Retrogaming Spotlight: Missile Command

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AllenTheAlien
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Retrogaming Spotlight: Missile Command

Post by AllenTheAlien » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:10 pm

In July of 1980, Atari released the classic arcade game, Missile Command in North America and Europe. Many games of the time were set in fantasy worlds where the stakes were fairly limited. Missile Command was unusual in the sense that it took the real-world fear that plagued the world during the Cold War and gave average people a chance to see how things could theoretically play out.

Check out our RetroGamer post on this arcade classic here:
https://www.retrogamer.net/retro_games8 ... e-command/

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Story: You're a regional military commander in charge of protecting six cities from being destroyed by a barrage of incoming missiles.

Gameplay: This video game introduced many gamers to the roller ball (track ball) controller. Use the track ball to move a cross hair around the screen while launching defensive missiles to blow up incoming attacks. As you progress through levels, the enemies begin to fire new weapons. These weapons include smart missiles that can evade defensive attacks as well as satellites that can launch additional missiles.

Play: While it can definitely get hectic quickly, the game still brings something to the table for fans of retro games. Check it out in your browser by clicking here:
http://www.arcadedivision.com/classicga ... mmand.html

Popular Culture: While not directly referenced, I'm of the firm belief that Missile Command was a big influence on the visual style of "game play" used in the film War Games. More directly, MC was referenced in one of my favorite tv shows as a kid, Barney Miller. It was also an influence on an episode of the series, Check, on NBC.

Fun Fact: Adding this type of controller to Missile Command adds a realism most players would never notice because track balls were originally created for military use. The six cities you are charged with protecting in the game were based on six California cities; Eureka, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, and San Diego.

Missile Command was an early example of "realistic" military games that used the technology available at the time to give players a glimpse into the ramifications of modern warfare. Was this a game you played as a kid, or later in life?

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SJ_Sathanas
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Re: Retrogaming Spotlight: Missile Command

Post by SJ_Sathanas » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:15 pm

Made a brief appearance in Terminator 2, of course.

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Antiriad2097
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Re: Retrogaming Spotlight: Missile Command

Post by Antiriad2097 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:49 am

The VCS version plays surprisingly well with the trackball (thanks Steve), even with the concessions made to fit the format.

Popular Culture: A whole episode of Chuck (Season 2 Episode 5) centres around Missile Command, with the game being central to the plot.
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Re: Retrogaming Spotlight: Missile Command

Post by Megamixer » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:13 am

Yeah, the VCS/2600 port is brilliant. It's the only game I play on one of those handheld retro Atari things that I have. Really does have that "one more go" factor going for it and the sound effects are fantastic.
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Re: Retrogaming Spotlight: Missile Command

Post by Antiriad2097 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:06 am

The trackball really raises the bar with it though, making a huge difference to it, it just feels so right.
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hobbes64
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Re: Retrogaming Spotlight: Missile Command

Post by hobbes64 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:56 pm

The Atari Home computer version was very good. It was able to have many more explosions on the screen so it was much closer to the arcade. It also had the bombers and satellites. It has a secret trackball mode too. I think it was enabled by pressing ctrl-T. I tried it once by using an Atari ST mouse since I didn't have a trackball. It worked very well and made the game much easier.
Antiriad2097 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:49 am
The VCS version plays surprisingly well with the trackball (thanks Steve), even with the concessions made to fit the format.

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