Star Raiders (1979)

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Star Raiders is a first-person shooter space combat simulator video game for the Atari 8-bit family of computers. It was written by Doug Neubauer, an Atari employee, and released in cartridge form by Atari in 1979. It was later ported to other Atari computer and game platforms.

The game simulates 3D space combat between the player's ship and an invading fleet of alien "Zylon" vessels. Star Raiders was distinctive for its graphics, which, in addition to various map and long range scan views, provided forward and aft first-person views, with movement conveyed by a streaming 3D starfield as the player engaged enemy spacecraft. The game's attract mode, a simple streaming star field, was a common sight in computer stores of the early-1980s to show off the Atari computers' graphics capabilities. The game is commonly referred to as the platform's killer app.

While there had already been simple target-shooting games using the first person perspective (including 1977's Starhawk), Star Raiders had considerably higher quality graphics and more complex game play. As a result it inspired imitators throughout the 1980s as well as later-generation space combat simulation games. Notably, it is one of the games that inspired the seminal title Elite, and thus the Wing Commander series. It is also one in a string of first person space shooters (including 1977's Starhawk and 1979's Star Fire) that appeared in the late-1970s and were arguably predecessors of the later seen first-person shooter genre.

In 2007, Star Raiders was included as #2 in a list of the 10 most important video games of all time, as compiled by Stanford University's History of Science and Technology Collections.

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

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