In Missile Command you control three missile turrets and protect six cities from incoming nuclear missiles. When you lose all of your cites, then it's game over, and the game doesn't end until you lose and the inhabitants of the cities are killed. The original arcade release had you using a trackball to move a cursor around the screen, with the press of one of three buttons you could fire a missle from the appropriate missile turret. Each missile turret has 10 missiles per level, however your missiles have a wide explosion range, letting you destroy multiple incoming missiles with one blast. The game has a set number of incoming missiles per level, and as you go up in level, the number of incoming missiles increases, therefore increasing the difficulty. The overall goal of the game, like many games from the 70's and 80's is to get the highest High Score.
Bugs & Glitches
The original version has a bug that happens once you get to 810,000 points. You get awarded with 150 extra cities, making it possible to play the game for several more hours.
After getting up to the 255th and 256th stages (known as the 0x stages) the scoring increases by 256 times, but the speed of the missiles also becomes accelerated. Expert players have been known to score over 1 million points, enabling some players to reach up to 2,800,000 points. The scoring system was primitive enough at the time where it would only show six-digits, so their 2,800,000 showed up as 800,000. After getting past the 256th stage, the game reverts back to the original speed from stage 1, but keeps your point total and your extra cities, making it possible to keep playing the game in a giant loop.
Missile Command was originally released in arcades in 1980 and ported to the Atari 2600, from there it was made on the Atari 5200 and the Atari 8-bit, as well as other consoles. The game became so incredibly popular, that over the years it has been remade by various companies under different names, and sometimes even slightly different graphics. A few examples of these are Commando Raid, Lunar Command, and Condition Red.