In 1979, Atari released its most successful coin-op game ever: Asteroids. The game was so popular and high in demand that it was even sold in the cabinets of Atari's less popular Lunar Lander. Asteroids continued the ongoing expansion of the video game industry into the popular culture of America.
The objective of Asteroids is simple; destroy asteroids and flying saucers while avoiding being hit. The player navigates a small, triangular spaceship that rotates in all directions to shoot down the flying objects. As the game progresses the asteroids decrease in size and are worth more points. The two kinds of flying saucers are worth different amounts of points: 200 points for the large, slow saucers and 1000 for the small, fast ones. Players can jump into hyperspace, but risk being dropped in the middle of an asteroid field.
The game of Asteroids has no end. Players aim to get their initials on the cabinet's top ten list. One strategy for accumulating points is "lurking"; the player can destroy all but one slow asteroid and then shoot down small saucers that eventually cross the screen. Players have an allotted number of lives, but may receive extended lives and free ships to keep their game going.
Asteroids was one of Atari's first vector graphics games. Asteroids, flying saucers, and spaceships alike were all white outlines on a plain black screen. Although simple compared to today's games, Asteroids has remained popular. It was ported to a number of home game systems in the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s. The game can still be found on home games systems, computers, the internet, and cell phones today.