Of all the Golden-Age arcade games, Asteroids was the sparest, most elegant and most coldly intense. You played as the pilot of a tiny triangular spaceship lost in the inky void amid irregular drifting asteroids.
Your only weapon was a laser cannon that shot tiny intense points of light that only broke the asteroids into smaller pieces (a realistic but unconventional design choice). When trapped you were offered the terrible Hail Mary option of a hyperspace jump to a random point on the screen; points inside and directly in front of asteroids were not excepted, and sometimes you died anyway, presumably from hyperspace turbulence.
The deep, pulsing, gradually accelerating soundtrack only heightened the player’s sense of existential dread: the game could only end one way, with the player’s utter destruction. Asteroids is the dark version of the asteroid-field sequence in The Empire Strikes Back. Never tell me the odds? In Asteroids, the odds were zero.