Space Rawks on my Arcade machine.

Ever since I first watching my old brother play Asteroids in a cafe near to our school , I’ve always been drawn (in a straight line ūüôā ) to vector based arcade games such as Omega Race, Lunar Lander, Battlezone and Star Wars of course…it’s just something about those intense glowing lines moving incredibly smoothly against a darkened backdrop. To a much younger me, vector graphics were a symbol of the future. Today, they symbolise retro and boy do I love my retro.

As such, I’m a Vectrex player and alongside emulation with Mame/AAE I’m always seeking out all forms of vector styled games be it new concepts or remakes of original arcade classics. One developer that’s been releasing some truly outstanding games over the past few years is Sokurah of Tardis Remakes.

Available predominately for Windows PC (although there are quite a few for OSX now) his current roster of Vector styled games are –

Omega Race (2006 and 2009 edition) – Brilliant rendition of Midways classic.

Rip Off – Sadly, I never came across Rip-Off in the arcades as it’s one of my favourites on my Vectrex. Sokurah’s release is such a joy to play and looks amazing with those digital backdrops.

Star Castle – Another arcade/Vectrex classic. Check out the Atari 2600 port if you haven’t already.

Black Widow – A brilliant remake of Atari’s dual stick shooter (even more so than the original I think) and plays incredibly well when setup with a PC dual stick controller.

Zektor – It’s like Omega Race, Rip-off, Star Castle and Asteroids all in one game! Again, another machine that I didn’t come across in the arcades although I fear my pocket money would not have lasted very long if I had.

Space Fury – Intense Schmup action which gets even better (see below)

Arcadia – A vector styled re ‘imagine’-ation (sorry!) of an early 8-bit hit. I spent many happy hours playing this way back then on my humble Vic-20 , and this new version is just as fun and looks amazing with all that neon glow.

….and finally, his latest game, Space Rawks which is based around Asteroids Deluxe but with a shed load more rocks, plenty of power ups and frequent visits from those pesky saucers.

Just look at those gridlines…heaven ūüôā

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As with previous games, you’ll find plenty of useful options including redefinable controls and the ability to jack up (or down) the amount of vector glow.

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‘Sir, the possibilities of successfully navigating an asteroid field are 3,720 to 1’. I’d say, twice that judging by my score!

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I didn’t think that playing these game could get any better but man, how wrong was I after transferred them over to my arcade machine.

Classic controls and extra bass from the wooden cabinet.

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Space Fury – Of all the games I’m tried, this one plays so well on an upright cab and feels just like a genuine coin-op arcade game from the 80’s.

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Eek!

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I do hope that Sokurah continues to make these games so spread the word and show your support by visiting –

http://tardis.dk/wordpress/

Lunar Lander web games.

 

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These days it’s not very often I’ll get to play on an original Atari Lunar Lander arcade cabinet. Sure there’s emulation, but like most arcade games, there’s always something special about the original cabinet and with Lunar Lander its those crisp bright vector graphics, the belly shaking bass note of the engines and of course, that thruster bar which makes this such a great cabinet to play.

No matter though, until one falls off a truck right outside my house, i’m happy to play all manner of Lunar Lander type games and a multitude of systems. whilst enjoying a browse around the web today and with one link leading to another, I came across this rather faithful port which you can play in a web browser.

http://moonlander.seb.ly/

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If you click on the link in the bottom left hand corner of the game screen, you’ll be taken to the Lunar Trails website – an exhibition that merged the original arcade machine with a mechanical robot that could paint out your flightpath It’s a shame I missed this when it was in our area as it really looks like fun. I’m still hopeful that I can track down the whereabouts of that fully mechanical Lunar Lander game I came across a few years ago – < see blog post – https://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/mechanical-lunar-lander-arcade-game/

Also, I found that if you launch the game via a web browser on an iPad, you get to play the game with touch screen controls. Now that is something we could do more of!

I’ve also been playing around with the remake that Atari did a few years ago as part of there Atari Arcade celebration.

http://atari.com/arcade#!/arcade/lunarlander/play

 

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It’s a tad on the easy side as rocket fuel is plentiful but for a change from all those vector graphics and the fact that again this can also be played in a web browser complete with touch screen controls if you happen to to be browsing with an iPad (or I’m guessing any HTML supporting tablet?), then this is well worth having a look.

Gotta go…I hear a truck!

Mechanical Lunar Lander arcade game.

Atari ‘s classic arcade game ¬†Lunar Lander was a huge hit with me and my buddy’s back in the days of arcade machines and so will also be a special part of my gaming history. We used to spend ages stood in front of that¬†beautiful¬†big cabinet,¬†mesmerised¬†by the crisp vector graphics on screen ¬†as each of us ¬†‘astronaut’ took it in turns ¬†using the thruster bar ¬†to see if we could out do one another with the trickiest landing. Save fuel and increase the score and go for the easy landing or use more fuel and go for the higher scoring landings…choices, choices…aaaah, moon rock wall!…..er… Houston?

Lunar Lander’s control panel showing the ¬†left/right rotate buttons and that unique thruster bar.

Sadly, as always, arcade owners would replace these¬†ageing¬†games and replace them with newer ones and so for us, one¬†Saturday¬†afternoon ¬†our Lunar Lander days were over and I’ve never seen a full size cabinet ¬†since.

Lunar Lander (and many variants of the name) has been replicated many many times on a wide range of  8-bit computers and consoles and have played many great (and not so great)  conversions over the years. The homebrew release for the Vectrex is on my want list.

You can still play the original today via Mame etc or via various Atari releases for modern consoles and portable devices. In fact, if you haven’t played Lunar Lander before, you can play a web browser version on the ¬†Atari website.

http://www.atari.com/lunarlander

It was whilst i was Google-ing around on the subject that i stumbled across this rather unique version of Lunar Lander, built a few years ago. It appears that someone has taken the game concept and reimagined it as a  mechanical version  using an a Lander and Moon scape models, various motors, Arduino boards and a whole host of electronic wizardry including sound effects and recorded voice. This this is Awesome-ness!

Said someone is a chap called Iain Sharp and you can read all about his Lunar Lander and many more projects at his site – LushProjects.com

It’s a¬†fascinating¬†read and goes right into the details with plenty of photographs during the project build.

I aso read with interest that his Lunar Lander game was on display and available to play at Southwold Pier on the Suffolk coast. ¬†It’s a loooong drive from here but as I’ve got to play this thing and with some holiday time coming up ¬†shortly , I’m drawing up plans for another camping trip Suffolk way!

The Pier also hosts the ‘under the Pier show which is home to a¬†hilarious¬†looking collection of homemade amusement machines. ¬†Fancy a go on ‘whack a banker’, ‘Pet or Meat’, ‘ Autofrisk’ ¬†or my¬†favourite looking¬†¬†‘Mobility Masterclass’?

These wonderful creations are that of Tim Hunkin who also has his own site –¬†http://www.timhunkin.com/control/d_clocks_index.htm

I sent an email this afternoon to the Pier’s admin office to enquire if the Lunar Lander machine was still on display. Sadly it’s not and they didn’t know when it would return. Major bummer!

I also emailed Iain Sharp via his website to make enquiries as to whether his Lunar Lander machine is still assembled and would it be making a¬†public¬†display some time soon. He kindly responded that it was currently in storage and that he was trying to find a new home for it. Lets hope he manages to soon as my buddy’s and me are waiting to replay Lunar Lander (albeit in a different form) all over again ūüôā