Vertically landing a rocket ship is no easy feat,– just ask the team at SpaceX, which has watched in dismay as its Falcon 9 rocket has exploded more than once during take-off and landing. You can share in this misery with the Scratch web game SpaceX Falcon 9 Lander, which challenges you to land the Falcon 9 in 8-bit glory.
The game is inspired by the classic Lunar Lander game with a multi-million dollar prototype spacecraft as its main character. The goal of the game is basic — use the WASD keys to control your thrust, rotation and speed as you try to land gently on an ocean platform before your fuel runs out. It’s meant to be exceptionally difficult (read: almost impossible) to land without ending in a giant ball of flame on the ocean’s surface. With 8-bit graphics, the game is delightfully retro and maddeningly challenging.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Lander does have some redeeming qualities. The games rage-inducing gameplay is a good check on your coronary health. As you repeatedly destroy your Falcon 9 rockets, you can take solace in the fact that each one is free and not worth millions. It’s a great time killer and fantastic conversation starter that could get you roped into a long talk about rocketry, space exploration and, of course, Elon Musk.
Also — just in case you’re curious, SpaceX hasn’t yet announced when it plans to attempt landing/recovery of a second stage rocket again, but it doesn’t sound like the company will be using the drone barge for the next round. According to statements from Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President and COO, the company will try to land the rocket on land moving forward.