Asteroids Deluxe

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Asteroids Deluxe
Asteroids deluxe.jpg
Promotional flyer for Asteroids Deluxe.
Developer(s) Atari, Inc.
Publisher(s) Atari, Inc.
Designer(s) Dave Shepperd[1]
Platform(s) Arcade (original), Atari ST, BBC Micro
Release Arcade
  • NA: May 1981
BBC Micro
Atari ST
Genre(s) Multi-directional shooter
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright, cabaret, cocktail
CPU MOS Technology 6502
Sound POKEY and discrete circuits
Display Vector monitor

Asteroids Deluxe is a vector graphic arcade game released in May 1981[2] by Atari Inc. as the sequel to Asteroids. It was followed by Space Duel in 1982 and Blasteroids in 1987. Key changes in Asteroids Deluxe were designed to combat the saucer-hunting strategy of Asteroids, which allowed experts to play for extended periods.[3] The game is significantly more difficult than the original.[4] Ports of Asteroids Deluxe were released for the BBC Micro in 1984[3] and the Atari ST in 1987.[5]


Like in the original Asteroids, the objective is to score point by destroying asteroids and flying saucers, up to a maximum of 999,990. The asteroids come in three different sizes. If the player fires at and hits a large asteroid, it breaks into medium size asteroids. If the player fires at and hits a medium asteroid, it breaks into small asteroids. If a player fires at and hits a small asteroid, it disappears. Different points are awarded for hitting each size of asteroid, and for hitting flying saucers. The player controls a ship that can rotate left and right, fire shots straight forward, and thrust forward. Asteroids Deluxe replaces the hyperspace feature with shields which deplete with use. Other differences include asteroids which rotate and a new enemy which is dubbed a "Killer Satellite" which would, when shot, break apart into three smaller ships that homed in on the player's position.[6] The screen of the game is wrapped both vertically and horizontally so that if any object moves past the top edge of the screen it reappears on the bottom edge at the same lateral location, and if it moves past the left side of the screen, it reappears on the right side of the screen in the same vertical location. Topologically, the screen is a torus.

Technical description[edit]

The Asteroids Deluxe arcade machine is a vector game, with graphics consisting entirely of lines drawn on a vector monitor, which Atari described as "QuadraScan." The key hardware consists of a 1.5 MHz MOS 6502A CPU, which executes the game program, and the Digital Vector Generator (DVG), the first vector processing circuitry developed by Atari. The DVG used for Asteroids Deluxe was designed by Howard Delman, and used earlier in Lunar Lander and Asteroids.[7]

Most of the sound effects are implemented by custom circuitry, but some are generated via the Atari POKEY sound chip.[8]


  1. ^ Rouse, Richard (2005). Game Design: Theory & Practice. Wordware Pub. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-55622-912-1. I did not do Asteroids Deluxe. It was done by David Shepperd. 
  2. ^ "SEC Info - Atari Inc". 
  3. ^ a b "Asteroids Deluxe". Arcade History. 
  4. ^ Sullivan, George (1982). How to Win at Video Games: A Complete Guide. Scholastic Book Services. pp. 81–82. ISBN 978-0-590-32630-8. In fact, in the first few months after Asteroids Deluxe was introduced, it proved so difficult that many players turned their backs on the machine. 
  5. ^ Hawken, Kieren (6 June 2017). The A-Z of Atari ST Games: Volume 1. Andrews UK Limited. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-1-78538-701-2. 
  6. ^ Staff Writer (10 May 1981). "'Asteroids game': trying to stay alive". Poughkeepsie Journal. Poughkeepsie, New York. 
  7. ^ Margolin, Jed (22 April 2001). "The Secret Life of Vector Generators". Jed Margolin's Website. San Jose, California. 
  8. ^ Early Home Computers. PediaPress. p. 142. GGKEY:LNJDBTBEW88. This chip is actually used in several Atari arcade machines of the 80s, including Missile Command and Asteroids Deluxe, among others. 

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