The Game: As the pilot of a lone space cruiser, you must try to clear the spaceways of a swarm of free-floating asteroids, but the job isn’t easy – Newton’s laws of motion must be obeyed, even by asteroids. When you blow a big rock into little chunks, those chunks go zipping off in opposite directions with the speed and force imparted by the amount of energy you used to dispel them. To that screenful of bite-sized chunks o’ death, add an unpredictable hyperspace escape mechanism and a pesky UFO that likes to pop in and shoot at you, and you’re between several large rocks and a hard place. (Atari, 1984; released circa 1987)
Memories: So you thought Asteroids didn’t become a creature of slick full-color graphics until the Playstation era, eh? Or maybe you didn’t think that. First off, Atari rehashed the game in colorful raster form as Blasteroids in the arcades, and then it included a copy of this rendition of Asteroids with every Atari 7800 console it sold.
The game control is much like the version released for the Atari 2600, but the look of the game is where the 7800 struts its stuff – it looks excellent. As a showcase of Atari’s new machine for the NES era, Asteroids ain’t too shabby…but next to the NES pack-in title, Super Mario Bros., a revamp of a 1979 arcade hit was old hat. The game itself isn’t bad, but – through no fault of its programmers – it wasn’t what was needed to generate a “wow!” from consumers across the country and around the world who were choosing between the 7800 and the Nintendo juggernaut.