Retrogaming Spotlight: Lunar Lander

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Retrogaming Spotlight: Lunar Lander

Post by SHaines » Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:49 pm

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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