The game was conceived by Lyle Rains and programmed and designed by Ed Logg. Asteroids was a hit in the United States and became Atari's best selling game of all time. Atari had been in the process of releasing another vector game, Lunar Lander, but demand for Asteroids was so high they stopped further production of Lunar Lander so they could begin building Asteroids. The first 200 Asteroids machines were sent out in Lunar Lander cabinets. Asteroids was so popular that video arcade owners sometimes had to install larger boxes to hold the amount of quarters that were spent by players.
Asteroids is also the first game to use Atari's "QuadraScan" vector-refresh system. A full-color version known as "Color-QuadraScan" was later developed for games such as Space Duel and Tempest.