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The 80’s was a very popular era. Along with items like bell bottoms and parachute pants, retro arcade games were also introduced in this era. These games set the basis for the gaming industry and were enjoyed by all.

Asteroids® is a video arcade game released in the 80’s by Atari Inc. It is one of the most popular and influential games ever made. The player controls a spaceship in an asteroid field which is periodically traversed by flying saucers.

The Gameplay

The gameplay involves controlling a spaceship and scoring as many points as possible by destroying asteroids and flying saucers. The player controls a triangular-shaped ship that can rotate left and right, fire shots straight ahead, and thrust forward. As the ship moves, momentum is not conserved—the ship eventually comes to a stop again when not thrusting. The player can also send the ship into hyperspace, causing it to disappear and reappear in a random location on the screen but you need to be aware of the risk of self-destructing or appearing on top of an asteroid.

As the player shoots asteroids, they break into smaller asteroids that frequently move faster and are more difficult to hit.


If you warp into hyperspace, your ship will momentarily disappear then reappear on another part of the screen, gradually fading in. During this time the ship cannot be destroyed by the saucers or asteroids. Hitting smaller asteroids scores higher points.

There are two kinds of flying saucers. Large saucers fire in random directions, while small saucers aim at the player’s ship.

Difficulty Levels

Once the screen has been cleared of all asteroids and flying saucers, a new set of large asteroids appears. The number of asteroids increases each round up to a maximum of 12. The game is over when the player has lost all the lives available.

Interface and Controls

Asteroids® has the easiest interface and controls. Just use the cursor keys to move the ship and a control button, e.g. a spacebar, to hit the targets.

Asteroids® was one of the first classic games to be released. It continues to captivate and entertain gamers even now.

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Asteroids® © 1979 Atari Interactive, Inc. ©2011 Atari and the Atari logo are registered trademarks of Atari Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved. Used under license.