Lunar Lander

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Lunar Lander is a single-player arcade game in the Lunar Lander subgenre. It was developed by Atari, Inc. and released in August 1979. In the game, the player controls a lunar landing module as viewed from the side and attempts to land safely on the Moon. The player burns fuel points to rotate the module and fires a thruster to counteract gravity, earning points based on the skillfulness and difficulty of the landing. The game resets the module after every successful landing or crash with a new landing terrain and ends when the player runs out of fuel. Players can insert more coins at any time to buy more fuel, allowing for potentially indefinite gameplay.

Development of the game began with the creation of a vector graphics engine by Atari after the release of the 1978 Cinematronics game Space Wars. Upon its completion, engine co-designer Howard Delman proposed using it to create a Lunar Lander game, a genre which had seen numerous text-based examples beginning in 1969 and the graphical game Moonlander (1973). Delman and Rich Moore then developed the game itself. It was Atari's first vector-based game and the first multiple-perspective video game, changing views as the module approaches the Moon. Lunar Lander sold 4,830 units, a moderate success, but it was soon overtaken by the November 1979 Asteroids, and 300 Asteroids units were shipped in Lunar Landing-branded cabinets. Lunar Lander was one of the first two games to be registered with the United States Copyright Office, though the prior games in the genre kept the gameplay from being patented. It was one of the first games ported by Atari to its Atari Arcade browser game portal and has been featured in an art installation at the Dublin Science Gallery.

Release date
Developer
Atari, Inc.
Publisher
Atari
Age rating
Not rated
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Last Modified: Aug 28, 2019

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