I spotted this vintage Starblade arcade machine out in the wild today whilst taking a pitstop break during walking day along the coast.
It appeared to be working o.k despite a slightly pincushioned monitor/plexiglass and so with coin at the ready, well several really (I always think of it as a donation to keep these beauties in circulation) I was once again thrust into the role of ship gunner.
Despite its on rails nature, I’ll never get bored of Starblade especially immersed in the cockpit cabinet with that big ass yoke gun, booming speakers and inset large screen.
With our walk finished and putting ones aching feet up, I hit the Internet for more Starblade videos and a read up about it again on KLOV and various fan sites. Interesting, on its Wiki entry there was this one line –
It also received a re-release in 2013 on iOS as part of the Namco Arcade application.
Trying not to get to excited about this as surely it would be a disappointing port with a (shudder) touchscreen joystick, i headed to the App Store and download the Namco Arcade app.
Apart from the collection by Atari, I’m not a fan of the arcade collections for iOS as they’re often expensive and have very little other game related content that will pry me away from MAME. Atari did a great job with their collection of games like Lunar Lander, Black Widow and Battlezone as they play so much better with touch screen controls than the same games using the default control set in iMame/mame4all.
Namco’s arcade collection contains a rather small collection of their back catalogue. Classics like Pacman, Galaga and Xevious are here as well as one of my personal favourites Rolling Thunder and a couple I’ve not really played that much before, like the rather fun Motos.
The app itself is a little bland and pretty much a simple frontend shop for the in-app purchases of games (or virtual coins at a lower price rate).
Each day, Namco offer one free credit on any game for you to try before you buy and so of course, today’s credit was spent on Starblade.
…and holy asteroids, it’s flippin awesome. Graphics are just as crisp and silky smooth as the original and the touchscreen is so simple (the gun sight follows your finger) works beautifully and actually makes the game a little more enjoyable for new comers as accurate and quick aiming is easily archived instead of swing around that massive gun yoke on the arcade cabinet. At £3.99 for just this one game, it’s way more expensive than the others (£0.69) but oh so worth it.