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Star Raiders

Entry updated 8 May 2015. Tagged: Game.

Videogame (1979). Atari. Designed by Doug Neubauer. Platforms: Atari8 (1979); Atari5200, AtariVCS (1982); AtariST (1986; vt ST Star Raiders).

Star Raiders was the first real time three-dimensional space combat game which combined arcade elements (see Videogames) with strategic aspects derived from text-based Star Trek games (see Star Trek Games). The game's universe is a two-dimensional grid of "sectors"; travel between sectors is achieved using a hyperspace jump. Sectors may contain enemy ships or friendly starbases, which must be protected. Within a sector, players fly their starfighters from a first person view, expending their limited energy reserves to activate shields and weapons with which to fight the hostile "Zylons". While of largely historical interest today, Star Raiders is notable for containing all the core gameplay concepts seen in later space combat simulations, from Star Wars: X-Wing (1993) to Freespace (1998).

Related works: The sequel Star Raiders II (1986 Atari, Atari8; 1987 Amstrad, C64, Spectrum) was adapted from a game based on the film The Last Starfighter (1984) after Atari lost the licence; it was less well received than the original. A Star Raiders graphic novel was published by DC Comics in 1981, written by Elliott S! Maggin and illustrated by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. [NT]


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