Missile Command

Missile command is a arcade game released by Atatri in 1980. The aim is to shoot the incoming missiles with your lazer beam.

Arcade Games

Missile Command Game History
Missile Command is a classic video game experience from the golden era of arcade gaming. As with many books, films and TV programmes of the era, the game was believed to be spawned out of the effect the cold war had on culture at the time. Whatever the reason behind the game, there is absolutely no doubting it’s status as an arcade legend.

Missile Command: A Brief History

The game was programmed by Dave Theurer and was first released in July 1980. It was developed and published by Atari Inc. Although the game was also licensed to Sega for it’s release across Europe. Approximately 20,000 units were produced worldwide.

Missile Command is basically a two player alternating “shoot ’em up,” but instead of a joystick for control, the game uses a trackball to guide a cross-hair across the screen. There were three buttons, one for each missile battery, and each battery contained ten missiles.

As the missile commander in an Armageddon style war, the object was to protect six cities and the three batteries from an attack of ballistic missiles, bombers and satellites. The player achieved this by moving the cross-hair over the enemy projectile and launching a missile from one of the three batteries in hopes of destroying the incoming ballistic missile.

The game’s stages are of increasing difficulty, with each stage having a set number of enemy missiles. Once all the missiles in the batteries are used, the player has to sit back and watch the rest of the level unfold. It was for this reason that Missile Command had a steep learning curve for many gamers, as every missile had to be launched with perfect accuracy and timing in order to be successful.

At the end of a stage, a bonus is awarded for each missile and city left standing. The batteries are replenished with missiles and rebuilt, but the cities are not. Between 10 and 12 thousand points players are awarded a bonus city. The gaming experience will end when all cities and batteries are destroyed.

Conversions of Missile Command

Since the release of the original, many conversations to the home computer/console market have been made, including;
Atari 2600
Atari 5200
Nintendo Game Boy
Sega Master System
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Saturn
Sony PlayStation
Sony PlayStation2
Microsoft Xbox
Microsoft Xbox 360
Although there have been many conversions of the game, a true sequel has never materialised.

The game is still as popular today as it was back in the 80s. In 2006 a gamer from the U.K broke the world record for the game in tournament play, his score was a massive 1,967,830. The previous record was held for over 20 years.