When Atari released Asteroids in 1979, the game did something that very few coin-operated arcade games had ever done before. It kept selling. Months after its introduction, when the sales cycle for an arcade game should have ended, its manufacturer kept receiving orders.
More than 70,000 units were sold, generating revenues of US$150 million for Atari, and no one knows for sure how many coins the rock-splitting diversion sucked up, but Atari estimates it made more than US$500 million. Although orders have tapered off, the game's legacy lives on with innumerable arcade, home and web-based adaptations. This obsession, over a quarter of a century old, owes its success to Atari programmer Ed Logg and a game that never took off.