Retrogaming Spotlight: Lunar Lander

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Retrogaming Spotlight: Lunar Lander

Post by SHaines » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:49 am

The history of Lunar Lander stretches all the way back to 1969 when it was first released as a text-based game. This early game was written by a high school student named Jim Storer using the FOCAL programming language.

It wasn’t until August of 1979 that the arcade version (complete with a graphical interface) was launched by Atari. This iteration of the game was an impressive feat for the time as it was the first Atari game to use vector graphics and a shifting perspective.


The goal was to keep your module fueled up to keep flying (more fuel could be added by dropping in more quarters) which gave us all an early taste of what would come to be known as the P2W payment model. Bonus points were earned by landing the module in tricky bits of the lunar terrain.

Unfortunately for fans of Lunar Lander, the game Asteroids was also released in 1979. Asteroids was so incredibly popular that around 300 Lunar Lander cabinets were shipped containing Asteroids.

Find our post on Lunar Lander here:

Gameplay: A spring-loaded joystick allows you to rotate your module left or right while the thrusters could be fired by pressing a button. Different areas of the moon had different levels of difficulty when landing. As your module approached the moon’s surface the interface would shift to a new point of view, a close up of the lander itself.

Play: Lunar Lander wasn’t complex, but it comes with some real challenges in terms of controls. Try it out for free via web browser here:

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Re: Retrogaming Spotlight: Lunar Lander

Post by Nin10dofan » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:04 pm

5 of my most favourite games are Rick dangerous, battletoads(gameboy and arcade),frost byte, sonic and i should say a lot gamecube games . But I can't think of a handy game like lunar lander even to load it on a zx spectrum only takes seconds. It's still in the arcades too. I mean I started saying my fav game was eternal darkness. But I'd call lunar lander that as well .🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀

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Re: Retrogaming Spotlight: Lunar Lander

Post by meeplebunker » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:07 pm

"Discovered" this game on my Arcade1Up 12-in-1 machine and fell in love. It gets the majority of my play on that cabinet. Pulling off a perfect landing is always a thrill... I thought the old cabinets had a thrust lever? Thought I'd seen that in some photos somewhere, and not thrust buttons?

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Re: Retrogaming Spotlight: Lunar Lander

Post by merman » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:26 pm

Yeah, the stick gives ten levels of thrust depending on how hard you push it. Two buttons to rotate left and right, ABORT button that uses up a lot of fuel too.

Moonlander is also the name of the first graphical variant, released in 1973 to promote DEC's new terminals. It also had a very early Easter Egg - a McDonald's restaurant on the moon's surface. - new books for C64 and retrogaming fans coming soon!

merman1974 on Steam, Xbox Live, Twitter and YouTube

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Re: Retrogaming Spotlight: Lunar Lander

Post by kiwimike » Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:44 am

I enjoy this game but also a similar game I used to play a lot....always get muddled up between this one and Taitos Lunar Rescue!

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