Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing by playing Race Into Space!

Those of you who are old skool pc gamers like me probably remember Interplay’s wonderful game, Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space. That game has long remained one of my favorite strategy titles, a game I dig out at least twice per year for a replay. I had it on 6 3.5" floppies, and the game was a repurchase for me when it came out in an enhanced edition on CD-ROM (better movie footage and other goodies). Still have the CD, still play it through DOSBox.

Thanks to the RPS guys for the tip that Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space is available as Vista-friendly freeware here:

Fritz Bronner, the game’s designer, owns the rights and has given his blessings to this project. One of the former programmers has assisted in the design work. A few of the notoriously difficult aspects of the game (particularly astronaut team friendliness) have been slightly eased to make it a bit less daunting for newcomers.

Anyone else love this wonderful game?

Anyone need help getting to the moon before 1970? You’ll need one or two lucky breaks, but it can be done fairly easily.

Fun (tough) game - just wished multiplayer worked in the new version.

Hey, nifty. I played an abandonware copy years ago. It was fun and educational, but rock hard – a small % chance of flubbing a step of the moon landing really adds up when there are two dozen steps! I ended up just abusing save/reload.

It’s a great little game, except for the crappy interface that offers no assistance in figuring out that you have to recruit 4 turns in advance, assign crews 2 turns in advance, schedule 1 turn in advance, and then make sure you have enough hardware on the launch date. It’s a wonder we ever made it to the moon at all!

  • Alan

Another Apollo sim that’s worth checking out is Eagle Lander 3D. There’s a free demo that allows you to fly the final lunar landing sequence of the Apollo XI mission and then run around on the moon’s surface after you’ve landed. A really cool feature is that it includes the authentic radio communications between the astronauts and mission control, with certain messages being triggered as you complete particular events.


Darn I just spent a day getting the abandonware copy working. I then remembered how frustrating it was. The only way to win it is to get a good start and then I often save and reload.

I think the topic is really an excellent one for a modern game designer to tackle. It is a compelling situation and there is lots of great public domain video and pictures available.

It can be done, and you don’t even need an early lead. I’ve won come-from-behind games with the Gemini program (that was CRAZY). I’ve won tooth-and-nail games with the Apollo Program.

By far though, my favorite strategy is this: You start off pretty standard: Earth orbital satellite (Explorer program on Atlas rocket). You recruit astronauts and start the Mercury program, still using Atlas. You use Mercury to get two objectives ONLY: manned suborbital flight (like Shepard’s) and a manned orbital (Glenn’s).

At some point between 1960 and 1962 you should get an event card giving you 50% off all hardware. Now, skipping programs is usually incredibly expensive…but with the 50% off, you can buy a prototype of the Saturn V rocket and the XMS-2 shuttle. That gives you a startup on both your Moon rocket and your Command Module. You might run far behind at this point, but once you get even a successful orbital mission on your first Saturn V launch of the XMS-2, the prestige goes off the charts and the funding floodgates open.

You’ll also go through a ton of astronauts, but you should have a Saturn V, a Kicker C booster, EVA suit, Docking Module, an Eagle LM, and of course the XMS-2 (which as an added bonus is reusable…) at max R&D by fall of 1967 to do manned lunar flybys and manned lunar orbitals (at this point you’ll need three launch pads, too) to lead to lunar orbital LEM dockings in '68…and a moon landing by late '68 or '69.