Born of the era of space exploration, arcade classic Lunar Lander is a time capsule of a zeitgeist and a video game genre unto itself. Born in 1969 at the height of everything related to space exploration, Lunar Lander was initially a text-based game developed by Jim Storer, a high school student. It was later transformed into a graphical experience to show off the DEC GT40 graphics terminals and from there went on to become an arcade game and a full-fledged genre in its own right.
Lunar Lander Gameplay
Basically the conceit of the game is quite simple: As the pilot of a lunar lander, you are tasked with safely landing your craft on the moon’s surface, avoiding rocks and valleys, using your rocket fuel to navigate you as you fly along. Once you run out of fuel you are basically at the whims of your trajectory, which could result in a crash. Modern iterations of this genre include more parameters but the basic idea remains the same – guide your craft to the surface, avoiding obstacles while you do so. The game is often called one of the most popular games of all time, with industry magazine Electronic Games noting the ubiquity of Lunar Lander clones found in 1981.
Lunar Lander Arcade Cabinet
Like Missile Command, Lunar Lander captures a certain mindset and period of time in history that is almost hard for us to understand in the modern context but totally makes sense when you consider what was a big deal back then. If you wanted to sell a concept, whether it was a home appliance or a video game, attaching space or space-related things to it was one surefire way to get the market’s attention. Similarly, with the fear of imminent nuclear war around every corner, the makers of