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Aliens from the planet of Krytol are attacking your cities! As the commander of a missile base, it is your responsibility to defend them. A variety of enemy weapons and planes will be incoming trying to destroy the six cities at the bottom of the screen. You need to fire missiles to destroy the incoming weapons. If anything gets through, one of your cities could be destroyed. When all of the cities are gone, the game is over. On each level you have a limited amount of ammo, so make sure most (if not all) of your shots are accurate or you could run out of ammo and leave your cities at risk! As the levels progress, there are more and more enemy weapons to destroy which come in at an increasingly faster rate.


Missile Command Atari 8-bit The enemy goes all out in later levels
Missile Command Atari 5200 A game in progress
Missile Command Atari 8-bit Blasting incoming missiles
Missile Command Atari 2600 A game in progress

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Alternate Titles

  • "Füze Savaşları" -- Turkish title
  • "Comando de Mísseis" -- Brazilian title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

80's Cold War paranoia manifest it'self into a insanely fun game ! Atari 2600 GAMEBOY COLOR! (2002)
All-Time-Favorite Atari 2600 JoeHamburg (5)

Critic Reviews

All Game Guide Arcade 1998 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
The Atari Times Atari 2600 Feb 25, 2002 92 out of 100 92
Eurogamer.net (UK) Arcade Oct 26, 2007 9 out of 10 90
8-bit Central Retro Gaming Atari 2600 2011 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90
The Atari Times Arcade Nov 13, 2003 85 out of 100 85
Atari HQ Atari 2600 2000 8 out of 10 80
JoyStik Atari 2600 Dec, 1982 7.7 out of 10 77
The Video Game Critic Atari 5200 Oct 05, 2001 B- 67
Tilt Atari 8-bit Sep, 1982 4 out of 6 67
The Video Game Critic Atari 8-bit Dec 28, 2002 C+ 58


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1001 Video Games

Missile Command appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Amiga version

An Amiga version of original Missile Command officially never appeared. There were many attempts to create freeware remakes or clones however true arcade port was never procured. The closest adaptation of arcade version on Amiga was port by Kevin Gallagher which was published on Aminet on 8th of June 2020. As author says it is still not an exact port. Some things had to be sacrificed in order to make the game playable on a standard Amiga A500. The main one being secondary explosions. In the original game, When you hit an enemy missile the enemy missile also produced a large explosion. This had to go as the game was slowing down considerably. Also, extra life or extra city every 20,000 points had to be removed because the game became far too easy to complete.

Cancelled successor

The successor Missile Command 2 was in development, but was never released to arcades. It was supposed to be a two-player-variant in which two opponents defend and attack simultaneously. According to designer Rich Adam they never managed to make the concept fun.


When the game was designed, the cities in Missile Command were intended to represent six cities on the California coast: Eureca, San Francisco, San Lois Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego.


Senior Atari engineer Steve Calfee is responsible for suggesting the display of the final words THE END following the explosion when the last city is destroyed.

References to the game

  • The game appears to have been parodied in the TV series The Simpsons. In the episode in which Lisa develops a crush on school bully Nelson Muntz, he and his friends are seen hurling eggs at the window of the house of Principal Skinner. The view is then seen from inside the house, and the green lines hitting the window and exploding into circles look a lot like the shots in the game.
  • In the movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day, John Connor is shown playing Missile Command at the arcade at the mall. Ironically, the movies are based on a nuclear war where nukes fell from the skies and destroyed every city on earth, and John, who will eventually be the leader of the Resistance, is actually playing the game, showing a vision of things to come.
  • In the 1983 episode Smaller Than Life from the TV series Magnum P.I., a kid is seen playing Missile Command on an Atari 800.


  • Retro Gamer
    • September 2004 (Issue #8) – #96 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
    • #7 in the “Top 25 Atari 2600” Games poll

Information also contributed by Martin Smith, PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual, Robbb and FatherJack

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Contributed to by Jo ST (24056), firefang9212 (77340), Alaka (88082), Kabushi (257697), Pseudo_Intellectual (64445), Servo (57355) and Jeanne (76218)
atari missile command