Afterburner – Game the game

Afterburner is a pretty boring game


My first attempt resulted in a lame score and only Stage 3

But I’m not sure why. I mean, it has all the elements that should make it pretty awesome (and why little Forsoothed would’ve thought it was awesome): you pilot a sweet F14, your missles ‘lock on’, you get to shoot billions of enemies, it’s not impossibly hard (possibly the name of someone’s sex tape)…

I can’t believe you clicked on that link, you perv! (srsly though, it’s SFW)

Maybe it’s just an example of a game/style that’s been done better as time moves on? Or maybe the ‘fly in a straight line with no real control over where you’re going format’ just doesn’t have any staying power once you’re past the coolness of the F14?

WHO DO I WORK FOR AND WHAT I’M I ACCOMPLISHING HERE? Are we at war? Who are we? What is war?



Warning – “game studies” sentences incoming

Afterburner is probably an example of a seriously ludo-game like Tetris, no story whatsoever, but without the interesting mechanics. A ludo-game without the “fun”.

End “game studies”


Anyhoo, the good parts: all of the aforementioned cool stuff, plus you get to launch from an aircraft carrier, the ‘Sega Enterprise’. Oh Sega, you do go on. The gameplay is quite crisp and since I’m not going to have the patience to play through the boredom, I immediately wanted to find a cheat to see what the bosses (if there are bosses) would be like. Apparently there are 18 stages in Afterburner, I think I made it to 5 or 6 with some real effort.

Final thoughts, or “After” burner (oh self, you do go on)

In retrospect, this should’ve been a ‘played it for 5’ game: worth resurrecting for a quick (barrel) roll, but I’ve spent more time writing about Afterburner than actually playing it.

You let me down younger self, you let me down.

I did get better, 10X my first go-round #hardcore

I did get better, 10X my first go-round #hardcore



6 thoughts on “Afterburner – Game the game

  1. rocketbouchard

    Hmmm. Interesting… What’s the real difference between tetris and after burner? The speed (AB)? The … rigidity (Tetris)? Could it be that the difficulty (due to the fluidness of AB) and the speed increase too quickly in AB?

    1. forsoothed Post author

      Fun. Afterburner is missing the fun.

      It’s probably something to do with it being based on an uninteresting mechanic: stay in a turn and you avoid almost all death. My thesis would say that the user has almost no agency, therefore the funs are dead.

  2. OutRun 1986 by TAGGSTA

    I’m not a big afterburner fan but this game is 25 years plus old now and was an arcade game that was meant to bring in the coin to arcade owners.
    Not sure what version your playing?? The best would be the JP Saturn version to really test it out in the home.
    This game was supported by a DLX version in the arcade with a motion cockpit that was a pretty awesome experience back in the day.
    It was the first flying game to do this and was ground breaking back in the 80’s.
    It had it’s time when it was a number one experience that was FUN, you just needed a £10’000 arcade machine to play it the way it was intended.

    You didn’t mention the barrel roll to escape the missiles?
    Some old games stand up well to

    1. forsoothed Post author

      Wow, you know your Afterburner, awesome!

      You make a great point that I didn’t really address: Afterburner is 25 years old, so it’s totally unfair to really criticize this game (especially the Sega Master System version that I played).

      Though, I’m not really trying to comment on what the game was, more the difference between what I remember and my experience now. What I find really interesting is that when I was a kid I loved this game SO MUCH and now I find it super boring.

      That’s definitely not the game’s fault! I think I wanted to love this game so much, because nostalgia, that I forgot to mention that.

      I have played an arcade version with the moving cage relatively recently and it was a blast. I wonder now, though, if that’s because I never play arcade games for very long at a time?

      Did the JP Saturn version include other gameplay elements?

  3. The Otaku Judge

    I have fond memories of Afterburner as I originally played it during a vacation in Portugal. I thought the arcade machine’s moving cockpit was pretty snazzy.

Comments are closed.