Missile Command

Missile Command
Company: Atari
Model #:
Rob Fulop
Year: 1981
Rob Fulop's initials are hidden in the game


One of Atari's most beloved classics, Missile Command was almost deemed too scary for the general public.  The original plot was supposed to feature a missile attack on California, but this idea was scrapped due to fears of the game causing a mass panic (this was during the Cold War after all).  Programmer Dave Theurer actually woke up in cold sweats due to the nightmares he had about nuclear war after working on this project.  In the end the location was made generic, and the name was changed from Armageddon (meaning the end of the world) to a more subdued Missile Command.


The 2600 version of Missile Command is very close to its arcade counterpart with one exception, the player only has one base!  Due to the 2600 only having one fire button Alpha and Gamma bases were removed, leaving the player with only the center base (Beta).  While most hardcore arcade junkies were dismayed with this change, many players found it easier to only have to worry about one base instead of three.  Strangely the 5200 version of Missile Command also features only one base even though the 5200 controller could have easily handled all three.  Also removed from this version were the satellites and planes that launched multiple missiles at you.  These were probably removed due to memory constraints.


As you may or may not know, Rob Fulop was able to hide his initials in the game.  Simply start the game on level 13 and shoot off all your missiles but don't hit anything.  If you've done it correctly the rubble of the far right city will turn into RF at the end of the game.  Apparently Atari caught wind of this and told Rob to remove them (spoiled sports!).  Rob did remove his initials, but he's not sure if any copies of the cleaned up version were ever shipped.  To this day no one has ever found a copy of the game without his initials in it.  Rob wasn't exactly tight lipped about the existence of his initials in the game, he even gave players a hint in the manual!  If you look at scoring table in the manual you'll notice that it says: "Wave 13 is the most difficult wave in this Game Program Cartridge" even though there are many more difficult waves after 13.  Hmm. maybe Rob should have put "HINT! HINT!" after it?


Even with only one base, the 2600 version of Missile Command is one of the most enjoyable out there.  The graphics may be a bit simplistic, but the action is fast and furious.  The sounds in this version of Missile Command are well done and quite memorable.  The first time you hear the explosion of a missile on the 2600 you'll know why it was the king of consoles.  Now if only we could get rid of those nasty lime green boards.


Version Cart Text Description
?????? N/A Missing two variations and Rob's initials
?????? Pal Missile Command:  Please return this loan cartridge as soon as possible for further use. Thanks. Final Version (PAL)


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