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Forty Years of Lunar Lander

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the simulation-nation dept.

Classic Games (Games) 136

Harry writes "2009 marks not only the fortieth anniversary of Apollo 11, but also four decades of the iconic, omnipresent Lunar Lander, one of the first simulation games ever written. The first version was written by an Apollo-crazy high school student; among its countless descendants are the classic Atari arcade machine and versions for practically every other platform, from the Apple II to the iPhone. We're celebrating with a look at the game's origins, history, and significance — including an interview with creator Jim Storer, who hadn't given the game a moment's thought since he left high school, and wasn't aware of the phenomenon he spawned."

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136 comments

USA!! USA! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28756437)

I would like to take this moment to remind everyone how fucking cool America is for landing on the moon.

Re:USA!! USA! (3, Funny)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756559)

Remember that when there's a Starbucks and a strip mall in the Sea of Tranquility.

Re:USA!! USA! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756705)

I would hate to think how much I'd be charged for Starbucks coffee on the moon...

Re:USA!! USA! (3, Interesting)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756723)

50 cents, surely. Isn't the reason for the prices here on Earth that they have to ship the beans from the Moon?

Re:USA!! USA! (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757631)

Nah, they grow it over in Lacus Solis and it's pretty cheap actually. Now if you want it brewed with natural spring water instead of the recycled stuff that's gonna cost!

Re:USA!! USA! (4, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758187)

I would hate to think how much I'd be charged for Starbucks coffee on the moon...

Well, the problem is that, as coffehouses go, Starbucks is nice, but it has absolutely no atmosphere.

Re:USA!! USA! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28756881)

I'd strip Starbuck in a sea of tranquili...
wait, what are we talking about?

Re:USA!! USA! (4, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758219)

I'd strip Starbuck in a sea of tranquili...

wait, what are we talking about?

You know, as much as I enjoyed Dirk Benedict's work I don't think I'd want to see that.

Re:USA!! USA! (3, Interesting)

wsanders (114993) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757555)

And I guarantee that strip mall will be owned by a Korean, Iranian, Iraqi, Vietnamese, or some other immigrant. One *more* reason America is #1 cool. When you want to own a strip mall on the moon, America is where you go.

Re:USA!! USA! (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758551)

Actually, I believe a vast majority of US assets are owned by international corporations. But that's a nice thought - we destroy your homeland, you can come over and run a Jiffy Stop. Sounds like a deal to me! If you live through the bombing and/or dictatorship, I mean.

Re:USA!! USA! (2, Funny)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756591)

America... FUCK YEAH!!!!

McDonalds, FUCK YEAH!
Wal-Mart, FUCK YEAH!
The Gap, FUCK YEAH!
Baseball, FUCK YEAH!
NFL, FUCK, YEAH!
Rock and roll, FUCK YEAH!
The Internet, FUCK YEAH!
Slavery, FUCK YEAH!
Starbucks, FUCK YEAH!
Disney world, FUCK YEAH!
Porno, FUCK YEAH!
Valium, FUCK YEAH!
Reeboks, FUCK YEAH!
Fake Tits, FUCK YEAH!
Sushi, FUCK YEAH!
Taco Bell, FUCK YEAH!
Rodeos, FUCK YEAH!
Bed bath and beyond FUCK YEAH!

Re:USA!! USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28756661)

Making fat people look skinny, FUCK YEAH!

Re:USA!! USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28759263)

Yeah, cause we invented slavery.
Moron.

Don't forget these two things... (2, Informative)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759731)

America... FUCK YEAH!!!!

First of all, you forgot to include a link to one of these [nocookie.net] all important pictures [photobucket.com]

And secondly, there's still one of the original lunar landers existing today, and is still actually flying intact. Snoopy was the LEM used on the Apollo 10 mission [theconquestofspace.com] , and one of two that flew to the moon, but didn't land. Snoopy was flown down to within about 7.4 miles of the lunar surface, but was not equipped for actual landing. It was then flown back up to rendezvous with the command module, and then Snoopy was released into a heliocentric orbit where it still is today. The other LEM that went to the moon but didn't land was Aquarius, the LEM from Apollo 13, which served as a space lifeboat to get the crew back home to earth.

