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28/01/2016

☆ The A To Z Of Atari - M is For ☆ #Retrogaming #GamersUnite

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M is For.............


Missile Command

Missile Command was released in 1980 in the Arcades and the cabinet featured a trackball control which really lent itself to the accuracy required to become a master of this game.

My first encounter with Missile Command was when I loaded up my Atari 800 XEGS for the first time (holding down the select key to access the 'secret' game) and hey presto Missile Command appeared on my TV screen.

I was well impressed that such a cool game was available for 'free' on my Atari.
The game itself is frantic as you defend your cities (l always pretended that my cities were parts of London) from an attack from outer space. I'm assuming it was from outer space but actually I'm not sure it was.

Wikipedia says that you were being attacked by 'an endless hail' of missiles and that you played the part of the regional commander of 3 anti missile batteries. Didn't realise that I was a regional commander but I suppose that makes sense.

Smart Bombs, Bomber Planes and Satellites made things more difficult for you to do your job as the levels went on. As a kid I'm not sure that I ever got past Level 12 or 13 but apparently there are players who got to insane levels on the game. 

There is also mention of a bug that is introduced when a score reaches around 810,000 and then you are awarded around 176 cities which means the most skilled Missile Command players could play on for hours on end!

Did You Know?
"When the game was originally designed, the six cities were meant to represent six cities in California: Eureka, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego. While programming Missile Command, the programmer, Dave Theurer, suffered from nightmares of these cities being destroyed by a nuclear blast." (Wikipedia)

The game was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 800 Series (including my beloved XEGS), Atari Lynx, Nintendo Gameboy, Microsoft Arcade (PC), Arcade Smash Hits on SEGA Master System, Arcade Classics on Nintendo Gameboy, SEGA Game Gear and SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive.

Did You Know?
"The Atari Jaguar had a Missile Command 3D release which had 3 versions of the game included. An Arcade Version, a 3D Version and a Virtual reality version. The virtual version worked with the VR headset for the Jaguar and apparently there are only 2 virtual reality helmets for the Atari Jaguar in existence."

In 1999 there were versions released on Microsoft Windows and Playstation which were re-imagined versions of the original with the player defending real life cities from missile attacks and then being given the opportunity to hunt down the spaceships responsible for the attacks.

In 2007 an updated version of the original hit the XBOX Live Arcade with HD graphics and online scoreboards.

Missile Command 2 was actually tested but was never released. A prototype reportedly appeared in an arcade in Santa Clara, California. 

The concept for MC2 was that each player had their own set of cities and missile batteries and competing players could cooperate to save each other's cities from the missile attacks. It actually sounds really cool and I think as a mobile game today it would do really well. 

Did You Know?
"An expansion kit was created to convert Missile Command Arcade Cabinets into Super Missile Attack. This addition made the game more difficult and also added a pesky UFO to the list of enemies."

More recently the almighty Fallout 4 had a game within the main game called 'Atomic Command' which is a parody version of Missile Command that asks the player to protect famous landmarks from missile attacks. 

Did You Know?
"In the Atari 2600 port of Missile Command the game's instruction manual details a war between two planets: Zardon (the defending player) and Krytol that was never mentioned anywhere else" 

Record Breakers
When it comes to record breaking gameplay there are two ways to play Missile Command. Marathon and Normal are the types of play recognised by the Missile Command gaming community.

Marathon gives the player six cities to start with and then awards players bonus cities after each 10,000 points is accumulated.

Tournament gives the player six cities but no bonus cities are awarded at any point.

The current Records for each type of gameplay are amazing. On December 27, 2013 Victor Sandberg created a marathon Missile Command World Record which stands at an awesome 71 hours and 41 minutes of game play and a score of 103,809,990 on level
10,432, and only 10 points short of getting an additional 176 cities! 

The Tournament record belongs to Tony Temple with a score of 4,472,570 on 9 September 2010. The record took 2 hours 57 minutes and actually represents the first recorded and verified occasion that a player has hit the highest level at wave 256 

Did You Know?
"At Wave 256 the game difficulty starts over at level 1 again meaning that there is no 'kill screen' on Missile Command therefore the game continues until the player loses their last city" 

Did You Know?
"In February 2010, Atari announced that it was talking with several studios to find one that would turn Missile Command into a movie. On January 1 1, 2011, 20th Century Fox announced that it had acquired the rights to bring Missile Command to film" (Wikipedia)

A Golden Oldie
Missile Command is a true classic of the golden age of early 80's video games. It's still embedded into video games culture to this day. It's one of the reasons why Atari will never be forgotten as the great great granddad of video games developers.

Have You Played Missile Command Recently?

What Are Your Missile Command Memories?

Let Me Know In the Comments Box Below