Mensa is the smart club, for people scoring in the top 2% on IQ tests. Their American branch recently polled its members to pick the top ten video games, and arcade Asteroids came in number one!
This comes as no surprise.
We spoke to a member of Mensa, who said, “It was quite a task fending off the powerful Legend of Zelda and Diablo II lobbies!”
The full list is as follows:
2. Donkey Kong
4. Ms. Pac-Man
5. Call of Duty 4
7. Super Mario Bros.
8. Diablo II
9. Chrono Trigger
10. The Legend of Zelda
Denny’s has just released a remixed version of Asteroids — “Hashteroids” — where you shoot hash browns with a ketchup bottle spaceship.
The plot: “You’re aboard the SS Denny’s Condiment Transport ship and the mission is clear: deliver 40 tons of condiments to the 4th planet in sector 7d.”
Denny’s teamed up with Atari for their summer 2014 “Greatest Hits Remixed” campaign, creating food-based versions of Asteroids, Centipede, and Breakout on Denny’s mobile app. There will also be TV ads promoting the remixed menu.
The campaign was created by ad agency Erwin Penland, targeting parents who grew up in the ’80s. Read the full story at Advertising Age.
Twenty-two palettes’ worth of documents from Atari’s heyday were recently acquired by the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG), housed at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY.
The “Atari Coin-Op Divisions Collection, 1972-1999,” is a massive collection chronicling the development and production of virtually every Atari coin-operated game over that time period.
The material includes development binders and source code for Asteroids, beginning with developer Ed Logg’s handwritten notes on the control setup and sound effects.
The acquisition also includes Maze Invaders, a coin-op game which was assigned to Ed Logg and built in 1981, but never released.
For the full story of how ICHEG came by this mother lode, read Owen Good’s article at Polygon.com.
And for a brief history of Ed Logg and the birth of Asteroids, read this.
Astronomers from UCLA have observed an asteroid being ripped apart by “YORP torque.”
They used a team of telescopes from around and above (Hubble) the world, and saw big pieces becoming smaller pieces, becoming smaller pieces…
CNET reports that it’s just like in the game.
Along with the release of Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts’s first-person shooter game Titanfall in April, the Titanfall Arcade put their giant fighting battle robot vehicles into three classic Atari games: Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command. These Titans are better armed than our trusty triangle spaceship, so the result is pretty funny.
It seems that the online arcade was a short-lived promotion, but it lives on in YouTube screen captures.
As Atari emerges from bankruptcy, it will partner with FlowPlay to create the Atari Casino, using classic Atari properties (ie. Asteroids) as themes for social casino gaming.
We’ll wait to see what happens before reporting further, but you can read about the announcement at one of these links:
ChipsEtc.com catalogs vintage computer memorabilia. Their collection includes a paperweight from 1981, containing a 24-pin DIP ROM cartridge chip used in the Atari 2600 version of Asteroids.
“This Lucite paperweight was a gift to Atari engineers attending an Atari corporate event at the Company’s Pebble Beach get-away Lodge.”
Thanks to a reader for the tip!
Here’s a clone of Asteroids created with Scratch, a popular educational programming language. What’s great is that even if you’ve never written a line of code, you can look under the hood and see how a game like this is put together — and if you want, you can tinker with it yourself.
Side-note, Scratch was developed at MIT Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarden Group. Also developed at MIT: Spacewar!. Read your history here.
In addition to running this website, your humble blog host likes to tinker.
This past summer I had access to a laser cutter, CNC router, and some creative technology experts in New York — so I decided to learn some new tools and make a desktop Atari Asteroids controller running an arcade machine emulator (MAME) on a tiny Raspberry Pi computer. All you need to provide is power in and audio/video out.
Read the full write-up on my personal site for a walkthrough of the fabrication, plus design files.
And for anyone looking to build an Asteroids control panel, here’s the image I traced from an original: