NASA takes one giant leap into videogames with Moonbase Alpha

Gather ‘round fans of edutainment and demographic marketing. It’s time to gear up for a trip to the moon, or as it’s known in some places, that one place some nutballs still insist we totally didn’t visit. Regardless of how you feel about NASA’s integrity, the agency is trying to reach out to us gamer types in the form of Moonbase Alpha. Unfortunately, it’s not America’s Army in space – there are no guns – but it is a free game (downloadable on Steam) that isn’t an Asian MMO or hidden item puzzle, and it’s actually pretty interesting.

Above: We are told that this is both scientifically and historically inaccurate

In Moonbase Alpha, players are tasked with repairing the titular base after it’s been struck by a meteor. You and up to five friends must restore life support to the base as quickly as possible. You’ll have a little robot that will be instrumental in bringing the base back online, and a rover you can drive around and hopefully crash into your friends, sending them spiraling into space. Not proper NASA protocol, perhaps, but whatever. With multiple maps and some online leaderboards, it’s apparent that NASA really wants players to play through Moonbase Alpha game several times. That seems a stretch for a game with no grenades or dragons, but we’ll not judge it just yet.

Check out the trailer below, and if anyone out there decides to head over toSteamand give Moonbase Alpha a download, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Oh, and the manual can be foundhere.

Jul 7, 2010