Shuttle (video game)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Shuttle loading screen (MS-DOS).png
Developer(s)Vektor Grafix
Publisher(s)Virgin Games
Platform(s)IBM PC, Amiga, Atari ST
Genre(s)Flight simulator

Shuttle is a 1992 space flight simulator game developed by Vektor Grafix and published by Virgin Games. It is a reasonably accurate simulation of piloting the NASA Space Shuttle.


The software is noted for simulations of the space shuttle in many situations in a 3D environment, from leaving the Vehicle Assembly Building to returning to Earth at the Shuttle Landing Facility and displayed almost every switch, knob and display of the real shuttle control panels while simulating most of their respective functions.

However, only a subset of the controls actually worked and a number simply made the shuttle explode. The operation of the General Purpose Computers (GPC) required the input of the according program commands for the current flight situation in a simplified fashion.

Gameplay consisted of flying through simulations of several different space shuttle missions, starting with the Approach and Landing Tests where the original space shuttle, Enterprise, was flown from the back of a modified Boeing 747 to a gliding landing at Edwards Air Force Base, through to launching the Hubble Space Telescope, building a space station, using the Manned Maneuvering Unit to capture satellites for repairs, and launching 'secret' military satellites. The level of detail went so far, that the External Tank (ET) painted in white color was only displayed in the earliest available scenarios while the later one displayed the brown it wore later on.

As the missions themselves were fairly complex, the game would optionally provide a high level of hand-holding. Instructions were passed to the player on a 'teleprinter', and when those instructions required the player to use the shuttle controls, the appropriate switch or knob would be indicated by a flashing box. As such, the normally massive amount of material the player would be required to read through to know how to accurately and safely pilot a shuttle were condensed into something the average player could understand, another point of praise for the game by its users.

The camera zooms in on the Space Shuttle launch stack (MS-DOS)

To further ease gameplay, the game supported multiple different camera views, more than the standard control panel and external view found in most simulators of the time, the player could also look out of any of the cockpit windows, including back into the payload bay when retrieving or releasing satellites, and some of the CCTV cameras on the Remote Manipulator System. In addition, for those who wanted to know a little more about the shuttle but did not wish to read NASA technical details, the developers also provided an in-game primer giving a few pages of information and some diagrams on each of the major Space Shuttle systems. Finally, the publishers supplied a thick game manual and a large poster showing the control panels.

Given the scope and complexity of the game, it shouldn't be surprising that it was released with a few bugs. In particular, the autopilot could get confused and fly some very unusual re-entry trajectories. In early releases, it was impossible to fly the last mission.


Computer Gaming World applauded the level of detail accomplished in Shuttle,[1] and Stanley Trevena reviewed the game for Computer Gaming World, and stated that "Players with an interest in space and hard-core simulation fans alike will blast off into orbit with this new simulation from Virgin."[2] The magazine ran it in their 1992 "Simulation of the year", which ultimately went to Falcon 3.0 by Spectrum Holobyte.[3]

In 1996, Computer Gaming World declared Shuttle the 50th-worst computer game ever released.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staff (February 1992). "Review". Computer Gaming World. Anaheim, California: Golden Empire Publications (91): 14. ISSN 0744-6667. OCLC 8482876. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23.
  2. ^ Trevena, Stanley (May 1992). "Shuttle off from Vandenberg: Virgin's Shuttle". Computer Gaming World. 1 (94): 34, 36.
  3. ^ Staff (November 1992). "CGW Salutes The Games of the Year". Computer Gaming World. Anaheim, California: Golden Empire Publications (100): 112. ISSN 0744-6667. OCLC 8482876. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23.
  4. ^ Staff (November 1996). "150 Best (and 50 Worst) Games of All Time". Computer Gaming World (148): 63–65, 68, 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 84, 88, 90, 94, 98.

External links[edit]