I think I'll go have me a hamburger and a Coke for lunch now, thank you!

Get your own accomplishments (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756713)

I grew up watching this stuff as a kid. The America we had back then is a far cry from that we have today. Gone is the self reliant take responsibility for one's self and actions. Now we have the wealth envy its not fair someone who works harder has more stuff crowd that can only relive the accomplishments of past generations because all they have nothing to show for themselves (mainly because it would require DOING SOMETHING)

when all the money is sucked up by wants there really isn't much for doing something new and exciting like the moon landings.

Yes, totally OT. But seeing the fact that forty years later and we can't do it now because of money which is better spent in the eyes of politicians on people sitting on their ass all day.

Re:Get your own accomplishments (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756889)

The biggest difference I can see between now and 40 years ago is the number of kids who won't stay off my damn lawn. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Re:Get your own accomplishments (5, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757197)

That, of course, is a popular delusion. Its not that we aren't materialistic and selfish now, but we were just as bad back then. And 50 years before that, and 50 years before that, and 50 years before that ...

Human nature is human nature. It hasn't changed recently. There are a few times that we have still been able to do really cool things when we put our minds to it, and have good leaders. But, there isn't any real cultural difference today that would prevent it from happening.

Re:Get your own accomplishments (2, Interesting)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757469)

Selfish and Materialistic is okay... so long as you are willing to earn it yourself.

In fact, it is GOOD, as it drives the economy.

Re:Get your own accomplishments (0, Troll)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757967)

Ummm. Wow. Seriously. there is a huge difference. Everyone expects to be taken care of no matter what now. In California WE PAY FAMILY MEMBERS TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR OWN FAMILY! They are unionized as well. We bail out companies. We are going to be guaranteeing health care to all. We tell our children there are no winners and no losers. Murderers sit on death row for decades. Teenagers graduate high school not because they know anything but because to hold them back would damage their psyche. Awwww. We sit around and wait for the nightly news to tells us what to care about today. There is no national pride. Not allowed. The differences are HUGE. The fact that you can't (Refuse?) to see them is your issue.

Re:Get your own accomplishments (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757227)

Gone is the self reliant take responsibility for one's self and actions.

Gone is Lyndon Johnson and his "war on poverty". Gone is the entitlement AFDC which guranteed generational welfare, replaced by TANF which gives only temporary help to folks with kids. Gone are business owners who gave a shit about anything but money. Gone are corporate ethics, replaced by Enron ethics and Bernard Madhoff ethics. Gone is the late Walkter Cronkite, replaced by Fox, apparently your only news source.

Now we have the wealth envy its not fair someone who works harder has more stuff crowd

Unemployment in Michigan is over 10%. You need a job to work.

mainly because it would require DOING SOMETHING

You're not impressed by those little Martian robots? I sure as hell am.

Re:Get your own accomplishments (3, Informative)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758283)

Gone are business owners who gave a shit about anything but money. Gone are corporate ethics, replaced by Enron ethics and Bernard Madhoff ethics.

You know how they referred to Madhoff's scam as a Ponzi Scheme [wikipedia.org] ?

Yeah, "Madhoff ethics" are not a new thing.

Re:Get your own accomplishments (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#28761281)

Now we have the wealth envy its not fair someone who works harder has more stuff crowd

Unemployment in Michigan is over 10%. You need a job to work.

Pssh, 10% is old news. It's over 15% now.

There's a reason I left MI for the east coast in order to get an engineering job.

Re:Get your own accomplishments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28757361)

Those are some nice rose-tinted glasses you've got there.
Would you care to back up that bullshit with your own accomplishments, and how you have helped anyone in your life?
Do civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, medical research, Mars landers, and global communication mean nothing to you?

Re:Get your own accomplishments (3, Informative)

dcollins (135727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757431)

"I grew up watching this stuff as a kid. The America we had back then is a far cry from that we have today. Gone is the self reliant take responsibility for one's self and actions. Now we have the wealth envy its not fair someone who works harder has more stuff crowd that can only relive the accomplishments of past generations because all they have nothing to show for themselves (mainly because it would require DOING SOMETHING)"

Just the opposite -- I think the main problem is that nowadays we no longer feel it necessary to PAY our fair share for our DEBTS.

