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Coin-Op : Arcade : Dark Invader (1978, Ramtek)

General Information


Dark Invader is a first person shooter, using a laser and mechanical "pop-up" alien space ship 'targets.' Not quite a video arcade game, but it fits best under the arcade game category.

Coin-Op Details

Description from Bill Heine, the designer of Dark Invader (how cool is that?):

In 1977-78 (was it THAT long ago??) I worked in R&D, Games Division at Ramtek, and was the designer of the "Dark Invader" arcade game. At that time, Ramtek was looking for an alternative to the video arcade game because of the intensive competition, and the blatant copying of successful game ROMs. The answer seemed to be a return to the old mechanical arcade games with a microprocessor twist.

Dark Invader is a first person shooter, using a laser and mechanical "pop-up" alien space ship 'targets'.

'Dark Invader' uses a 5mw helium-neon gas laser (mfg. by Metrologic) and a spinning a front surface mirror (mounted on the gun) to create the laser beam 'scanning' effect. The alien space ships are actually heavy gage wires, bent into interesting shapes, and painted in fluorescent colors. The wires are spun under UV lamps, and the ships swirl and pulsate because of the stroboscopic effect. Very cool.

To achieve the look of 'deep space', the player looks through a viewing port at a partially front-surfaced mirror, down into the body of the cabinet. A lot of forced perspective is used in the targeting matrix grid, and the targets.

Because of the viewing port, only the player can see the action. When we tested the prototype at the Santa Cruz (California) Beach Boardwalk Arcade, kids would all be stacked up trying to grab a peek through the port, at what was going on. Part of the fascination of the game.

The rest of the game is programmed just like a standard video game (the same Ramtek (Zilog Z80) board used in 'M79 Ambush' and other Ramtek games), including attract mode, scoring, lighting and sound effects for laser fire, explosions, etc., provided by a TI Sound Effects chip (forgot the number).

Weights and Measurements:

Type Height Width Depth Weight   Notes
Upright: 62" 32" 46" 250 lbs.   (crated weight)

Disclaimer: These are approximate weights and measurements taken from actual games or the manufacturer's literature. Occasionally games vary.

Technical Information

This game does not have any technical information.

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