Atari - 1980
Generation: 2 but has been remade and reinvented many times since.
Machine: Arcade, and many others
Genre: Simulator, Vehicle Shooter
Do you remember the time when we all lived in fear of nuclear annihilation? The scariness of those days when a senile idiot had his finger poised on the 'button'? Do you remember the 'button'? If you do, then you'll probably remember Missile Command. All you have to do (ha ha ha) is to protect six cities from an approaching nuclear onslaught. Some of the nukes drop down from an unknown source, some are dropped by aeroplanes and other flying things. To help you intercept these projectiles, you have three anti-missile batteries that you use to shoot down the flying menaces. If you manage to clear the skies of missiles, you progress onto the next screen where there are more missiles to shoot down. They're faster too.
Originally, this game was played with a trackball which seemed incredibly futuristic at the time. It was essential to the gameplay as well: the second best way to play it now is with a mouse, but it isn't quite the same. Like all early arcade classics, this game is brutally relentless even making you watch the inevitable destruction after it all becomes hopeless. I like to think that the various armies of the world will use Missile Command as the actual interface for their anti-missile technology. Although I'm not sure what would happen if they ran out of change.
Bubbaray 11 Mar '03
MAME - The arcade used a tracker ball so set it to mouse control for the authentic feel.
Play Online - Atari's official online version (java required).
KLOV - Missile Command - The Killer List of Video Games' Missile Command page.