Indeed, let's return to those halcyon days of our youth. Let's re-establish the top income tax rate at 77% as it was in 1969 (instead of today's pittance 35%). That will solve many of our problems, as it did for our parent's and grandparent's generations, who were not such belly-achers as we.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United_States#Tax_rates_in_history [wikipedia.org]

Re:Get your own accomplishments (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758501)

Huh. I just took a look and I see your numbers. A little deeper shows:

1954 rate Income 2008 Equiv.
up to $2,000.00 20% up to $75,000.00
$2,000.01 - $4,000.00 22% $75,000.01 - $150,000.00

Looks to me like we're paying a bit more than we were back in 1954.

Top income tax rate is:

$200,000.01 or more 91% $7,500,000.00 or more

There isn't a specific page for 1969 though. Still, it seems that comparing levels closer to my pay shows I'm paying 33% compared to 22% back in 1954.

[John]

Re:Get your own accomplishments (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758849)

Indeed, let's return to those halcyon days of our youth.

When dinosaurs roamed the earth and slide rules were all the computer that a "real geek" needed.

Re:Get your own accomplishments (1)

Crispy Critters (226798) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757843)

I grew up watching this stuff as a kid.

How much has the change been in the American people and how much has the change been in the picture of America popularized by the mass media?

The image of the can-do take-charge American is an old one. See A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court for an example from over 100 years ago. It is easier to believe that a particular self image has become less popular than that a culture that existed for over a century suddenly evaporated. That change is also important, of course.

And get the hell off my lawn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28760239)

I said off!

Re:USA!! USA! (0, Flamebait)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757133)

I would like to take this moment to remind everyone how fucking cool America is for landing on the moon.

Yes. And I'd like to remind everyone how fucking cool the rest of the world is, for not bombing us to hell and gone for our arrogant viewpoints.

Re:USA!! USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28757205)

Yes. And I'd like to remind everyone how fucking cool the rest of the world is, for not bombing us to hell and gone for our arrogant viewpoints.

Right.. you meant the Chinese and Russians. Anybody else we'd summarily flatten.

Re:USA!! USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28757363)

Should have been 'how cool America WAS'.

Re:USA!! USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28757591)

You are so fucking cool for landing on the moon.

You were so fucking cool for landing on the moon. Repeatedly.

What the fuck has happened to you? Your dreams? Your ambitions? What the FUCK?

Re:USA!! USA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28760325)

"was" you mean. being bold and the willingness to take personal risks seem to be traits quickly disappearing from the US populace.
Its called degeneration and that is what has brought down all great empires in the past.

Bought one, then wrote one (2, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756537)

It was in the early eighties, and I had a TRS-80. Bought a Moon lander game for it at a Radio Shack and it sucked donkey balls, so I wrote my own. The difference between my moon lander and radio Shack's was the same as the difference between a violin and a fiddle.

What's the difference between a violin and a fiddle?

People LIKE fiddle music!

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756601)

Bah. Most of my friend hated my lunar lander version. as you burned fuel your mass dropped so the thrust that worked last burst would be different for the next.

if you burned it all to the last drop, it would become a major PITA to land it because your mass was significantly lower.

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756897)

A lot of commercial games make the same mistake - trying too hard for realism. When you're writing a game, the #1 thing you want is for it to be FUN. Not too easy, not too hard.

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757199)

So how many games did you write that lasted forty years? ;)

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758221)

Well, forty years ago I'd only see one computer up close. Those were primitive times.

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758225)

So how many games did you write that lasted forty years?

And you haven't run out of fuel yet?

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28758503)

Lasted? Did I miss the wii, PS3 or xbox360 or latest PC version of this? Maybe it's still out there but I haven't seen a copy of Lander for years.

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758851)

I happen to agree with the GP, and I've written tons of games in the past 40 years. Here's my Atari 2600 version of Lunar Lander:

http://www.pdroms.de/files/73/ [pdroms.de]

Run it through an emulator like Stella to play.

