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I recall playing a game that I had from source in QuickBASIC (probably 4.5, but maybe it was earlier QBASIC) during the mid-to-late 90s that I keep wanting to revisit. Unfortunately, due to the premise, it is difficult to search for as a lot of "lander" type games get mixed up in the results.

This game was not of the "moon lander" type, however it did involve landing a rocket on the moon. It was mostly black and white with small amounts of color, the graphics were all just line drawings. It was as much a simulator as it was a game (although I cannot vouch for how accurate it was).

The premise was that you needed to launch your rocket from Earth, fly to the moon, land, then take-off, and fly back to Earth, landing once more. I never made it past landing on the moon, and that bothers me to this day. There was a limited fuel supply, and gravity was factored in, making things quite difficult. As I recall, it was rather easy to incur damage during the lunar landing stage.

Otherwise, I remember that the screen was split into a few segments, one showing data (fuel, damage, gravitational pull, distance travelled, this kind of thing), another showing the direction the rocket was facing and amount of power being applied from the various thrusters, and I believe there was a larger segment that showed the surroundings of the rocket (e.g. the Moon or Earth, in 2D, when you were near enough to it) and there was a line showing your projected path, that would change as you applied thrust or fell within the reach of gravity.

I would likely have downloaded it (using my dialup modem!) as a part of a pack of QBASIC/QuickBasic) games from any one of a bunch of sites that I cannot remember. I do seem to have a feeling that it came in a zip file that contained 100 games. That particular pack allowed me to learn a lot about programming in QuickBASIC, but I unfortunately lost it, and my entire life's work up to that point, during the great hard drive crash of 2003 (when I learned a lot about the importance of backups!).

I played this on my 486 running Windows 3.11 for Workgroups, but I seem to recall that it behaved far better when running from MS-DOS (5.0, and later, 6) without Windows running.

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  • Sounds much like another take on Lunar Lander.
    – Raffzahn
    Oct 27, 2021 at 6:44
  • 2
    @Raffzahn No, really the only similarity it shared was the fact that the moon was involved. This was far more along the lines of a space travel simulator, including elements of managing entry into orbits, managing fuel consumption and velocity, etc.
    – James D
    Oct 28, 2021 at 2:16
  • Add more features to a car and it still is a car - the same is true when categorising games.
    – Raffzahn
    Oct 28, 2021 at 10:35
  • @Raffzahn, sounds closer to Kerbal Space Program than to Lunar Lander.
    – Mark
    Oct 28, 2021 at 20:28

1 Answer 1

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it is difficult to search for as a lot of "lander" type games get mixed up in the results.

That's maybe because this sounds quite like the 'one of the lander type games', just with an extended mission profile - which there were many:

  • Starting from doing a later ascent and docking with the capsule again,
  • over a whole mission like in your description,
  • all the way to 'Space Exploration', a lander game of the 1990s where one had to do missions to all planets, land, collect samples and return.

This game was not of the "moon lander" type, however it did involve landing a rocket on the moon. It was mostly black and white with small amounts of color, the graphics were all just line drawings. It was as much a simulator as it was a game. [...]

I remember that the screen was split into a few segments, one showing data (fuel, damage, gravitational pull, distance travelled, this kind of thing), another showing the direction the rocket was facing and amount of power being applied from the various thrusters, and I believe there was a larger segment that showed the surroundings of the rocket (e.g. the Moon or Earth, in 2D, when you were near enough to it) and there was a line showing your projected path, that would change as you applied thrust or fell within the reach of gravity.

All of that fits many Lunar Lander variants. So, is there anything past similarities that you could name to distinguish here?

Moby Games is always a good start for searching by browsing. Here the

may be a good start. Especially the later, as it includes

a 1996 game which is in fact written in BASIC. It includes all elements mentioned

  • Start,
  • Flight,
  • Lunar Landing,
  • Lunar Ascent,
  • Return to Earth and
  • Reentry (which Moby Games calls an 'Artillery Game').

The game was distributed as Shareware, so quite likely to be found in random game packs. The only mismatch with your description is colour, as the game seems way more colourful. But see for yourself.

The later similar Apollo 18: Mission to the Moon (even in name) was even more colourful and only available as of the shelf game.

I would likely have downloaded it (using my dialup modem!) as a part of a pack of QBASIC/QuickBasic) games from any one of a bunch of sites that I cannot remember.

Unfortunately these 'packs' where a zillion back then. Even more so as people modified these games and created new versions and new collections. And that may be the real crux here: countless versions with similar mechanics and content.

Maybe the pack can help identify? Are any names of other games still present?

That particular pack allowed me to learn a lot about programming in QuickBASIC,

Yeah, sounds familiar :)) In fact, that trend started on the PC already with games IBM offered - including a (basic) Lunar Lander clone called Rocket-Lander written in BASIC.

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