Lunar Landing Game Related Documents
Following some articles in 2009 about the history of computer games,
I had a number of requests for old documents relating to the
Lunar Landing Game
(made in fall 1969 on a PDP-8/I at the Lexington MA high school in recognition of the July 1969 Apollo moon landing);
here is some stuff from an old box of TTY tapes and printouts,
along with some related things.
Lunar Landing Game 1969
Lunar Landing Game Source Code Listing (Focal)
Lunar Landing Game Articles
Lunar Landing Game Source Code Listing - transcribed text (thanks to M. Markowitz)
Lunar Landing Game Sample Output - fail
Lunar Landing Game Sample Output - success
Lexington High School "System Symptoms" Moon Landing Article, January 13 1970
Lunar Landing Game Submission to DECUS
(a.k.a "Lunar Lander Game", "Moon Landing Game", "Rocket")
Technologizer Article 2009
Lunar Lander Simulator 2019
Article from Mr. Walker's Blog 2009
Article by Grant Robinson, 2009
Guardian Article 2019
Wikipedia Article 2017
Article from Atari Archives 2017
FictionPhile Article 2023
Retro 365 Article 2023
Critical Hit Article 2023
Rocket, from 101BasicComputerGames, Copyright 1975, Pages 182-184
In September 2019 Stefan Trenkel published a web simulator for Lunar Lander:
Lunar Lander Translations 2020
He said that the code was implemented to operate as close to the original code as possible.
In fact when run using the same numbers as the two original sample outputs shown above,
the results are nearly identical.
Here are screen shots
(for the second game, the mistake of first typing a zero instead of the letter O to type NO was duplicated):
Lunar Landing Game Simulator Sample Output - fail
Playing on the simulator reminds one that, although it is a very simple user interface,
the game is not so easy to win if you have not already seen others play.
Here some screen shots.
The first always chooses 75 fuel rate and results in a crash with fuel left,
and the second always chooses a 76 fuel rate and results in a crash with no fuel left.
The third screen shot shows a horrible game where fuel was aggressively used
(even mistakenly trying to use more that a rate of 200)
and it ends with the lander briefly rising up,
running out of fuel still at a high altitude,
and then free falling and crashing hard.
Lunar Landing Game Simulator Sample Output - success
Lunar Landing Game Simulator Example - fuel left
In July 2023 S. Vakulenko found, with the aid of a C++ program search, this near perfect game on the simulator that lands at only 0.17 mph with 588 pounds of fuel remaining, and then in August 2023 M. Martin also with the the aid of a C++ program search found a game that lands at a faster 1.0 mph but with more fuel remaining (658 pounds). The two make it seem easy in hindsight, but before looking at them, try it yourself without a computer program to help!
Lunar Landing Game Simulator Example - fuel out
Lunar Landing Game Simulator Example - horrible game
Lunar Landing Game Simulator Example of a near perfect game
* See also the 2023
software of M. Markowitz.
Lunar Landing Game Simulator Second Example of a near perfect game
Here are some Lundar Lander translations created by Kristopher Johnson in 2020;
the c program compiled and ran in a Mac terminal window.
DEC PDP-8 1969:
Lexington High School PDP-8 Photo
(Getty image, found by J. Cook)
Project Local 1967
PDP-8 Wikipedia Article
TSS-8 Wikipedia Article
FOCAL Wikipedia Article
BASIC Wikipedia Article
In 1967, five towns Massachusetts towns, including Lexington, received a grant for a pilot program to bring (mini-)computers into the classroom; this program was titled Project LOCAL.
Pollution Game 1970
Local Link News Letter
(pdf 22 pages, April 1970)
"Project Local - Bridging the Gap"
(pdf 7 pages, from
ACM SIGCUE 9:Sl, Jan. 1, 1975
(pdf 1 page, American Association of Physics Teachers, 1972)
Pollution Game Source Code Listing (Basic, 5 pages)
Pollution Game Submission to DECUS
"Pollute" Article of "Call A Computer"
Check Stub from Sale Of Pollution Game to "Call A Computer"
"King" Description from 101 Basic Computer Games, Copyright 1975, Pages 138-140
The code shown here has been modified from the original code.
King Article from Atari Archives
The code shown here has been modified from the original code; thanks to M. Martin for pointing out that this modified version has a bug at lines 1450 / 1451 where player's current balance A is computed incorectly as compared to lines 1490 / 1492 of the original code (or to lines 1450 / 1451 of the 101 Basic Computer Games Code).
101 Basic Games Copyright 1975
Hammurabi, known as "Hamurabi"
(A DEC Game that Motivated the Pollution Game)
Hamurabi Wikipedia Article
GE 200 Series Wikipedia Article
(the GE-265 computer was reported to be used by "Call A Computer")
Hamurabi Lexington High School Handout 9/9/1969
Hamurabi Source Code Listing (1 page)
Golden Lunar Lander Machine Learning Page
Moon Landing Wikipedia Page,