The story of Missile Command

Microsoft once had a collection of Atari Classic games for Windows 3.1 (on 2 1.44″ floppy disks) and the help files had a short history of each game. Polygon’s article and interview with designer Dave Theurer reminded me of that help file, but with a lot more detail.

Theurer and Adam got rid of all the unnecessary components — including a radar idea, which had an arm sweeping across the screen, only revealing a portion of it at a time — and started putting that manpower and time into polishing the other areas of the game.

“To make it simple, we got rid of everything except for the cities and the bases,” Theurer says. “Turns out, that was the right way to do it.” Missile Command went on to become one of the most successful arcade machines of all time, cementing its place in pop culture for decades to come.