It's the year 2075, and you're an Astrobus driver for the Galactic Travel Agency. Impatient commuters are waiting to be picked up all over the galaxy, but they won't wait long. If you can manage your fuel, avoid the myriad airborne obstacles, and get them all to their destinations… Well, all you'll get are bonus points. But those impress girls, right?
Gameplay: After you carefully land your rocket module, the Astrobus will uncouple and head out across the surface of the planet. A small radar display indicates where the commuters are awaiting pickup, so just point your Astrobus left or right and fly on over there to get them.
Every planet you visit seems to have a problem with meteors, fireballs, and space mines, so you'll have to avoid or blast them as you make your way from stop to stop. You'll also have to keep an eye on your fuel, which runs out quickly; you can refuel by flying across the fuel pods that occasionally appear at the top of the screen.
When you've picked up all eight commuters, drop them off at the rocket module, fly off the top of the screen, and advance to the next level.
Could be mistaken for: Defender, Chopper Command
Kids today might not like it because: It's essentially Defender with training wheels.
Kids today might like it because: It's a fast-paced side-scroller that's fun in spite of its limitations.
Enduring contribution to gaming history: Because it was released after the great video-game crash of 1983, Cosmic Commuter was a largely-forgotten casualty of the 2600's demise. If it had been released just a year earlier, it probably would have been a success.
Wil Wheaton commutes from his bedroom to his home office, and still hits traffic on the way.