Droits réservés 2006-2013, Fabrice Montupet. Toute reproduction du contenu de ce site, même partielle n'est autorisée sans l'accord préalable de l'auteur.
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Why this arcade game rather than another?
The desire to relive a powerful moment. In 1983 when I was exiting the classroom, I was been told by a friend that a new arcade game had just arrived in the only video arcade room in my city, an Arcade game like no other. "I flew an X-Wing!", he said! How to resist to such news! I absolutely had to see this game. When we approached the room, my friend gave me a wonderful description of it but I was really far from imagining what I was about to see. Arriving in the room, it was impossible for us to approach the game, too many curious fans were already there. We could however hear continual exclamations which it was generating. After a several long minutes of waiting, there it was... in front of us, superb! But we had to wait (again) a few moments to take a seat in the cockpit of X-Wing: a player, already embarked, fought like a devil against TIE fighters in a three-dimensional universe, guided by Obi Wan Kenobi's voice digitized with the music of Star Wars in the background. We were literally stuck against the translucent canopy to not miss a single moment of the combat. We were impressed! My first combat was not very glorious because I was intimidated and unaccustomed to the handling of the "Yoke" but my confidence returned and my reflexes settled during the following plays. Then I played great! However, it was necessary to be lucky to be Jedi: each play was really expensive. And, I could not pilot this X-Wing as much as I wished. Now, we are in 2006 and I will get my revenge ;O)
This game was distributed in 1983 and realized by Atari under the control of the LucasFilm company. It is declined in two versions: the first, rather current (10.245 units produced) and made in a rather traditional design, is the “Upright”. The second which followed a little time after the Upright is more interesting because it's an Atari's response to the idea which came from some beta testers of the Upright: they swished to pilot in an seat, thus offering even more realism. By this reflexion was born the “Cockpit”; this version was however less distribued (2450 units). The originality of this game is in the using of vectorial and three-dimensional graphics, it plays spectacular sound effects (synthesized voices, sound effects and musics taken from the movie and delivered by powerful tops speaker located near the ears of the player and under the seat). The directional commands are unusual too: they are ensured by the “Yoke”. This device was not a real innovation at Atari, it appeared on the militarized version of the game "Battlezone" (This game, released in 1980, also used a vector monitor). Yoke has four fire buttons, all having the same function: to use the laser gun!
The Cockpit integrate a broad 25" color monitor horizontally directed (Upright is only provided by a 19"). All the two versions, "Upright" and "Cockpit" have extremely rich decorations (and superb moreover)! They are completely covered by them.
The gameplay is repetitive because it is only made up of three sequences on which the player can choose the level of difficulty in the beginning of game; I realize this even more since I do not have to provide the coiner any more to play the game! In the first sequence, the player is in approach of Black Star, he is quickly confronted with waves of hunters TIE , including the Darth Vader one. In the second sequence, the player fly over the Black Star and must destroy the guns which protect the surface of the star. In the last sequence, the X-Wing plunges in a trench to release a bomb in the air duct of Black Star. If the player succeeds, the Black Star explodes and the player plays the same three sequences in an increasing level of difficulty.
Type : Simulator
Moniteur: X-Y 25” Vector
Simultaneous players : 1
Width: 64,1 cm
Length : 83,2 cm
Height: 151,13 cm
Weight: 194 Kgg
Type: Single-seater Cockpit
Production: 2490 units
Prix: 2495 $US
March 2006. As for the arcade cabinets previously built, I am not in liaison with a person who own a Cockpit (it's a will, personal research increases the pleasure of the realization). The difficulty of the construction is increasing because I do not have any plan, even a draft; My only official information is the width, length and height of the Cockpit (obtained by the official PLV of Atari... not really a good thing, you will discover why later), some photographs taken on Internet and two three-quarter drawings (before and back) taken from the instruction manual of the Cockpit. So, the first step will be to recreate the plans according to photograph by disregarding inescapable deformation of prospect made by the lens of numeric cameras. These deformations are quite real, I could appreciate its importance by superimposing two photographs of the whose angles of sight which were almost identical: the vision of the Cockpit appeared quite different each time. I miss also some interior and external sights, I will have to realize them with feeling, by imagining the subelements which form them. I will not have the vice to seek and install a X-Y monitor and an original PCB; it's a realizable operation with some time but I do not want that the Cockpit be dedicated to this only game. I will also take some freedoms in the choice of materials like on aesthetic details such as the lower part of the original dashboard: the overlay is really ugly. So, I will reconsider it. The dashboard will be recreate, that adds even more complexity to the realization but never mind, creating this Cockpit is before all a game! This cockpit will be built without time limit to make last the pleasure :o) also, I will have to be patient because I have very few free time. As for the upright "Donkey kong Jr.", I will build the cab really "from scratch", with rough or used materials and without any original Atari parts. At the end of some reflexions about the realization of the Cockpit, I became well aware that the purchase of the necessary wood will be very expensive, definitely higher than the one used for the Donkey Kong Jr. cab (which were even already consequent!) Also, it will be necessary for me to find some tips to reduce the costs of the other elements at their maximum. For the same reasons, I will not buy professional tools and wil use the tools presents in my garage (mainly a drilling machine, a grinder, screwdriversand a jigsaw )
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