Atari Asteroids is a classic space shooter arcade game released in 1979 by Atari. It became Atari's best-selling game of all time. The simple objective in Asteroids is to control a single spaceship in an asteroid field and shoot and destroy all asteroids and flying saucers that attempt to shoot your spaceship.

Points are earned by shooting down saucers and asteroids. You move your spaceship by rotating and using the ship’s thrusters to move backward and forward. There is also a special function that sends the ship into hyperspace, causing it to disappear and reappear in a random location on the screen, at the risk of self-destructing or appearing on top of an asteroid.

Objects wrap around screen edges. An asteroid that drifts off the top edge of the screen reappears at the bottom and continues moving in the same direction. The spaceship when pushed forward moves by itself across the screen and can go to the edge of the screen and appear on the other side by hyperspace. When an asteroid is shot it will break into smaller pieces and still can cause damage. The flying saucers appear every now and then try to crash into your ship or shoot at it.

Once all asteroids and other objects are destroyed larger ones appear in greater numbers and each progression that results in greater point totals leads to increased challenges. The number of asteroids increases after the score reaches a range between 40,000 and 60,000. The player starts with 3-5 lives upon game start and gains an extra life per 10,000 points. When the player loses all their lives, the game ends. Machine "turns over" at 99,990 points, which is the maximum high score that can be achieved. Asteroids was widely imitated and directly influenced Defender, Gravitar, and many other video games.


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