It is fair to say that the 1980’s were the golden age of arcade games. Sure from a technical stand point a kid looking back nowadays will be mind blown at just how simple some of these gems look.
But the games from this era just oozed personality, many games requiring the gamer to use their imagination to bring the pixels on the screen to life.
Out of all the games of the 1980’s one of the ones I fondly remember the most is the classic Star Wars.
Arcade games in the 1980’s had to make up for the simplistic graphics. So most of the time they displayed some truly amazing artwork — or a very elaborate cabinet.
The arcade cabs themselves were designed to grab people’s attention. Perhaps no game more so than the original Star Wars. This game by Atari just had that wow factor.
Star Wars was released in two cabinets. There was a standard stand up cabinet, but what most gamers will fondly remember was the sit-down cabinet.
This looked like something right out of Star Wars. It had some amazing artwork on the sides. This arcade machine just caught your eye as soon as you walked into the arcade.
When you sat inside and grabbed the controller. Which again was designed to look like something straight out of movie — you knew you were in for a treat.
Like most arcade games, Star Wars could be a quick experience as there was only three levels.
The first part of the game saw you playing the role of Red Five, better known as Luke Skywalker (complete with voice samples from Mark Hamil). Taking on a whole heap of TIE fighters. You would have to shoot down the TIE fighters themselves while also making sure to take out any fireballs that they shot your way.
The amazing vector graphics really brought this game to life and still hold up fairly well today. It is still a very desirable game for adding to home game rooms.
Once you survived the TIE fighter assault, it was time to fly into the Death Star with Obi-Wan telling you to “use the force.” The voices again used by his real life actor Alec Guinness.
Once inside the Death Star you would fly along the surface of the Death Star and shoot down as many turrets as you could. This was a particularly challenging part of the game and you could easily lose a few shields here.
Finally it was the iconic race along the trench of the Death Star, this part of the game was fantastic! You would have to dodge lasers and shoot gun turrets as you made your way to shoot the torpedo down the hatch. Hopefully you succeeded in order to blow up the Death Star just like Luke did in the movie.
Once you complete this part of the game it stars again — only this time it gets harder. You can keep on playing as long as you can last.
Star Wars is still a fantastic game that really captures the feel of the movies, just as some classic slot machine games can revive the feeling of the Las Vegas golden age. It is an absolute gem from the golden era of arcade gaming. Not only does it play amazingly well, but it has sky-high production values.
When I think of arcades in the 1980’s, always one of the first things that pops into my head is that image of Darth Vader staring at you menacingly on the side of the cab.
For many arcade collectors out there — the sit-down arcade cab of Star Wars is one of the best arcade machines that any collection could have. A grail item for many.
May the Force be With You in finding one of these to put in your game room.