Today, we don’t really have arcades anymore. Rewind a good 35 to 40 years or so and arcades were the place to be if you were a gamer. Arcades were still rocking and these new electronic games were taking over from pinball and games of skill (skee ball and the like- those ticket games). One title that played off the fear of the time (nuclear war with Russia for you young whippersnappers) was Missile Command. The trackball controls were unique against the myriad of other arcade games coming out at the time (though some did use a similar setup) and the premise was just right.
As with most games from this period, Missile Command is a minimalist game. The graphics work fine though and that is what probably helped make this game so popular. It is simple to learn, simple to play but a bitch to master. There are people that set world records playing over 50 hours straight, reportedly one man play for over 80 hours- not sure how though.
The gameplay is simple. You have cities at the bottom of the screen and must protect them. To defend against the incoming salvos you have three artillery batteries, also at the bottom of the screen. Shoot just ahead of the incoming salvo, enemy plane or UFO and watch as it is destroyed. Simple. Now, watch in frustration as your last city is destroyed because you fired all of your artillery prematurely thinking it was going to be okay. Go ahead. I will wait.
Missile Command has seen release on many platforms over the years. From the Atari 2600 to the Nintendo Entertainment System and on newer platforms via compilation releases. The gameplay is timeless, even with better graphics via certain releases, and the challenging fun is as always solid.
Have you played Missile Command, if so, let us know where. Double points if it was in an arcade in the last decade.