also known as: gravity shooters; gravitational shooters; gravitors; cave-flyers; thrust-types
Most commonly developed in Europe, Thrus-Types are games where you pilot a rotatable craft with thrusters in back (think Asteroids) while constantly fighting the pull of gravity (and, often, and the craft's inertia). Common elements include carrying heavy objects, fragile ships, precision landing, limited fuel, and player-destroyable fuel refills.
This seems to be a popular genre amongst hobbyist programmers, possibly because of the interesting coding challenges it presents.
Thrust-types can be considered one of the earliest videogame genres. Both Spacewar! and Lunar Lander had thrust-based gameplay and their original incarnations predate the year 1970.
Gravitar (1983) and Gauntlet (1984) created many of the genre's conventions. However it wasn't until Thrust (1986) was released (and ported to every home computer out there) that the genre gained some popularity.
Gravity Force 2 (unofficial sequel to Gravity Force) popularized multiplayer Thrust-Types, and spawned many clones for the Amiga and from the Finns, such as TurboRaketti, AUTS, Super PakPak, and a dozens of games with “Gravity” in their titles.
The original Lunar Lander, simply called Lunar, was designed by a 17 year old high school student in 1969 for the PDP-8 computer. The game was text-based, with the player entering the amount of fuel he wished to burn each “turn”. Despite being one-dimensional, the game was compelling enough for others to make clones of it. The first graphical version, called Moonlander, was made in 1973 for the DEC GT40 computer terminal and is the first version of the game to resemble what we are familiar with nowadays, with a 2D landscape and a rotatable craft.
The singular goal in most Lunar Lander-type games is to land on a flat surface on a rocky planetoid. The smaller the surface, the greater the score. Typically the game starts out with a zoomed-out view of the entire playfield, and zooms in when you're close to the surface.
This section includes titles that have similar gravity-based gameplay but with different propulsion methods, and games that might/would qualify as thrus-types if gravity was added.
Though they exclude the effect of gravity, these games share Thrus-Types use of inertia. So controlling the avatars, and mastering their control, in these games has a similar satisfaction.