Wednesday, 6 February 2013

#10 Lunar Lander

Released: 1979 - Arcade

Developer: Atari
Played: 4th February 2013 - MAME Emulator & ROM

Lunar Lander is the hardest game I have ever played…period. Forget Battletoads, forget Contra, forget Dark Souls and Ninja Gaiden Black, this is torture. As of writing I have been trying this game on and off for the last 2 days and I am yet to be able to land the damn Lander on the bastard Moon, Unless you count being in pieces and forming a crater 2 miles wide from the force of my impact that is.

The object is simple, land on the moon. You do this through counteracting the lessened gravity of the moon’s surface by rotating and using different levels of thrust. As you approach the surface different multipliers pop up showing that if you land somewhere particularly difficult like a mountain or a small strip of rock at the top of a crater, you’ll get extra points for it. The trick is to manage your fuel reserves, compensate for gravity and thrust when necessary; however I can seemingly do none of these things. On the plus side you do get bonus points for the severity of your crash, so if you’re going to go out, then do it with style.

From the off you can tell that Lunar Lander comes form the same studio as Asteroids, the visuals are pretty much the same, white lines on a black background, here it’s not about looks, it’s about performance and just like asteroids, the programmed physics engine is exceptional and something we take for granted in titles today. While not overly successful on release, and I can see why, the concept and programming is to be applauded as it no doubt paved the way for a sense of realism we strive for in some of our titles today.

If you want a more up to date version you can have a go at the Official Atari remake of Lunar Lander on their aracde site here:!/arcade/lunarlander/play