Pop-up book to revive Sega's arcade glory days
A new book hopes to revive some classic Sega arcade cabinets of yesteryear as pop-up paper sculptures. The project, titled Sega Arcade: Pop-Up History will feature some of the early 80s classics of game designer Yu Suzuki during his time at Sega's legendary AM2 division, specifically Hang-On, Space Harrier, Out Run, Thunder Blade and After Burner. The book is currently a quarter of the way towards its £40,000 (US$53,000) Kickstarter goal.
The project is the work of videogame history publisher Read-Only Memory, in collaboration with games writer Keith Stuart, paper engineer Helen Friel and illustrator Kam Tang. Read-Only Memory's Darren Wall says the project has been developed in full collaboration with Sega, so there shouldn't be any legal unpleasantness ahead of delivery, estimated for April 2019.
Alongside the sculptures, the book will feature schematics, game artwork and written histories. Pledges on Kickstarter start at £35 ($46) for a limited-edition version with a silver foil case and embossed cover (which, it has to be said, looks beautiful).
Motorbike racer Hang-On, from 1985, was one of the first 16-bit arcades, and saw the player literally mount the motorcycle-shaped cabinet which had a screen built into the dashboard. The player had to lean into turns, hence the games title.
Space Harrier, also from 1985, was a pioneer of the on-rails shooter genre, featuring a jet-propelled man fighting off hordes of mythical and prehistoric beasties and bosses. Despite this, the game featured a sit-in cabinet, perhaps betraying its roots as a jet fighter game.
Out Run, from 1986, is perhaps the most famous game in the book. It was a driving game complete with race-car cabinet in which the player races a Ferrari Testarossa Spider through a branching network of European roads.
Suzuki turned to helicopters for 1987's Thunder Blade. Its cabinet featured force-feedback, with the helicopter's flight stick vibrating in sync with the in-game action.
After Burner, also from 1987, completes the lineup. This jet combat sim's enclosed cabinet variant is the one featured in the book. This featured a rotating seat and cabinet as well as ear-level stereo speakers.
This is the publisher's first pop-up effort. If successful, the book is surely ripe for a sequel featuring some games from AM2's early 3D era in the 1990s, such as Virtua Fighter, Virtua Cop and Daytona USA.
The project video's below.