Lunar Lander (video game)

Lunar Lander is the name of various computer games. The aim of the game is to safely land a lunar module on the moon in a given target area. Here, the player must align the Space Shuttle accordingly and maneuver the vehicle by thrust and counter-thrust.

Due to the low gravity on the moon the landing module is accelerated slowly in free fall. Although prevails on the moon vacuum in the game a slightly braking air resistance is taken into account with.

First implementations of the game from 1969 were text-based. Moon Lander 1973 sets the game to a real-time simulation with graphical output.



The 17 -year-old student Jim Storer programmed a text version, Lunar Landing Game, on the PDP-8 minicomputer his " Lexington High School ", Massachusetts. The relatively simple program consisted of 40 lines in the programming language FOCAL. Storer sent his program to the computer maker Digital, where it was converted by David H. Ahl after BASIC and more widespread over the EDU newsletter. These and other text versions were contained in 101 Basic Computer Games, published 1973 by Digital Equipment. More Similar Text games are Rocket by Eric Peters ( circa 1971 for PDP -8), LEM ( Lunar Excursion Module ) by William Labaree II ( circa 1971 for PDP -8) and Apollo.


Moon Lander, a version with a graphical representation, was developed in 1973 by Jack Burness for the GT40 terminal of DEC. The game served as a demo for the new GT40 terminal, which had a light pen as an input device and a monochrome vector screen for output. Burness required ten days to implement the game in PDP-11 machine language or the machine language of the GPU.

On the screen the lunar surface and lunar module are shown in a two-dimensional side view. The player controls the lander in real time by certain areas on the right side of the screen touched with the light pen, which affect the rocket thrust. The graphical representation of topographic obstacles such as mountains are possible as new game element.


Atari produced in 1979 the eponymous arcade game. It was Atari's first vector game with the new XY technology. However, it is based on Space Wars (1977).

The game ran on a 19 -inch black and white monitor, were used for the input of a lever (for the boost ) and three buttons. With the buttons, the direction could be controlled: left, right, or Cancel.

The moon is represented as a rugged, jagged line. The thrust of the lunar module is visible.


There were numerous ports on all gängingen home computers, especially

  • Tranquility Base for Apple II - 1981, developed by Bill Budge as a clone of the Atari arcade machines
  • Atari 400/800
  • Jupiter Lander for VC 20 and Commodore 64-1981 / 82 developed by HAL Laboratory, Plug-in module
  • PC-DOS
  • Lander for Windows 95-1999, developed by Psygnosis, 3D graphics, requires a graphics card with 3D accelerator
  • SC / MP
  • Xbox 360 (2010, Xbox Live Marketplace )