Zaxxon - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Zaxxon (1982)

No doubt about it, friends. Zaxxon, the isometric Sega space shooter from 1982 is a classic. As well as being an incredibly challenging arcade title. Furthermore it was the first arcade game to use axonmetric projection. Which is of course how Zaxxon got it’s name and helped it stand out in arcades!
Zaxxon - Arkadia Retrocade

Christopher Tupa has done a remarkable job of selecting games for his Retro Arcade Art project. Twenty-eight pieces of retro inspired art that focused on a classic arcade title. Many of them were quite unknown to me until I saw his work. It has been my pleasure to present the basics of the game to showcase his artwork for the last 28 weeks. Zaxxon happens to mark the last offering in CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art, however he certainly chose an important game to finish on.

Very much like Crystal Castles and even Q*bert, the isometric viewpoint takes some getting used to. In fact with it being the first arcade title to use it, it adds to the difficulty of the game by quite a bit. Players must attempt to pilot a spaceship through an enemy fortress, dodging many defenses and finally facing off against an evil robot, naturally named Zaxxon!
Zaxxon - Zaxxon Robot

Like many of the classic arcade games, that is easier said than done. Especially when you take into account the need to slip over and under electrical barriers. Thankfully the Player does have an altitude meter on the left hand side of the screen.
Zaxxon - Altitude Meter

Although for myself, I certainly used the shadow under the spaceship and where my shots were hitting to judge if it was safe to pass under a barrier or opening in the fortress wall.
Zaxxon - Spaceship Shadow

In Zaxxon when assaulting the space fortress, a Player will need to avoid a multitude of threats. Missiles launching from the fortress floor. Turrets firing towards your spaceship, stationary objects too, like radar dishes, fuel dumps and grounded spaceships. Obviously if you come in contact with any of these, you are treated to a fiery explosion and lose a life. Add to the mix that you must keep an eye on your fuel gauge and you can see why this game can be very tough.

Of course you can fill up your fuel meter by picking off those red fuel depots. Actually, I have always thought the hardest part of the game is after you clear a fortress. Because that is when you take on an opposing fleet of spaceships. I have a very hard time actually landing a shot on the enemy without getting hit myself. While crosshairs will appear when you have an enemy within your sights, I suppose I’m just not quick enough and get picked off.
Zaxxon - Enemy Planes

After making it through both the heavily armed fortress defenses and attacking fleet. Players will arrive at the headquarters of the villainous Zaxxon robot. Which is basically just another space fortress but at the end of that…awaits that deadly robot. Six direct hits upon the evil automaton’s missile is needed to defeat your foe.
Zaxxon - Zaxxon Robot Hit

Ready to see Zaxxon as well as Super Zaxxon in action?

[Via] Old Classic Retro Gaming

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

I hope you won’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project as well!

Furthermore, I would like to remind you that I have covered Zaxxon in the Diary of an Arcade Employee podcast as well.


Flicky - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Flicky (1984)

For this week’s Retro Arcade Art project, Christopher Tupa, has chosen another favorite of mine. Sega’s Flicky, which was originally released to the arcades in 1984. However if I am being honest, I in fact didn’t know anything about the game until we managed to get the cabinet for the arcade. This was a couple of years back now and one thing is for sure. Flicky has one of the cutest cast of characters you have ever seen.

While Flicky was developed by Sega it was released in the states by Bally/Midway. The game is a side-scroller in addition to being a platformer. Think Super Mario Bros. or even 1980’s Space Panic. The goal of Flicky is heartwarming as it is simple. Players guide the titular hero around the stage to pick up her lost chicks, which are called PioPios or chirps.

Furthermore, the PioPios that the Player comes in contact with will trail behind their Mother in a row. The end goal being to get all those little chirps to the exit on the level.
Flicky - PioPio Chain

This is easier said than done of course, as you must also be wary of the cats on the prowl. If they manage to snag a PioPio as you are racing around the level, the chirp will be left behind. Not eaten I thankfully need to add, but you will have to attempt to pick the chick back up. Which can easily result in a loss of your life as the cats are trying to leap up and take Flicky out.

Our protagonist does indeed have a way to defend herself. That is thanks to the many items scattered about the stages. Telephones, coffee cups, flower pots as well as bottles. You pick up these items like you do with the PioPios. Just come in contact with them, however when you jump you will toss them in front of you. When an object hits a prowling cat they will be knocked end over end, hopefully buying Flicky enough time to reach the exit before the cat returns!
Flicky - Cat Knocked Over

Besides the constant menace of the cats. The Player will have to be careful of the green iguanas to boot. This threat can also be dispatched with a thrown object. It can become a bit much to say the least. Attempting to keep those chirps together so you get a better score while avoiding the enemies.
Flicky - Iguana

There are bonus rounds in the game, I think that are designed to show you how rotten the cats are. Flicky is given a net and must attempt to catch the chirps that have been catapulted into the air!
Flicky - Bonus Round

Enough of the basics of Flicky, ready to see the game in action?

[Via] Dangorou Nishida

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

I hope you won’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project as well!

