In the Atari 2600 game Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, players take on the role of Luke Skywalker, piloting a snowspeeder to combat Imperial AT-AT walkers on the planet Hoth. The goal is to delay the walkers from destroying the power generator at the Rebel’s Echo Base. Various difficulty levels exist, with factors such as walker speed, solidity, and inclusion of a “smart bomb.”
To defeat a walker, players must target its head or torso, as shooting the legs is ineffective. As walkers sustain damage, they change colors from black (undamaged) to yellow (critically damaged). Players can also target a flashing spot that appears randomly during the game. On the Atari 2600, it takes 48 hits to eliminate a walker.
Walkers retaliate by firing at the player’s speeder, which also changes colors as it sustains damage. Players can land their damaged speeders for repairs. In some levels, walkers are solid, causing player’s speeder to crash upon contact, while other levels feature a smart bomb that launches from a walker’s flashing port and pursues the player. If hit by the smart bomb, the player’s speeder is destroyed.
If the player lasts for 20 minutes, their speeder is granted the power of the Force for 20 seconds, making it invulnerable and flashing different colors. The game concludes when the player’s fifth speeder is destroyed or when the leading walker reaches Echo Base and destroys it. As the game advances, walkers move faster, heightening the challenge.