Lunar Lander was released in August 1979. Approximately 4,830 units were produced. Original price was $1,695.
Licensed to Sega for Japanese market.
Lunar Lander was Atari's first vector game and was inspired by "Moonlander
", a game written by Jack Burness in 1973 as a demo for the DEC GT40 vector graphics terminal (based on a PDP-11/05 CPU). This game used a light pen to control thrust and rotation.
If the player landed at exactly the right spot, a McDonalds appeared. The astronaut would leave the lander and walk over to the McDonalds and order a Big Mac to go, before walking back to the Lander and taking off again. If players crashed directly into the McDonalds, the game displayed a message reading 'You clod. You've destroyed the only McDonald's on the Moon.' After a short run of Lunar Lander machines were manufactured, production was shifted over to "Asteroids
" and the first few hundred "Asteroids
" machines were housed in Lunar Lander cabinets. Atari donated a gold edition version of the coin-operated video game to the Discovery Center of Science & Technology in Syracuse, New York.
On June 17, 1980, Atari's "Asteroids
" and "Lunar Lander
" were the first two video games to ever be registered in the Copyright Office.
David Nelson holds the officially recognized world record for this game (certified via Twin Galaxies) with 1,525 points. This was achieved using a single credit and 750 units of fuel which are the default settings for this game.
A Lunar Lander units appears in the 1984 movie 'The Philadelphia Experiment'.