910) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

The Press Says

Defunct Games Jan 16, 2014 A- 91
The Video Game Critic Jun 30, 2004 A- 91
Game Freaks 365 2005 8.9 out of 10 89
The Atari Times Nov 10, 2003 88 out of 100 88
Digital Press - Classic Video Games Sep 25, 2004 7 out of 10 70

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
free browser version 2 Pseudo_Intellectual (44554)
Jan 26, 2014

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The Arcade version of Asteroids appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Atari 7800

Asteroids was one of the "Fabulous Eleven" launch games for the Atari 7800.

Controls

The original Asteroids arcade control scheme (five buttons, no joystick) is identical to the configuration employed in the early PDP-1 Spacewar! implementation.

References

Internally 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 game

Asteroids was popular enough to have a song inspired by it on the full-length Pac-Man Fever album: Hyperspace.

Technology

The 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, Scott Monster and FatherJack.
Servo (55921) added Asteroids (Atari 2600) on Apr 12, 2003
Other platforms contributed by Patrick Bregger (110505), ZZip (798), The cranky hermit (491) and Servo (55921)