Looking Back: Asteroids

In the week when a pair of severely misguided teenagers describe the NES as a “brick from 1920”, (that really wound us up) we decided to review one of the standout titles of the second generation; Asteroids. Garnishing unit sales of over $150,000,000, and $500,000,000 in coin drops, and re-released on many different consoles to this day, Asteroids remains a classic among fans with an appreciation for their routes, and gamers looking to experience previous generations. We've recently made more of an effort to explore earlier gaming generations. Currently, Asteroids is one of our favourite games of the second generation, along with Pac-Man and Yars’ Revenge.

The visuals depend largely on what version of the game is played. The arcade version was black and white, and the home console version had a black background with coloured asteroids, since home consoles back then relied more on the use of colour than in a children’s book. In this instance, We're going by the home console version, since in our opinion; it’s the better of the two. We think that although the game’s sprites are pretty basic, the developers did incorporate a very effective use of colour compared to many other games at the time, but we also think they did have the facility to add a little more design to the ship to make it more interesting, and they didn’t do it.

The concept of Asteroids is simple; move around the screen shooting as many asteroids as possible before losing all lives. The more asteroids destroyed, the higher the score. Insanely addictive and enjoyable to play, Asteroids embodies the pinnacle of what a great video gaming was at the time, and still largely holds up to this day.

There are no issues with the controls whatsoever. How well the game plays out depends entirely on player’s skill and attention to what is going on in the game, which was fairly difficult to do at the time, since we've found some issues concerning hit detection and general movement in a fair few games of the era.

There were many shooting games around at the time, and even more games revolving around racking up the highest score possible. But very few games were laid out as Asteroids was, or as addictive and engrossing as this.

Asteroids is a timeless classic; a shining example of exceptional video game design throughout the 70s and 80s. Truly a wonderful and immersing early gaming experience.