Qbert's Qubes - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Q*bert’s Qubes (1983)

Friends, I know you know that wonderful video game icon Q*bert. Do you happen to know of the sequel to the hit 1982 arcade game though? That is certainly why Christoper Tupa has selected Q*bert’s Qubes for this week’s Retro Arcade Art project. While including some of the same elements from the 1982 title. 1983’s Q*bert’s Qubes brings a whole new level of gameplay!
Q*bert's Qubes - Marquee

Released by Mylstar in 1983, the company was previously known as Gottlieb, it in fact was inspired by the Rubik’s Cube. It has been said that Warren Davis, the designer of the original Q*bert , had proposed a sequel to Gottlieb. Of interest is that the sequel in fact went through more than a couple of name changes during development. The team suggested everything from a simple Q*bert 2 to 2*bert and even Qubes. Before they group decided that Q*bert’s Qubes was the way to go.

While the Rubik’s Cube definitely inspired the game. It’s gameplay totally features elements of tic-tac-toe. The player must help Q*bert match the target cube which is displayed in the top right corner of the screen. Each time our orange-colored hero hops in a desired direction, the cube beneath his oversized feet will rotate. If the rotation results in the cube matching the target colors it will turn green.
Q*bert's Qubes - Target Color

However, just like in the original game, Q*bert will have to be wary of foes as he is hopping around the 25 cube formation. Gone are the likes of Coily as well as Ugg and Wrongway. Now the Player must contend with the likes of Rat-A-Tat-Tat. Thankfully in Q*bert’s Qubes if one of these pests lands on a cube that is rotating they will fall to their demise.
Q*bert's Qubes - Rat A Tat Tat

There are also the Meltniks who appear in the game in a variety of colors. Along with a holdover from the first game, the purple ball. Each of these foes will happily hop down the stack of cubes to the bottom. Of course if they make contact with Q*bert the Player will lose one of their lives.
Q*bert's Qubes - Purple Ball

Now I should mention that the colors of the Meltniks are important. Because it actually involves the way a Player is able to defeat them. In Q*bert’s Qubes when the Meltniks land on a cube, whose color matches their own, they dissolve!
Q*bert's Qubes - melting

Beyond that, there are now green turtles that can show up in a stage. These are for bonus points and it is quite safe for Q*bert to crush them under his feet. Which is just a horrible, horrible thing to do, right?
Q*bert's Qubes - Turtle

Furthermore, while getting a tic-tac-toe in the early stages isn’t too difficult. That all goes out the window in later stages when you have to line up two or more to clear a level!
Q*bert's Qubes - tic tac toe

Ready to see Q*Bert’s Qubes in action?

[Via] Old Classic Retro Gaming

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

I hope you won’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project as well!

Life Force - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Life Force (1986)

Christopher Tupa has certainly chosen a classic title for this Retro Arcade Art offering. Although in this case Life Force was not a game I played in the arcade. Indeed I hadn’t even heard of it until it was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. While that may be so, Life Force is a shining example of the multi-scrolling shooter genre!

Right off the bat we have an interesting fact for you. When the game was originally released it was known as Salamander. In fact it was considered to be a spin-off of the popular arcade game Gradius. When released in the United States it gained the Life Force moniker. Later the re-release in the arcades of Japan took the new name as well as in Europe, where the game was known as Life Force: Salamander!

Image courtesy of the Arcade Flyer Archive.

In the game, Players take control of the Vic Viper. A legendary series of ‘space ships’ that Konami has used in numerous games. Everything from Super Bomberman R to Yu-Gi-Oh! as a matter of fact. In Life Force a second player is able to take control of a ship known as Lord British.

Of course you might be asking yourself where the action takes place? In the North American version, Konami added a bit of text at the beginning of the game. Explaining that the Player was entering a giant bio-mechanical being, known as the Sentinel XR1. Radiation has caused a tumor to grow and activate the XR1’s antibiotics, which will see you as an enemy. With the added mandate that you must you must save the life force of the being at all costs!
Life Force - Sentinel XR1 Text

So basically the Player is thrust into an incredibly hostile version of 1966’s Fantastic Voyage. Not only must you contend with flying enemies, exploding obstacles, and enemy fire. But the landscape itself will attempt to thwart you, expanding or altering it’s shape. If a Player isn’t on their toes they might find themselves slamming into a wall that wasn’t there before.
Life Force - Body Defenses

Did I also mention that Life Force is both a horizontal as well as vertical shooter? Every other stage, of which there are six, changes to a vertical view. The gameplay then of course becomes something similar to Capcom’s 1942!
Life Force - Vertical

Now there is a lot against you in the game and you will certainly be hard pressed to keep up. Thankfully the Vic Viper has some pretty impressive weaponry to say the least. Much like Gradius, Players are able to pick up a variety of weapons and upgrades.
Life Force - Vic Viper - Weapon Selection

Now that you know the basics of Life Force, why not watch a full longplay?

[Via] World of Longplays

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

I hope you won’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project as well!

Did you know there was also an OVA for Life Force/Salamander?


There certainly was and it was released on VHS and Laserdisc between 1988 and 1989. Three episodes in fact, although these aren’t considered canon. It’s still fun however and has many elements from the arcade game in the series.

[Via] Alex Hoch