I think the very first game that I was ever addicted to had to have been Asteroids. I remember being very, very young and I just wouldn't allow myself to be torn away from this tiny little black and white TV that a friend was playing it on. I don't even think I played that time, I just watched, but I was hooked on video games for life.
Space Pilot, by Alex Kaplan, is the spiritual successor to Asteroids, featuring the same vector-style graphics, the same ship, the same control scheme, and even the same asteroids. It is also an entry into our 3rd game design competition held in June and July.
Use the [left] and [right] arrow keys to spin your ship and the up arrow key to thrust forward. The only way to slow down is to spin completely around and thrust against your forward momentum. Turning is similarly tricky, since the direction you travel and the direction you're facing are completely independent of one another.
This time rather than an endless barrage of asteroids bent on your destruction, you're tasked with navigating through asteroids and minefields, sometimes maneuvering through fenced areas and flipping switches to open passages in order to exit each screen. Each level is timed, and you have an unlimited number of replays to complete it; in some you simply have to survive until the time runs out, in others you must complete a few tasks along the way. Unlike the original Asteroids, the walls in this game are deadly to your ship, so don't fly out one end hoping to pop back in the other.
Analysis: Alex has created a wonderful addition to what we should go ahead and call the "Asteroids Canon". The additions to the original formula are sometimes inspired, and I'm looking right at you, mines, when I say that. "Safe Haven" in particular was one of my favorite levels. The graphics as well as spot-on perfect recreations of the original, and for that I am grateful. I was really tired of Asteroids itself decades ago, but picking this game up feels like I'm putting on a pair of old familiar boots and going for a stroll in a brand new town.
Alex missed the mark on a couple things though, probably due to time constraints preparing for the competition. The collision detection is off on the asteroids in particular: in some cases I was almost a full ship's-distance from an asteroid and was destroyed, in others I was almomst completely inside the asteroid before being destroyed. I also don't think that maze-like levels are well suited for the control scheme, and found them tedious rather than interesting. The replay theme implementation is also not particularly inspired, but it's there and it works.
I also just plain miss the music, although it probably would not have fit in well in this incarnation of the game, so I have to mark that down as a good choice on his part.
All in all it's a wonderful idea with a flawed implementation, but one that shows promise. Hopefully we'll see a lot more work from Alex in the near future.
There is also an updated version of the game available to play over at Arcade Town.