One of these remakes is the 1998 version of Asteroids. Released for the PC, this version of the game kept the same basic gameplay, but threw in several innovations that kept it fresh and exciting, even when compared to other games of the time. Graphically, the game was impressive, with 3D acceleration, though the game still played in two dimensions. The backgrounds in particular were very easy on the eyes, and changed from level to level as players advanced. Three different ships, each with different stats, were available to choose from. Limited shields were available, protecting from otherwise lethal crashes. All sorts of power-ups floated by from time to time, each improving the players' odds of survival. The asteroids, too, were different. Most memorable were the crystal rocks, which regenerated over time if left untouched. The 1998 version of Asteroids was a fun game, and had the perfect balance between old school gameplay and modern bells and whistles.
Just a few weeks ago, I picked up an Atari Flashback 2. The Flashback 2 is similar to those Plug N' Play games you may have seen in stores, being a self-contained video game console. The Flashback 2 looks almost exactly like the old Atari 2600, right down to the faux wood grain. Two joysticks plug in to the back of the unit, and they feel quite authentic. There are no cartridges for the Flashback 2. Instead, dozens of games are built in, including a nice little game called "Arcade Asteroids"! I was thrilled to see that Arcade Asteroids restores the more original outline style graphics to the 2600 port. Best of all, several co-op modes are included. in these, players share their reserve ships, play at the same time, with shots passing right through each other. I've spent quite a bit of time playing the Flashback 2 with my kids, and I highly recommend picking one up for any fan of vintage Atari.
Asteroids was a great game in the arcades, but it's definitely improved with the addition of co-op. Countless games have been inspired by Asteroids, such as the modern-generation PSN title Super Stardust HD, which does feature co-op. A co-op free version of Asteroids was released on Xbox Live Arcade a few years ago. If you know of any other versions of Asteroids that feature co-op, please let us know, and we'll get them added to the database as soon as we can. In the meantime, stay away from those wandering space rocks!