For this episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee Podcast I am tackling a big one – none other than 1979’s Asteroids by Atari. As I mention in the show itself this classic arcade game was only the second title produced by Atari that featured Vector graphics although it most certainly overshadowed the first title in popularity. Asteroids really is one of those iconic games that broke new ground when it first was released to the arcades back in November of ’79 – even if it borrowed some elements from other games at that time. Thanks to the likes of Ed Logg, Lyle Rains, and technician Howard Delman among others – Asteroids ended up becoming one of the highest selling games for Atari, a company that already had more than a few arcade hits under it’s belt at that time. For what it might be worth -I had originally intended on producing a Halloween episode of the podcast… but since for the last two Diary 1UP shows I have been promising Asteroids I felt that it was only fair to make sure it was finally recorded.
As I touch upon in the podcast itself, while the gameplay for Asteroids is a little on the simple side – the truth is there is quite a bit of history to share about the game. I lucked out for this show and found issue #68 of the Retro Gamer magazine on the Internet Archive… that features an exceptional interview with Lyle Rains, Ed Logg, and Howard Delman among others. Trust me when I say you are going to want to check out that interview when you have a moment to spare – it will open your eyes to the kind of magic these guys were pulling off at Atari at the time. In addition there is a quote I located on the Arcade History site that was of great interest in regards to how Delman was able to pull off the sounds on the arcade game – especially since there were no sound chips available for Asteroids!
Atari as I’ve mentioned was no stranger to making popular arcade games at the time but in all honesty they had no idea how popular Asteroids was going to become. Beyond the usual interesting trivia and facts in the show – I have made sure to include some vintage audio treats for your listening pleasure. That includes a surprising number of records that were released for fans of the classic arcade title to snap up – like the Kid Stuff produced book and record!
Friends, thank you as always for taking the time to listen to the show – now have a token on me as I tackle 1979’s Asteroids!
If you possibly have suggestions for future episodes or want to chat about the current show – you can reach me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com. You can find me on Facebook or Twitter and make sure to check out the Arkadia Retrocade Facebook page. Or for daily updates you can hop on over to the Diary of an Arcade Employee Facebook page – heck -you can see videos and more fun a couple of times a week by checking out my Instagram page!
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