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The year was 1980 and all across the planet people had the very real fear that one day the world’s super powers would finally use their nuclear arsenals. Missile command was in many ways a reaction to those fears. The premise of the game was simple, the player must protect six cities from an ever increasing swarm of ballistic missiles. Control was taken care of by a fast and accurate trackball that was notorious for pinching the skin of your fingers. That didn’t seem to effect the public appeal of the game as many units were sold and Missile Command machines were still munching quarters more than a decade later. The original arcade game was available in four versions, the full size upright, cabaret (smaller cabinet), cocktail table, and cockpit. Rumor has it only 100 cockpit versions were ever made. Click on the Button to the left to take the Arcade tour.

In 1981 the smash arcade hit comes home to the wildly popular Atari 2600 Video Computer System. While a bit more primitive than it’s arcade cousin the VCS version brought many of the same thrills home in a slightly easier to manage format. For some reason a back story was created where the planets Krytol and Zardon were engaged in an epic conflict. Perhaps this was done in an attempt to make the dark subject matter of the arcade a bit friendlier for younger players on the VCS. Click on the Button to the left to take the Console Tour.

Check out this classic Atari commercial from the 1980s showing off some Missile Command gameplay. This ad spot has quite the catchy tune and while it focuses mostly on Asteroids, it paints a good picture of what playing the VCS on a tube TV was like. Check out the ad spot

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