Bespoke Arcades

Turbo and Galaga | Early Arcade History

Turbo (1981)

Sega’s Turbo has shown to be one of the most popular games of 1981. Furthermore, it presented a more advanced format for racing games of the time. The game introduced new weather conditions, and various environments within the gameplay.

The game was manufactured in three formats (standard upright, cabaret and seated cockpit), which all included a steering wheel, a gearshift and an accelerator. The cabinets boasted a 20-inch display and an additional LED panel to the left of the screen, displaying the player’s score along with the high score table. Also, the cockpit cabinet contained additional features such as lighted oil and temperature gauges. Creator of the game, Steve Hanawa, was reportedly hospitalised for a month after the release of Turbo, due to stress caused from the advanced system.

The ‘realistic’ game play involved the player racing a formula one style car through various environments and weather conditions. Of which include urban and rural areas, with bright or snowy surroundings. To progress into the next round, the player had to advance in front of thirty competing cars, all before the time expired. It is also notable that although the player was given unlimited lives within the first round, it was reduced to three in later stages of gameplay. Meaning that if the player collided with another car they were returned to the start line. Opponents could be unpredictable, some driving in accordance to the track and others randomly jutting out. Additionally, an ambulance would sometimes appear, overtaking the player who had to avoid it or would lose a life. The player could earn a bonus life for every round successfully completed. The game ended when all of the player’s lives had gone.

turbo gameplay retro classic arcade cabinet
Turbo Game Play | Source: Youtube

Turbo was the first full-colour raster display racing game. As well as being the first racing game to feature a third person perspective, which was of a rear view. To add to the firsts that Turbo introduced, was the title of the first third-person racing game to feature multiple landscapes, different times of the day, different weather conditions and hilly terrains within the race course.

Galaga (1981)

galaga arcade cabinet retro arcade classic
Galaga

Galaga is the sequel to Galaxian (1979), and presented itself to become much more successful than its predecessor. The basic gameplay is similar to that of Galaxian, however, Namco advanced and improved their previous game by adding modern features.

One original feature that Galaga modelled, was the fact that the player could now shoot two shots on screen at a time (rather than the previous ‘one shot on screen’ rule in Galaxian). Another being the addition of the count of hit/miss ratio that the player achieved within the gameplay.

galaga classic arcade cabinet retro gaming
Galaga Game Play | Source: Wikimedia

The developers also added a bonus ‘challenging stage’ in every few rounds. These stages included waves of enemies that fly across, and eventually off, the screen in patterns without attacking the player’s ship. Within these stages, a 10,000 point bonus is awarded if the player manages to destroy every one of the enemies. Although a player would also gain a 100 point bonus for every enemy destroyed in this round, even if not all of them are destroyed.

Another feature in the gameplay that advanced Galaxian from its predecessor, was the addition of a ‘Boss’ character to capture the player. These ‘Boss Galagan’ take two hits to kill, and sporadically attempted to capture the fighter through the use of a tractor beam. If the Boss was successful then the fighter joined the enemy formation. The player would be required to shoot and therefore destroy the captured ship.