What am I playing lately? (Space Harrier Edition)

SpaceHarrier01Arcades aren’t really all that big in Vermont. We had a couple: Aladdin’s Castle, and Dream Machine, but after Dream Machine burnt down, that was it. So it’s kind of a bummer to say that my arcade experiences are really limited to just stealing someones quarters at a campground, and playing Street Fighter II, or better yet, wait for the person to put money into the machine, watch as they struggle to get the game started, walk away after a minute, and then push start and play the game on their dime. All of which add up to my arcade experience.

The only time that I would play some of the more popular arcade games, was when they were ported to home consoles.

“Experience the arcade classic, at home!” was a tagline I’ve always heard, to sell just about any system, and it totally worked. Even if the experience was completely watered down, and you soon discover that playing the arcade game at home when you can continue as often as you want, isn’t nearly as fun as only having 50 cents to beat the game with. There’s a sort of pressure not to screw up, and that’s something that can’t be emulated at home.

In my trips to the arcade, I would usually see cabinets from Taito, Nintendo, Capcom, Midway, and SNK (from time to time). Very rarely would I ever see a Sega cabinet, and if I did, it was for Altered Beast, or the original Golden Axe, nothing else. So when Sega was advertising having home conversions of Super Thunderblade, and Hang-On for the Genesis, I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about, since I had never seen either one of those games before. Therefore I just went back to playing Super Mario 3, and only knew of the Genesis being that system that I could play Toe-Jam and Earl on for about 45 minutes, before the thing burnt out.

Since my Mom passed away about a month ago, I’ve still been having trouble sitting down and getting involved in video games. I don’t know if this is something that’ll pass with time, or if maybe it’s just a thing that’s not meant to happen the same way that it used to. I’m thinking it’s probably more of a time thing, and decided that maybe my time would be better spent playing something fun, as opposed to something that’s difficult and more involved. Or better yet, Sonic the Hedgehog instead of Dark Souls II.


I’ve been on a bit of a Sega kick as of late. This is a little unusual for me, I’m usually more nostalgic towards Nintendo, but that’s more likely because I had access to the NES and the Super Nintendo, and the Genesis that I owned was a broken piece of crap (not the system itself, mine had a piece missing and would cause the system to overheat after a certain amount of time).  I took a look at the 3DS eShop last month, and noticed the Sega Arcade 3D classics, or whatever it is that they called them. These were games that I had either already heard of like Altered Beast, and Ecco the Dolphin; or had heard of but never played like Out Run (more on that in an upcoming blog), Fantasy Zone, or Space Harrier.

I couldn’t get over the visual style of Space Harrier, or even how fast it moved. Granted this is an arcade port, and after checking out the Sega Master System and 32X ports, I have to say that the 3DS port may be the best one (I’ll try the Saturn version at some point down the road). As a game made in 1986, the speed, graphics, sound are all incredible. Which is pretty astounding given how primitive a lot of games from this era look these days. Oh, and this game is hard. Once you get past the first stage or two, the speed ramps up, and there’s so many more things on the screen.

After playing a few games, I think I’m addicted to it. I’m very curious as to how Out Run compares to Space Harrier as far as playability goes, since both of those games are usually spoken about together. If you have the opportunity to play this game, do it, and think about what Sega used to be, not what it became.


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