Arcade Flyer Art Saturday: Buck Rogers Planet of Zoom

buckrogers.jpg Sega produced Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom for arcades in 1982. This was a perfect example of using a well known character to try and sell an otherwise boring game. The only thing branded "Buck Rogers" was the cabinet itself while the game had next to nothing to do with the hero's story besides the fact that it was set in outer space. It was controlled with an eight-way joystick and two buttons with the cabinet coming in a stand up version as well as an enclosed sit down style.

The gameplay was pretty generic and rather dull with the player piloting a space ship from a "behind the ship" perspective, avoiding obstacles and shooting down enemy ships. The ship's speed could be controlled by using the two buttons and the steering of the ship and shooting done via the joystick. Levels had you speeding through tunnels and cityscapes to reach your goal, and according to the inside of the flyer, the game even had some sort of cobbled together "plot".

In the 25th Century, buck Rogers is confronted by a wicked Warrior World... the Planet of Zoom. It is a gargantuan out-of orbit world that devastates everything in it's path, and is ruled by an evil Source Ship. Buck Rogers' mission: To destroy the Source Ship and liberate the Planet of Zoom.

Sounds intriguing, no? I always love the way that some of these early games always had a story attached to them that was rarely if ever communicated during the actual game. Come to think of it, similar things could be said about a lot of games today. Take away the cut scenes and you have very little substance.

So what do you do when your game is so boring it can't sell on gameplay alone? Make a flyer that shows people having an unreasonably good time playing it! It's all that poor guy can do to hang on to the controls he's having so much fun, and his date is so elated she's even kicking up one leg. That sort of saucy action is usually reserved for kissing so you know that must be one terrific game! Then there's the unexplainable old guy on the other side of the cabinet who seems to be happily satisfied with just watching. I'm suspecting this is supposed to be the arcade owner, filled with immeasurable glee at the prospect of all the money this game will haul in for him. Too bad he will probably be terribly disappointed later when he opens the coin box to find two quarters, a Chicklet and Canadian nickel.

Be sure to check out TAFA for the inside and back of this flyer which has some pretty decent comic style art on it.


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