I later ported the game to Flash, but it's not quite as fun as the 60Hz 2600 version. However, you can play it on a Wii! (Use S for thrust if you're on a PC.)

http://www.wiicade.com/gameDetail.aspx?gameID=692 [wiicade.com]

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28760903)

Nice game. Got up to Level 6 and then I was able to stall the game by going all the way left rather than right.

Impressive work using the 2600. Very well done.

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 4 years ago | (#28760711)

TFA refers to it as a "simulation game". The idea is to appreciate the complexity of something as you take the controls and appreciate your natural reverse engineering process as you identify each new subtlety. It's one thing to read about how a pilot spent hundreds of hours in a cockpit, but especially so by contrast when you put the craft in your own unskilled hands.

Besides, most of the things in life that I remember best I learned by trying something and failing.

Negative thrust. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757161)

I forget which version did this, but when you pressed a certain key you got a high negative thrust and your fuel went up. So if you had room and were low on fuel, you could accelerate towards the surface and gain some fuel. I think it was the version for the Commodore PET.

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28756801)

Wait. Was your game the violin or the fiddle?

The difference between a violin and a fiddle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28756937)

Well, a fiddle is a crude folk instrument or a medieval precursor to the voilin, and a violin is a sophisticated, nuanced instrument that the fiddle is a crude imitation of. So your version was a bit of a fiddle?

Wait....

Re:The difference between a violin and a fiddle? (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757193)

Well, a fiddle is a crude folk instrument or a medieval precursor to the voilin, and a violin is a sophisticated, nuanced instrument that the fiddle is a crude imitation of. So your version was a bit of a fiddle?

Um, no. In the U.S. a fiddle [wikipedia.org] typically is a violin, especially when referring to American Folk, Bluegrass or Country music, so literally, from mcgrew's American point-of-view, the only real difference is the style of music being played (although "fiddle" players may prefer one variety of string or bow over another, the instrument that is called a "fiddle" and the instrument that is called a "violin" are typically the same thing.)

In the States, Classical music is not nearly as popular as Folk, Bluegrass or Country. Hence "fiddle" music is more popular than "violin" music, although technically these are typically the same instrument.

So what mcgrew is saying is that RadioShack's "Lunar Lander" game and his "Lunar Lander" game were very, very similar, but people liked his better for various reasons that he didn't clarify in his original post, but I'm guessing by the fiddle analogy, he means that his had better graphics/visuals and probably better controls.

Just thought I'd clear that up for you non-Americans out there who are all probably not going to get what mcgrew means.

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28756975)

People LIKE fiddle music!

Woah there! I'm not so sure I'd call those beings that like fiddle music "people".

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757285)

I started making a Lunar Lander style vehicle in LittleBigPlanet. Had forgotten all about it until I saw this article! I was still experimenting with designs of vehicles and hadn't actually gotten round to creating different levels for it..

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (0, Offtopic)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757783)

Unsophisticated People LIKE fiddle music!

There fixed that for ya!

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758957)

You mean like Yehudi Menuhin? [wikipedia.org] His accomplishments, pasted from wikipedia:

  • 1965 Yehudi Menuhin was awarded the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • In 1965, while he was still an American citizen, he was made an honorary Knight of the Order of the British Empire. This entitled him to use the postnominal letters KBE, but not to style himself Sir Yehudi. After Menuhin gained British citizenship in 1985, his knighthood was upgraded to a substantive one, and he became Sir Yehudi Menuhin KBE.
  • 1968 got Nehru award
  • 1972 awarded the Léonie Sonning Music Prize (Denmark)
  • 1983 nominated as president of The Elgar Society
  • 1986 Kennedy Center Honors
  • In 1987 he was appointed a member of the Order of Merit
  • In 1987 his recording of Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85 with Julian Lloyd Webber won the BRIT Award for Best British Classical Recording. The recording was also chosen by BBC Music Magazine as the finest version ever recorded.
  • In 1990 he was awarded the Glenn Gould Prize in recognition of his lifetime of contributions.
  • In 1993 he was made a life peer, as Lord Menuhin of Stoke d'Abernon in the County of Surrey[6].
  • He was awarded honorary doctorates by 20 universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews and Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • In the European Parliament in Brussels, the room in which concerts and performances are held is called the "Yehudi Menuhin Space"
  • He was a Freeman of the cities of Edinburgh, Bath, Reims and Warsaw
  • He held the Gold Medals of the cities of Paris, New York and Jerusalem
  • in 1992 he was announced as an Ambassador of Goodwill by UNESCO.

