Lunar Lander

Fate has ordained that the boys who went to the arcade to play in peace will stay at the arcade to play with the pieces.

Source // Wikipedia

I know I've played this game, somewhere. It might have been under the name Jupiter Lander, but somehow I've played Lunar Lander, I just know I have. I know because I was looking forward to replaying it. Land a lunar module on the lunar surface. Simple. And a demonstration of spacecraft physics to boot. What more could you ask for?


A working game would be nice. Yes, yes, here we go yet again, moaning about emulation woes. Well, that's what you get for gaming on a Mac, folks. Luckily, Atari knows just how fun Lunar Lander is and they've got an updated version you can play online, just like their Asteroids offering.

Unfortunately, it sucks. Or I suck. Or my memory sucks. Something is sucking. And I have to watch an advert.

At least I can skip this one

Fond Memories

You see, I have this vision in my head of Lunar Lander playing very similarly to Asteroids in terms of nice floaty physics. Delicately inputting your button presses in order to pilot your landing craft juuuust enough to put it where you want it with a satisfying plunk on the deck.

At least that's what I was hoping for. Instead I got a score that reflects my chances of ever playing the game that resides in my head. A big fat Zero. And sometimes a crater.

Feels Like

I'm either missing something, or all the greatness of the original has been lost in translation. I came close, ish, but I wasn't having the fun I thought I'd have.

How could I not land here? I hit the wall, of course.
Maybe I need to approach it with a different head, or try a different version. The gameplay is there, it's simple, and if you persevere you'll be landing your craft in impossible spaces in the nick of time. Heck, you could have a lot of fun with all those close calls. It's just that I didn't.

Fun Times

I know though, that should you find a version of this you like, you'll enjoy Lunar Lander just as I'm sure I enjoyed it in my childhood. Its light edutainment and its slower pace makes it stand out that little bit from the likes of Asteroids.

Has the gameplay of Lunar Lander and Asteroids ever merged in a title? That'd be something. I can picture it now. How's that for a stepping stone? Land on an asteroid in order to turn into a stationary weapons platform, I mean this stuff practically writes itself...

Final Word

Lunar Lander is worth playing, even if I've not had the best of times trying to replay it. Whatever it looks like when you play it, be it stark white on black, a more colourful distinction between space and ground, or a fully updated offering, so long as it has physics that work for you, you should put in a bit of work trying to land in one piece.

Fun Facts

Asteroids, developed after Lunar Lander, was so popular in the arcades that some Lunar Lander cabinets had to be converted in order to meet the demand.

Lunar Lander, developed by Atari, Inc., first released in 1979.
Version played: Atari Arcade (Adobe Flash/HTML5)