While the Cold War chilled American culture, a video game about a missile defense system captivated players in the country’s then-widespread arcades. Using simple graphics and gameplay mechanics, Missile Command brilliantly captured the existential tension of the times. Basic gameplay consists of the player using a large trackball and three buttons to launch air strike defenses against a battalion of attack missiles descending on six cities spread through the horizon. Save your missiles and receive a bonus; use them all and you’ll run the risk of leaving your cities unprotected. You’ll also get bonus points for your surviving cities. Accumulate enough points and you’ll get a bonus city, which you will most definitely need. As the game progresses, the missiles speed up and are joined by other threats – bombers, MIRVs, and smart bombs.
Missile Command has an enduring legacy, and is a favorite among casual and diehard retrogamers alike. The Killer List of Videogames website named Missile Command one of the 100 greatest coin-op video games. It is also popular among world record seekers, as the game can allow the player to build up many extra cities (effectively lives), allowing for some sustained marathon gameplay.
An arcade classic that can only truly be played in its original form thanks to the trackball controls, Missile Command delivers addictive, challenging action. Save the world, one quarter at a time, and play it today!