Lunar lander

Lunar Lander is a classic arcade game that was introduced by Atari, Inc. in 1979. It employs the use of a vector monitor for displaying the vector graphics. Although the game was not hugely successful, the vector-graphics generator was used to create another game Asteroids which went on to become one of the most successful arcade games by Atari.

How to play Lunar Lander game

The main objective of the Lunar Lander game is to pilot a lunar landing craft and land it safely on the surface of the moon. The lunar surface is very rocky and undulating; there are only a few areas that are technically appropriate for landing. These areas are marked with flashing bonus multipliers which are comparatively higher for smaller regions. After the player has landed the Lunar Lander craft, he or she acquires points based on the quality and difficulty of the landing site and the skill of the player maneuvering the craft. The player will get points even if the Lander crashes on the rough surface of the moon. In this case, the number of points awarded to the player depends on the severity of the accident. There are some cases in which the player will also get a fuel penalty. In both cases, the game will proceed with another round of play on a different lunar terrain and the player’s remaining stock of fuel. The game gets over as the player runs out of fuel and crashes on the lunar surface.

Lunar lander
While piloting the Lander, the player will have to counteract gravity and slower its downward descent by using the aft thrusters. The player can use a proportional throttle to accommodate the thruster strength. This was a unique feature in 1979 when the game was released. The craft can be rotated clockwise and anticlockwise with the help of three buttons. A risky approach on the lunar surface can be avoided by igniting the thrusters at full force for a short period of time. Every action performed by the player decreases the limited fuel supply of the Lander and as the fuel runs out completely, the craft stops to move or respond to the player’s commands. The player may also choose to purchase additional fuel at any point in the game by putting in more coins. This was also quite an innovative feature for its time.

The player can opt to change the game’s difficulty level at any point while playing.

Lunar Lander Versions and Clones

In 1981, Adventure International released a home computer version of the Lunar Lander game. Soon Commodore released a similar game called Jupiter Lander meant for the VIC-20 computers. Later on, Jupiter Lander was also released for the Commodore 64 computers. In the year 2009, a new version of it was released for AmigaOS 4.

Lunar Lander Flash Version

A flash version of the Lunar Lander game was hosted by Atari.com and was featured in the Google Chrome Web Store in January 2011.