He said "The difference between violin music and fiddle music is the difference between Turkey in the straw and a classical composition. Fiddle music has more notes and is played faster, that's the only difference."

Re:Bought one, then wrote one (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 4 years ago | (#28760295)

"Fiddle music has more notes and is played faster, that's the only difference."

Man. Imagine if Paganini had been a fiddle player instead of just a violinist...

Space Invaders (3, Funny)

HalifaxRage (640242) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756551)

As a child I kept searching for the version that let you land on the planet of those evil space invaders for an epic fight to the death - spacewar and asteroids were a poor facsimile.

Further info on 3D lander games - shameless plug (-1, Offtopic)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756575)

Sorry for the self-promotion but at least there are no ad revenues involved ;-)

I wrote a blog entry about some 3D gravity games a while back and it's been enhanced by very useful comments from a user called "roid": http://openlander.wordpress.com/2008/03/25/history-of-3d-gravity-games/ [wordpress.com] Fans of the genre may be interested. I was thinking about wikifying an index of 3D gravity games. Yes, I wrote a lander-esque game as well, which is the main subject of the blog. It's just a tech demo at the moment, since I've got Real World Work to attend to.

My sister project, Flyin' Irons (a lander racing game set in a world of flying steam irons), is more playable as a game at the moment. The developer has had some problems getting recent Soya builds for Windows, sadly, which is holding him up.
http://flyinirons.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com]

Off topic, the guy who wrote Flyin' Irons also built the world's most advanced / powerful rubber band gun: http://disintegrator.co.uk/ [disintegrator.co.uk]

Re:Further info on 3D lander games - shameless plu (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757053)

My sister project, Flyin' Irons (a lander racing game set in a world of flying steam irons), is more playable as a game at the moment.

Wow, flying steam irons. You must've played too much Megamania [wikipedia.org] as a young'un.

Re:Further info on 3D lander games - shameless plu (1)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757311)

Just realised I phrased that badly - for clarification, the sister project is *not* written by me but by Anthony, the Disintegrator guy! I think he's more a project-finisher than I am :-)

Re:Further info on 3D lander games - shameless plu (1)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757415)

"My sister project, Flyin' Irons"

- I should clarify that I meant the sister project to "my" project, not that Flyin' Irons was also my project! Another, very productive, developer has been responsible for pushing Flyin' Irons to a more playable state than my game ever was.

Offtopic? (0, Offtopic)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757599)

I seem to have ended up at -1, Offtopic, so I guess I must have upset some people. Just thought I'd link to some relevant information that I'd collected and thought might be of interest. The main blog link is about a whole genre of games that were inspired by lander-style physics, ranging throughout various styles and platforms. It happens to be on my site, which doesn't carry any adverts - I did think about posting Anonymous but I rather thought it'd be better / more reasonable to state my interest in the site up-front.

However, I see there's a +4, Insightful one liner post about how awesome the USA is for landing on the moon. If that's /on/ topic, I'm guess I'm glad to be off it ;-)

Just like the real moon landing... (0, Troll)

Igorod (807462) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756599)

NASA faked it. It was built in a secret government facility in New Mexico by green aliens. The game is a figment of our collective imaginations.

Re:Just like the real moon landing... (0, Troll)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757287)

NASA faked it. It was built in a secret government facility in New Mexico by green aliens.

Okay, so these Mexicans ate some bad burritos or what?

He had a life (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756647)

...creator Jim Storer, who hadn't given the game a moment's thought since he left high school, and wasn't aware of the phenomenon he spawned.

Yeah. It's always strange when a geek escapes the darkness of the computer cave to explore the big blue room and doesn't come back. Worse, if he does come back, he'll discover that he's become stupider than before.

Re:He had a life (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757279)

Yeah. It's always strange when a geek escapes the darkness of the computer cave to explore the big blue room and doesn't come back. Worse, if he does come back, he'll discover that he's become stupider than before

Guilty as charged, your honor.

