Your space craft is dangerously situated among fast moving asteroids in an asteroid belt that can destroy your ship on contact. Armed with a front mounted weapon and the ability to hyperspace, you fly through the debris, destroying each rock one piece at a time. Alien saucers visit the playfield from time to time with an eye towards destroying your ship!
The objective of Asteroids is to score as many points as possible by destroying asteroids and flying saucers. The player controls a triangular-shaped ship that can rotate left and right, fire shots straight forward, and thrust forward. As the ship moves, momentum is not conserved — the ship eventually comes to a stop again when not thrusting. The player can also send their ship into hyperspace, causing it to disappear and reappear in a random location on the screen (with the risk of self-destructing or appearing on top of an asteroid).