Star Raiders

STAR RAIDERS (Atari, 1979) was the first game written for the Atari 8-bit line of computers. It was created by Doug Neubauer, the designer of the Atari computer's audio and I/O control chip, "POKEY" (which stands for Pots and Keys).

Star Raiders was also released for the 2600 (author unknown) and many clones were attempted. One can even say that all 3D space games ever made after were based at least partially on Star Raiders.

Another great game by Doug was Solaris (Atari, 1986) for the Atari 2600 (VCS) game machine. Very similar to Star Raiders in game play and showing off some excellent graphics work, Solaris is one of the best 2600 games made.

Some other games were borne under the "Star Raiders" title: Star Raiders 2 (Atari, 1986?) also for the Atari 8-bit computer, and "Star Raiders" for the Atari ST computer. Star Raiders 2 was going to be released as "The Last Starfighter," named after the motion picture. Most consider Star Raiders 2 a far cry from the original, although it sported much fancier graphics and a few different forms of game play.

Contemporary games similar to Star Raiders include games for the PC like Wing Commander, X-Wing, and Interactive Magic's "Star Rangers."

A great interview with Doug from the October 1986 issue of "Analog Computing" magazine can be found here at the Atari Gaming Headquarters website.

In mid-2009, Doug wrote some articles about Atari, Star Raiders, POKEY, and other subjects on his website: "Star Raiders Game Design Trivia", "The Atari Years", "The Pokey Chip Story".

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By Bill Kendrick, 1996, 1997, 2010