Night Stocker, created by Nolan Bushnell’s Sente Games, hit arcades courtesy of Bally in 1986. It was a bit of an odd bird given that it was a driving game and a shooting game combined in one. Despite the fact that the flyer claims it to be “the highest earning system game in history” I was able to find precious little info on the game in my research. But, what I did find (thanks to KLOV) I will relate thusly…
The player is given control of a tricked out, futuristic care which was driven with the use of a steering wheel controller. While driving along the planet’s surfing collecting crystals (it was the eighties after all) the player was expected to simultaneously fire a gun (also attached to the control panel next to the steering wheel) at approaching enemies. At certain distance marks, bonus rounds would occur where you would be attacked by hordes of enemies and you would try to take out as many as possible in the given time. Apparently, due to it’s rather unwieldy control system, the game was popular amongst people playing with friends where one person would drive the car while the other would take care of firing the gun. Even in the picture it looks awkward trying to man both of those controls at the same time. According to KLOV, the cabinet itself is rather scarce with only four known existing cabinets, and only three of those are dedicated machines.
I always go back and forth with flyer art. Sometimes hand drawn seems the best, while other times the photographic ones are my favourites. This one is a bizarre combination of both (much like the game itself) with a real player and cabinet combined with an obviously painted on alien. The player is sporting a very nice Tron style jump suit with matching helmet and although the alien drawing is nice, it would have been much funnier if it was a guy in a crappy suit. And what do you do if you have no budget for a guy in a suit? Why, add some coloured lights and a fog machine, of course. A fog machine makes everything better, just ask any mediocre rock band from the seventies.
Flyer courtesy the fine folks at TAFA