Power Pack Disk A: Afterburner

Disk A
Afterburner

This was Afterburner. Waiting for the disk to load while those magnificent planes filled my screen, like every male in the Western World I dreamed of flying those amazing fighter jets after watching too much Top Gun. Then, the music kicked in. Chip music it may have been but it had rock attitude, it had that Topgun feel.

I press fire and wait. The music carries on, the disk churns away and I’m ready. In truth, 9 year old me was enthralled, the speech samples adding to the excitement though in the cold light of day it’s clear they have nothing to do with anything that’s actually going on. Indeed, I’m shooting and shooting but it’s not entirely clear at what. Animation chugs along at two frames per second if I’m being generous, and while still shots look beautiful, there’s no doubt that it suffers in motion. Eventually I see some actual planes, and it all starts to make more sense (I thought the smoke coming at me meant something but instead it was planes overtaking me that I had to shoot).

The rendering speed improves noticeably after a weird refuelling sequence in space as I then take on planes in space. Or maybe at night. It looks like space though. While doing this I remember that you can do a barrel roll by going to one side, then rapidly flicking the stick away and then back to that side. Not quite sure what benefit there is to doing it but I’m sure as hell going to do it anyway.

In truth, it’s a god-awful conversion both due to its poor speed and its complete lack of correlation between aim, firing and things exploding, but it didn’t matter as a kid. It was planes doing barrel rolls and shit blowing up, and I fucking loved it.

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