One out one in! A few changes to the arcade Blogger line-up in recent weeks. Someone made an offer for my Gravitar upright and after much thought I decided to move it on. As lovely a thing as Gravitar is, it is a huge beast and I found myself not playing it regularly, so figured someone else could enjoy it.
But with that, came an opportunity to replace the Gravitar with something else. Omega Race is always a game I’ve admired from afar – there is some debate about whether or not it saw a release over here in the UK. The trade press was certainly referencing it, and reading the comments below, it seems some UK arcade goers do recall playing the game. I don’t recall the game at all and played it for the first time a few years back during a trip to the USA.
Released in 1981, its a cool looking cabinet, especially in upright form – but what makes it interesting and unique, is it is the only vector title ever released by Midway. Here’s a slideshow of the sales sheet produced by Midway announcing its launch:
As you can see, it is one of a select number of arcade releases to be housed in upright, cabaret, cocktail and cockpit variants. Best described as a shoot-em-up within a racing game, Omega Race is a lot of fun to play. Here’s the marketing hype:
In the year 2003, the Omega System developed a method of training its warriors to protect their star colonies against Android forces over the city of Komar. Omega fighters raced to engage and destroy these aliens and the mines they planted. The Omega method is so successful, it commands fear and respect from all throughout the galaxies. This method id code names OMEGA RACEMidway marketing sales sheet for Omega Race
Don’t you just love 80s arcade manufacturer marketing? I love that someone’s job was to play a vector game and come up with that backstory. Set in 2003, which of course was way in the future back then, but is now 20 years ago, which blows my mind a little….
Putting that blurb to one side for a minute, this video gives a good demonstration of gameplay of the game, and a look around a cabaret cabinet. Check out the first 10 minutes or so:
So back to my situation – entirely coincidentally, an Omega Race cabaret came up for sale and I thought “why not?”. One vector out, another vector in and in small form factor.
So the deal was done and I made a drive up north to collect the cabinet:
So on the surface of things all is well. But there’s a number of things that I’d like to work on:
But its a handsome cabinet. I’m very pleased with it. Closer inspection does reveal some crumbling edges here and there. Its sporting DC Fix on the sides, and I’d like to figure out why this was done and if I can do a better job at some point and give it a better restore.
So the usual process had to take place to get it upstairs to the arcade room.
I wouldn’t mind betting this is the only Omega Race cabaret over here on these shores, and there’s probably very few in total here in Europe in total (it was actually distributed in Germany by Wulff)- so its a rare beast and I’m delighted to be able to add it to the collection!
So there you have it. Super pleased with the new cab. I’d like to get to it in the summer and give it a full strip down, clean and restore. There’s a lot to do here, but meantime its fully playable and I’m enjoying the gameplay!
It’ll be a couple of months, but I’ll be sure to document any restoration work here on the blog of course, so keep an eye out for that.
Thanks for checking in this week.
8 Comments Add yours
Here is a recent Australian arcade doco I sure you and your friends will love. Just came out. It’s excellent.
There’s nothing like the year 2003 labelled as the far future to emphasise how long ago this machine, and my misspent youth, are.
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The back door may or may not have broken, but the panel over it on the outside is factory. It’s to provide clearance for the monitor, which would interfere with a flat door. Similar to the bubble on Midway minis (and some uprights, like Gorf and Wizard of Wor) with a vertical monitor, but much smaller, since the horizontal vector doesn’t stick out as much.
I saw this in the arcade in Clevedon, Somerset in the early 80s – it was there for a while, probably years. So maybe it did get a UK release.
I played Omega Race back in the early ’80s at Leicester Forest East Services on the M1. They also had a Death Race that was never turned on and a working Mr Do’s Castle which I went there to play at nights after finishing shifts in a nearby hotel.
I remember seeing this game quite a few times as a kid. I wasn’t very good at it, but it was fun. I think this was a bit of an odd release too. Games were moving towards color monitors and controls were moving more towards joysticks. The black and white screen made it look like a 70s game when it was up against other games from that year like Defender, Galaga, etc.
Shipley’s Amusements in Stourport-on-Severn (arcade heaven back in the day) had one of these cabs at least until the late 1980s. It was amongst a row of older cabs at the back of the arcade, most of which were broken or switched off. They all disappeared when the arcade was cut in half and a bowling alley added around 1990.
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Really Enjoyed the Aussie arcade doc that Mark linked to. Thanks for that! Omega Race is great, cabarets are great, perfect match! I played the cockpit at Galloping Ghost last summer and it was amazing. Not nearly as big as I had thought it would be.
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