Missile Command

Missile Command

Arcade / Atari, Inc. 1980

Missile Command is a classic arcade game developed and published by Atari, Inc. in 1980. It is a fixed shooter where players assume the role of a commander tasked with defending six cities from an onslaught of ballistic missiles. Using a trackball and three buttons, players control a set of anti-missile batteries to intercept and destroy the incoming projectiles before they can obliterate the cities below. As the game progresses, the intensity increases with faster and more numerous missiles, requiring quick reflexes and strategic planning to survive.

Missile Command was created by Atari designer Dave Theurer, who drew inspiration from his own fears of a nuclear attack during the Cold War era. Theurer aimed to capture the tension and urgency of such a scenario, resulting in the intense gameplay experience of Missile Command. The game was developed during a time when arcade gaming was booming, and its release further solidified Atari’s position as a leading force in the industry.

Upon its release, Missile Command received widespread acclaim for its innovative gameplay and intense atmosphere. Critics and players praised its addictive gameplay and challenging difficulty, cementing its status as one of the iconic titles of the arcade era. Its success led to numerous ports and adaptations across various home gaming platforms.

Missile Command has seen several adaptations and sequels over the years, including home console versions, remakes, and spiritual successors. Notable among these are “Missile Command 3D” for the Atari Jaguar and “Missile Command: Recharged” for modern platforms, which bring new twists to the classic gameplay while retaining its core mechanics.

Despite its popularity, original arcade cabinets of Missile Command are relatively rare today. While exact production numbers are not readily available, surviving units in good condition command a premium among collectors. Depending on factors such as condition, authenticity, and regional demand, prices for original cabinets can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars in the collectors’ market.

Missile Command arcade cabinets typically feature a CRT monitor, custom PCB (printed circuit board), power supply unit, control panel with trackball and buttons, and various wiring harnesses. Common repair parts include replacement buttons, trackballs, power supplies, and capacitors for the PCB. Schematics and documentation are available online for enthusiasts and repair technicians to assist in maintaining and restoring these classic machines.

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