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Video Game / Asteroids

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One of the most popular games of The Golden Age of Video Games. Debuting in 1979, it first appeared in the arcade, but was quickly ported to the Atari 2600, and has made its way onto most platforms since.

You control a Spacewar!-style ship in the middle of an asteroid field. All around you, asteroids are floating around. You get points for shooting them; the smaller the asteroid, the more points you get. But each time you shoot any but the smallest, they split in two, and the trajectory is different for both. Oh, and you have to avoid getting hit by an asteroid. Or shot by an enemy ship that wanders by. In a pinch, you can press the panic button and travel through hyperspace to a random location... which may not be any better. (In the sequel, Asteroids Deluxe, you get deflector shields instead.)


In 1987, Atari released Blasteroids, a Spiritual Sequel with two-player simultaneous action, transforming ships, power-ups, and a lot more enemies (including an actual Final Boss, Mukor, who appears to be a distant descendant of Sinistar), but the same basic shoot-the-rocks gameplay.

If you were looking for a page about actual asteroids, see Asteroid Thicket.


  • Asteroids Monster: The Trope Namer. The asteroids will split in two twice, before breaking into fragments small enough to be destroyed with one shot. Moreover, Asteroids Deluxe added killer satellites, slow-drifting hexagonal ships that split into three diamonds that made a beeline for your ship, which each split into two wedges that made an even faster beeline for your ship.
  • Deflector Shields: The follow-up game Asteroids Deluxe replaced Hyperspace with Shields. The Shields slowly wear out over the course of each stage, so they couldn't be used indefinitely, and you couldn't fire while the shields were raised.
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  • Every 10,000 Points, the player is awarded an extra life.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You
    • Even your own technology (see Random Transportation below). In the 2600 version, you can choose to play with Deflector Shields instead of hyperspace (similar to Asteroids Deluxe), but using the shields for more than two seconds blows up your ship.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: You want a game with asteroids? Then Asteroids is the game for you.
  • In Name Only: Asteroids: Outpost as a first-person shooter. The only thing remotely close to the original is shooting the meteor-like objects Missile Command-style.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Here's a spaceship. Now shoot some rocks and flying saucers in space. Nothing more is needed for this game. (Some home versions add a small amount of backstory - your ship accidentally flew into an Asteroid Thicket, and now you have to blast your way out - but it's not necessary)
  • Power Up Let Down: The Atari 2600 version had a third option if you didn't like Hyperspace or Shields: Flip, which simply rotated your ship 180 degrees instantly. Useful in certain situations, but not as useful as the others. (Technically, there was a fourth option, which was having no special power at all).
  • Random Transportation: Hyperspace is used as an emergency escape, sometimes dropping you right in front of another asteroid.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: An early example, the "heartbeat" sound gets faster as each wave goes on.
  • Updated Re-release: Activision released an enhanced version in 1998 for the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color and Microsoft Windows in 1998, featuring massively updated gameplay, graphics and sound.
  • Wrap Around: All-directional.


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