Space Shuttle: A Journey Into Space

Space Shuttle: A Journey Into Space
Company: Activision
Model #:
Steve Kitchen
Year: 1983
Programmer Steve Kitchen actually practiced with real NASA astronauts to make the game as authentic as possible.


Space Shuttle holds the honor of being the most complex 2600 game ever.  The game is so complex that it needed it's own overlay for the 2600 since it made use of all the switches (a record for a 2600 game).  Of course since Space Shuttle is really a space shuttle simulator this is to be expected. Unfortunately, Space Shuttle maybe a little too complex for its own good.


When making the game, Steve Kitchen wanted to simulate a space shuttle as realistically as possible.  He even went to NASA to use a real space shuttle simulator as research for the game.  It's truly amazing how much detail Steve was able to reproduce on the 2600.  You get to control everything on the space shuttle from the velocity to the pitch and yaw.  There are six separate sequences in the game: Launch, Stabilizing Orbit, Docking, Deorbit Burn, Reentry, and Landing, each with it's own set of instructions to follow.  Needless to say most people were put off by the sheer complexity of the game (not to mention the 32 page manual!).


Your mission is to dock with the orbiting satellite as many times as you can using as little fuel as possible.  If you manage to dock 6 times with the satellite with at least 7,500 units of fuel remaining you're treated to a cool little "pilot wings" emblem on your display screen.  This secret, while hinted at in the instruction manual, wasn't discovered until 2001 when someone was able to hack the game to make it appear.  So not only is the game complex, but it's difficult as well (let the fun begin!).


I'm sure there were some people out there who had been waiting all their lives to a simulation game like this to hit the 2600.  Unfortunately most 2600 players wanted action, not simulation, and opted for games like Star Raiders and Starmaster instead.  It's a shame that more people couldn't appreciate how much effort went into Space Shuttle to make it as realistic as possible, but when you pass the line where the game becomes more of a chore than a diversion your in for some trouble.  Space Shuttle crossed that line about twelfth time I had to readjust my pitch so I didn't burn up in premature reentry.


Version Cart Text Description
?????? Space Shuttle A Journey Into SpaceT AZ-033 1983, Activision, Inc Final version
6/29/83 Activision Space Shuttle 6/29/83 PAL version with different title screen.


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