Based on the classic game Asteroids, Arteroids by Jim Andrews is a Shockwave-powered literary shoot 'em up that wages war on words and phrases as they travel across the screen. In game mode, the user controls a ship which is represented by the word "Poetry" that is sitting in the center of the screen at the beginning of the game. By using the keyboard arrow keys and the letter X key, the user controls the movement and shooting. With words and phrases coming into the screen from all angles, the player must shoot and evade, to avoid collision. Once the user shoots a word, it explodes, spraying letters into the background which eventually fade away.
As the words converge on the poetry ship, players can read the random juxtapositions that appear on screen or blast their way into new configurations. The sequence of the poem is completely dependent on the attention given to closest asteroids closing in on the user. The game is broken down into levels, with clever quotes interspersed between them.