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Star Raiders

Star Raiders

Star Raiders

Star Raiders is a video game for the Atari 8-bit family of computers. It was released in cartridge form by Atari in 1979, programmed by Doug Neubauer, an Atari employee. It was also later ported to other Atari computer and game platforms. The game simulates space combat in 3D between the player's powerful ship and an invading fleet of alien "Zylon" vessels.

Star Raiders was distinctive for its graphics, which represented an out-the-cockpit, first-person view from a fictional combat spaceship traveling through a streaming 3D starfield in pursuit of enemy spacecraft. The game's attract mode, a simple streaming star field, was a common sight in computer stores of the early-1980s to show off the Atari computers' graphics capabilities.

While there had already been simple target-shooting games using this perspective , Star Raiders had considerably higher quality graphics and more complex game play. As a result, it inspired both imitators throughout the 1980s and later-generation "space combat simulation" games. Notably, it is one of the games that inspired the seminal title Elite, and thus the Wing Commander and X-Wing series. It is also one in a series of first person space shooters that appeared in the late-1970s and were arguably predecessors of the later seen first-person shooter genre.

Star Raiders was criticized at the time for violent gameplay. In 2007, it was included as #2 in a list of the 10 most important video games of all time, as compiled by Stanford University's History of Science and Technology Collections.

Star Raiders Gameplay

The overall gameplay in Star Raiders is adapted from the text-based Star Trek games originating in the 1970s, in which the player's ship maneuvers about a two-dimensional grid fighting a fleet of enemy spaceships. In Star Raiders, this part of the game takes the form of a "Galactic Chart" display dividing the game's large-scale world into a grid of sectors, some of which are occupied by enemy ships or friendly "starbases". The Galactic Map is the equivalent of the earlier game's Long Range Scan.

Flying about in the 3D view with the ship's normal engines is sufficient for travel within a sector; travel between sectors is via "hyperspace", accomplished through an elaborate and noisy "hyperwarp" sequence with graphics loosely reminiscent of the Star Wars and Star Trek films in which the stars seemed to stretch to radial lines. On the higher difficulty levels, hyperwarp has a skill element; the player has to keep a wandering cross hair roughly centered during the sequence in order to arrive precisely at the desired destination.

Reception
Compute! wrote that Star Raiders is "incredibly exciting to play and just about as much fun to watch!" It praised the game's use of color and sound to alert the player, and warned that "THIS GAME IS ADDICTIVE!". BYTE wrote "What can you say about a game that takes your breath away? There are not enough superlatives to describe Star Raiders. Just as the VisiCalc software ... has enticed many people into buying Apple II computers, I'm sure that the Star Raiders cartridge ... has sold its share of Atari 400 and 800 computers". It concluded, "To all software vendors, this is the game you have to surpass to get our attention".

On March 12, 2007, The New York Times reported that Star Raiders was named to a list of the ten most important video games of all time, the so called game canon. The Library of Congress took up a video game preservation proposal and began with the games from this list, including Star Raiders.


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