51 Shades of Geek

Star Raiders

Star RaidersThe Game: Zylon warships are on the rampage, blasting allied basestars out of the sky and wreaking havoc throughout the galaxy. Your orders are to track down the fast-moving raiders and destroy them before they can do any more See the videodamage. You have limited shields and weapons at your disposal, and a battle computer which is vital to your mission (though critical damage to your space fighter can leave you without that rather important piece of equipment). The game is simple: destroy until you are destroyed, and defend friendly installations as long as you can. (Atari, 1979)

Memories: The original version of Atari’s Star Raiders leaves very few doubts as to its origins; in a sense, it’s a new take on the old grid-based Star Trek mainframe game, only with ample opportunities for arcade-style action. Oh, and – astonishingly, even back then – the game kicks off with a title screen showing a spaceship obviously based on the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which also appeared in 1979. How the lawyers missed that one, we’ll probably never know.

Star RaidersOn the Atari computers, Star Raiders is a far more effective game than the somewhat watered-down version released later on the VCS. The size of its “universe” on the galactic grid as many times bigger, and even the action sequences are a bit more nuanced. The keyboard controls are intuitive, and it’s just an easier game to learn – despite being a harder game to win. About the only drawback I can see here is the lack of Atari Force comics featuring the Hukka, but for a better gaming experience, that’s a sacrifice I think I’m prepared to make for one of the quintessential Atari computer games.

Star Raiders

Star Raiders

About Earl Green

I'm the webmaster and creator of theLogBook.com and its video game museum "sub-site", Phosphor Dot Fossils.
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