[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/StarRaidersScreen_4327.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:The game that launched a thousand Ataris]]
''Star Raiders'' is a video game for UsefulNotes/Atari8BitComputers developed by [[http://dougneubauer.com/ Doug Neubauer]] (also the designer of the system's POKEY sound chip) and released by Creator/{{Atari}} in 1979. Intended as an action version of the ''VideoGame/StarTrekTextGame'', it is most notable for being one of the earliest examples of the "[[SimulationGame space combat simulation]]" genre, and is a clear ancestor to later titles like ''VideoGame/WingCommander'' and ''VideoGame/XWing''. Stanford University selected it in 2007 as one of the [[http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/12/arts/design/12vide.html 10 Most Important Video Games Of All Time]].

The game tasks the player with finding and destroying an invading enemy fleet of Zylons, while simultaneously defending his own starbases from them. The player wins by destroying all enemies; the game is lost if either the player's ship or all of his starbases are destroyed. After consulting a Galactic Map to see where the Zylons are, the player must then warp to the sector, then find and engage them in a first-person view. The player can repair ship damage by docking with a starbase.

At the end of the game, the player receives a rank and class based on the difficulty level, time taken, and number of starbases lost; only the most proficient players would earn the coveted rank of "Star Commander - Class 1".

The game was ported to the UsefulNotes/{{Atari 2600}}, UsefulNotes/{{Atari 5200}} and the UsefulNotes/AtariST; the 2600 version came with a special touchpad controller. (This controller had a removable overlay, suggesting that it could be used in other games, but none were produced.) A [[ComicBook/StarRaiders graphic novel]] loosely based on the game was released in 1983. A sequel InNameOnly, ''Star Raiders II'', was released in 1986. A remake was released in 2011.
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!! This game provides examples of the following tropes:

* BulletTime: Notable for being done ''completely unintentionally''. When a Zylon ship is destroyed, the game draws an exploding cloud of pixels for several seconds. That maxed out the processing power of the Atari computer, so the game [[{{Overcrank}} slowed down temporarily]]... which proved beneficial when there was a ''second'' Zylon ship nearby.
* CameraLockOn: Played straight and subverted. If the player turns on his Attack Computer, the screen will automatically switch between fore and aft views to track the enemy. Subverted when the player is engaging multiple ships on both sides; the screen will rapidly flip between the two views, tracking each ship as they attack.
* CoolStarship: Averted, as the player never actually gets to ''see'' his ship.
* CriticalExistenceFailure: Your ship could endure multiple hits... at least until your shields were destroyed.
* DeflectorShields: Although a single hit when the shields were down would instantly kill the player, daredevil pilots would engage the Zylons with damaged (flickering) or destroyed shields ''anyway'' just to avoid a time-consuming trip to a starbase.
* DifficultyLevels
* DolledUpInstallment / InNameOnly: ''Star Raiders II'' was originally a never-released LicensedGame based on ''TheLastStarfighter''. When the rights were lost, it was renamed to be a sequel instead.
* {{Expy}}: One of the Zylon ship designs is clearly based on [[StarWars Imperial TIE fighters]].
** The Zylon [[Series/BattlestarGalacticaClassic basestars]] are even more blatant, and apparently the cruisers were based on a forward view of the [[Franchise/StarTrek Klingon battle cruiser]].
* FasterThanLightTravel: The only way to travel to a different sector.
* GameplayGrading
* InterfaceScrew: Happens if your long range sensors are damaged; you get both the regular view and a mirrored opposite, and must reconcile which image is the right one.
* KillerApp: ''Star Raiders'' was a genuine Killer App for the Atari computer line; many people bought the system just to play the game.
* OneHitPointWonder: The player's ship goes down in one hit from an asteroid or enemy photon. Fortunately, the ship's energy can retain a shield which changes hits from fatal to merely damaging some key component of your ship (at easier levels, there's a chance it won't even hurt). The shield itself is a damageable component, so you are at least two photons away from death.
* OneManArmy
* RedAlert: A warning klaxon sounds whenever you warp into a sector occupied by Zylons.
* SpiritualSuccessor: The UsefulNotes/{{Atari 2600}} game ''Solaris'' was developed by Neubauer as an unofficial sequel to ''Star Raiders'', and incorporated some ideas that were omitted from the original.
* RankInflation: Getting a rank of "Star Commander" isn't enough; only the truly best players will get "Star Commander ''Class 1''".
* SpaceFriction: Not only is sublight travel performed by setting your engines to fire continuously, but getting them damaged brings you to an abrupt halt, leaving you to sputter to the nearest starbase for repairs.
* StreamingStars
* SubsystemDamage: One of the earliest examples of this trope. Your ship's shields, engines, weapons, targeting computer and scanners can be damaged or outright destroyed. However, as an AntiFrustrationFeature, you can never be so damaged that it is impossible to get to a starbase for repairs.
* VideogameCrueltyPotential: Yes, you ''can'' shoot your own starbases. It takes just one hit to destroy them, too. The only valid reason to do this is to prevent enemies from spawning from the debris if you can't save the base.
* WhatTheHellPlayer: Pressing any keyboard key that doesn't have a function assigned results in "What's wrong?" appearing on the HUD.
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