Manufacturer: Atari
Released: 1980
Designer: Dave Theurer
Added to my collection: February 20, 2011
Sold: December 22, 2015


Description:

I just checked my Wanted page to see if Missile Command was on it, and I was surprised that it wasn't. This was one of the many games that I played constantly in the 80s. It was in Dominic's Pizza, which was on my way home from high school, so I put more than my share of quarters into it back in the day.

Of course, it was one of those games I was never very good at. A couple of levels in, the missiles start raining down at amazingly high speed, and it's all you can do to keep up with them. I very seldom made it to the 5X round (the 9th level), and when I did it was usually the end of virtual civilization as we knew it as my last city was blasted to pixels. The only version of the game I was any good at was the Atari 2600 version, which I once played for over 5 hours straight on a single game. On the lowest possible difficulty setting.

But Missile Command is definitely one of the all time classics. There were those who thought it was a covert training tool invented by the government to teach kids to launch ICBMs. (I'm sure that story would have gotten a lot more traction if Fox News and Glenn Beck had been around back then.) Any way you look at it, though, it was a blast (pun intended) to play. Even if you didn't get much mileage out of your quarter.

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My Machine

Because I wasn't very good at it and there were games I definitely liked better, I never actively hunted a Missile Command machine. You don't see them at many auctions, although I did bid on a cocktail version at Winston-Salem a few years back. I dropped out at $230, though. The other guy wanted it more than I did, and I could see that it was only going to keep getting more expensive. Plus, I was bidding on a whim. And I've never been a huge fan of cocktail-style games.

That said, when a deal comes along, you take it.

I was contacted back in 2010 by a collector who was looking for a Bump 'N Jump machine for a friend. He wanted to trade a Missile Command cocktail for mine. Admittedly, depending on the condition of the machines, that's more than a fair deal. In fact, most would say that it would be a bargain for me, since most people aren't all that crazy about Bump 'N Jump and Missile Command is pretty popular among collectors. But Bump 'N Jump had too much sentimental value to me--and I had too much money in it at that point--so I passed.

A year later, the same collector contacted me again. He still had the Missile Command in his garage and he needed the room, so he wanted to sell it. He told me that the player 2 trackball was not working and that he thought it was a board problem. We agreed on a price, and I headed down to Wilmington, NC to pick it up. About 5 hours later, it was in the arcade.

Turns out that, in addition to the trackball problem, there's a slight problem with the video display. I have been doing some research, and it looks as if a cap kit will solve that problem. And, after messing with the trackball a bit, I think that the problem is one of the opto boards on the trackball assembly rather than a motherboard problem. So, it looks as if I might get off fairly cheaply repair-wise. Other than those two issues, the only thing I found was that the on/off swich doesn't work. (At least it's on and not off...)

Cosmetically, it has what you'd consider normal wear and tear. There are scratces on the top glass and the decals underneath have some peeling and flaking, but the logos and instructions are intact. A little elbow grease to clean it up, and it ended up looking pretty good!

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Missile Command Technical Info:

DIP switch settings:

Missile Command has two 8-switch banks on the main game board. (Bold settings are factory defaults.) Switch 8 on both banks is unused.

DIP Bank R10 (Right Bank) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Coin/Credit 1 Coin for 1 Play
on
on
Free Play
on
off
2 Coins for 1 Play
off
on
1 Coin for 2 Plays
off
off
Right Coin Right Coin Mech X 1
 
on
on
Right Coin Mech X 4
 
off
on
       
Right Coin Mech X 5
 
on
off
       
Right Coin Mech X 6
 
off
off
 
Center / Left Coin Center Coin Mech X 1
on
 
Center Coin Mech X 2
off
 
Language English Language        
on
on
French Language          
off
on
German Language          
on
off
Spanish Language          
off
off
                 

 

DIP Bank R8 (Left Bank) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Cities
Game Starts With 7 Cities
off
off
Game Starts With 6 Cities
on
on
Game Starts With 5 Cities
on
off
Game Starts With 4 Cities
off
on
Bonus Credits No Bonus Credit
on
 
1 Bonus Credit for 4 Successive Quarters or a $1.00 Coin
off
 
Large Trac-Ball Input Large Trak-Ball Input (Switch must be off for proper operaton of upright Missile Command game).       off        
Bonus City Bonus City for Every 8,000 Points         on off off  
Bonus City for Every 10,000 Points         on on on  
Bonus City for Every 12,000 Points         off on on  
Bonus City for Every 14,000 Points         on off on  
Bonus City for Every 15,000 Points         off off on  
Bonus City for Every 18,000 Points         on on off  
Bonus City for Every 20,000 Points         off on off  
No Bonus City         off off off  

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More Missile Command Info:

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