Why Go To The Moon When (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28756663)

you can go to Afghanistan [youtube.com] ?

Loved the BASIC version of LL's preamble (3, Funny)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756749)

The main reason why you took manual control of the vehicle.... XEROX built the on board computer! And it broke... (tisk)

Re:Loved the BASIC version of LL's preamble (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757033)

Then Apple borrowed some Xerox ideas and came out with iLander with only one button.

disney quest has one (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28756805)

last I was there, a few years ago, disney quest (a 5 story arcade in orlando, with a retro section), had the original game. My friends were playing all the "cool" games while I camped out at Lunar Lander all night. It was one of the few open....

Re:disney quest has one (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757039)

Last I checked, there was one at the Space Center in Huntsville, AL. That was always one of the better parts of my visits there.

Hard to believe Jim Storer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28756923)

How can you not be aware of any lunar lander games and be a scholar and professor of computer science? I don't buy his story. He's either not telling the truth or really is an ignoramus.

Wow. (3, Funny)

sootman (158191) | more than 4 years ago | (#28756935)

My first memory of this game was seeing the Atari version at the Exploratorium. I never knew that the original was text!

HERE ARE THE RULES THAT GOVERN YOUR SPACE VEHICLE:

(1) AFTER EACH SECOND, THE HEIGHT, VELOCITY, AND REMAINING
FUEL WILL BE REPORTED.

(2) AFTER THE REPORT, A '?' WILL BE TYPED. ENTER THE
NUMBER OF UNITS OF FUEL YOU WISH TO BURN DURING THE
NEXT SECOND. EACH UNIT OF FUEL WILL SLOW YOUR DESCENT
BY 1 FT/SEC.

Reading that, I was expecting (3) to be "It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue." :-)

Re:Wow. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28757557)

I was playing Luner Lander on a PDP 11-34 back in 77 or so. Hunt the Wumpus was available too but I never figured out how to shoot the crooked arrows. The best game was Trek and I played that all through high school. I once wrote a text based Battlestar Galactica game and before I knew it other studens would copy the code, change 3 characters (not lines) of code and get a A. I must admit, the teacher was generious cuz I spent tons of time writing login simulators and reviewing the results of "anonymous" sex questionairs. He knew it was me and never lifted a finger, perhaps out of fear since those systems were pretty vulnerable. Now that I think back, I should have taken Art & Photography with a focus on glamor shots and nude modeling. Then maby I'd-a gotten laid.

Re:Wow. (1)

Haxzaw (1502841) | more than 4 years ago | (#28758891)

You are a little older than me, apparently, I played it on a PDP 11-70 beginning around 1979. The reams of paper we went through was amazing. Star Trek was our favorite, but lunar lander was great.

Copying it was my first BASIC experience (1)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757021)

Copying the original text Lunar Lander was my first experience with BASIC. I just typed the program in from a copy of Creative Computing in I think Applesoft BASIC. I was great at typing it, not so good at playing it.

My arcade video game experience started with Computer Space around 1972 so I was in the right generation to take part in the video game madness of the late 1970s and early 1980s. I really liked the Atari Lunar Lander and still miss the wonderful sharpness of vector graphics.

Forty Years of Lunar Lander... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28757289)

...and I finally have the high score!

Moonwalk TV coverage fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28757365)

Well, you know what would have been cool? Hearing the first words from the surface of the Moon.. only problem is, the Finnish national broadcaster was so amateurish, they completely missed Neil's first words forty years ago: Epic YLE fail [youtube.com] . At least the game will let us relive that moment, right? ;-)

Lunar Lander on a Teletype (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28757523)

In the '70s, my Dad brought home a teletype terminal with an acoustic coupler from work. He let us play Lunar Lander. It was a Honeywell timeshare system.

After each game, you got a comment. When you crashed, it might be "What was that flash, Wilber?"

And my favorite, when I finally got it right, "Like a honeybee alighting on a nectar filled hibiscus."

