Let’s Go Back to Atari's Golden Age

Pong revolutionized gaming and put a little gaming company named Atari on the map-and it was just the tip of the iceberg. Who knew that a relatively simple re-imagining of ping-pong would revolutionize gaming the world over? Let's take a look back at some other legendary Atari games spawned by the little white "ball" and two white lines, er, "paddles," shall we?

Though not the first attempt to capture the excitement and difficulty of traveling to the moon, 1979's Lunar Lander has inspired a love so fierce that some people have built real-life replicas from scrapped printers, steering wheels and motherboards. It wasn't a huge hit immediately upon release, but it paved the way for the colossally influential release of Asteroids later that same year. The success of Asteroids lead to a slew of sequels and only reinforced Atari's position at the forefront of arcade programming.

1980 saw the release of Centipede and Missile Command, both of which faced similar success and ensuing sequels. They also latched onto the eighties' simultaneous love of space intermingled with a nagging fear of a nuclear apocalypse. The wonders of outer space and the pressures of the Cold War made it seem like all the eighties wanted to do was destroy Earth and colonize the Universe. Which translated into some damn good gaming times.

In that same vein, 1981's Tempest required players to navigate a spaceship while destroying Flippers, Tankers, Spikers, Fuseballs and Pulsars. The increasing difficulty mesmerized arcades the world over. As video games increased in popularity and acceptability, the demand for console gaming systems did as well.

Is your trigger finger tingling yet? There's no better way to brush up on your E.T./projectile-zapping skills than by playing Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, and Tempest for free right on Pepsi Throwback's Facebook page. Just "like" it, then click on the Atari Arcade tab to play a different Atari Arcade Classic each month and compete for weekly and monthly prizes, like an iCade or Atari Flashback 2+. Outer space can be a dangerous place, so make sure you have plenty of ammunition when ridding the universe of invaders!