Them was the days.

madmac

There was even a CDC 6600 version (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757603)

I remember playing it a few times in the early '70s, late at night, on one of our CDC 6600s. It existed as a 'diagnostic test' on one of the maintenance boot tapes. (It threw the operator's console into graphics mode, so there was no background, play anytime version.)

I cant tell you.. (1)

greywire (78262) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757625)

..How many times I wrote that game on my little Sinclair computer as a kid. Probably my first game, and first completed, functional program.

It was too annoying saving it onto tapes so I usually just reprogrammed it when I felt like playing. :)

Wrote a version of the game too. (2, Interesting)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757627)

I remember playing the line graphic version of the game on a stand up console in the arcade. It was one of my favorite games. The version I remember was a line graphic one, with the craggy outline of a landscape, and different size "flat spots" you could land on. The smaller ones gave you more points. The game was replaced, probably by Donkey Kong or Pac Man and I remember being pissed off at the time that I could no longer play it (this was Pre-Atari 2600).

In college, I took an advanced CAD course where we wrote CAD software. There was a hodge-podge of machines there, from a Dec PDP-11 to a Harris 800. Lots of DEC Rainbow machines with the dust covers on them because they used the 80186 chip which wasn't /really/ PC compatible. We also had one Silicon Graphics IRIS machine. It was the hot rod of the bunch, but single user, so you had to wait your turn.

Anyway, we finally got an open ended assignment on the SGI machine, so I decided to write the Lunar Lander game on it - with the original as my design reference. I did a pretty good job of it too - as a mechanical engineer, I was able to use Newton's laws to accurately reflect the behavior of the LM... it obeyed Newtonian mechanics (no - it didn't take into account the weight of the fuel burned but neither did the original to my understanding).

I got all done and most of the people who looked at the rendition had not ever seen the original game. So they complained that I hadn't taken advantage of the 3d graphics the SGI machine had. It was like drawing a picture in Kindergarten and having the teacher tell me my grass was the wrong color. Only one other guy understood what I'd done - copied a real live arcade game from scratch. When they asked him what he thought, he just kept playing it and said "Awesome!"

The other funny thing was that at the end, nobody went back to look at the modeled objects... they all went back to play the game.

Another lunar lander (1)

Thomas Mertes (951431) | more than 4 years ago | (#28757705)

Well, I wrote also a lunar lander. Here is a page with screenshots:

http://seed7.sourceforge.net/scrshots/lander.htm [sourceforge.net]

Greetings Thomas Mertes

Seed7 Homepage: http://seed7.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
Seed7 - The extensible programming language: User defined statements
and operators, abstract data types, templates without special
syntax, OO with interfaces and multiple dispatch, statically typed,
interpreted or compiled, portable, runs under linux/unix/windows.

xlander! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28757737)

xlander!
http://linux.about.com/cs/linux101/a/xlander.htm
http://dir.filewatcher.com/d/Other/src/X11/Games/Video/xlander-1.2-9.src.rpm.36722.html
http://dir.filewatcher.com/d/Debian/hurd-i386/games/xlander_19920427-4_hurd-i386.deb.17470.html

must... play... now...

the other lander (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28758711)

Here is the other lander - http://russianspaceweb.com/lk.html - which was supposed to carry men on the Moon.

Workbench Lander? (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759045)

Doesn't everyone succumb to the lure of the Lander? Our entry in the BADGE killer demo contest was a version of Lunar Lander that ran on the Amiga Workbench... with the terrain being whatever windows you happen to have open at the time...

I can't find a screen shot or even a copy of the program on google now, and while I have a box of Amiga floppy disks at home I doubt I could find anything that would read them now. I know it was on Fred Fish's disk collection, if someone has a copy I can load into UAE I'd appreciate it.

I'm smarter than I thought (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759741)

Heh, I'm smarter than I thought, or stupider. I kept a copy and it's sitting on my own colo server, been sitting there forgotten since about 1995.

A physical version (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 4 years ago | (#28759647)

When I was a freshmen in the dorms, 1981, one of the guys there wrote his own version that featured an actual lunar lander module. It was attached with nylon line and pulleys to a stepper motor so that it would descend from the ceiling at the appropriate rate.

At the time most of us were impressed because very few people at the time, especially students, had micro computers much less the ability to interface them to the real world.
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