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After Burner is a coin operated (coin-op) arcade game created and developed by Japanese video-game toasters AM2. It was chiefly designed and developed by Yu Suzuki, famous for creating Out Run in 1986, and was coincidently released by Sega in 1987 just as America’s thirst for war with Iran had returned.
After watching the deafening and largely bamboozling introduction to the game, the disorientated and confused player would pump a few coins into the coin op, grab hold of the joystick with both hands, and take control of an F14 Tomcat war plane. After another onslaught of high pitched noises and super-realistic graphics highlighting future death and apocalypse, the player would proceed to take off in their F14 (from a U.S. frigate based in the Indian ocean) with a target to shoot down as many enemy fighters as possible whilst avoiding their own destruction.
True to real warfare, the player would be surrounded by hundreds of enemy aircraft within seconds of take off. Considering the distance in which the U.S. frigate was based off shore in the Indian ocean, this suggested that the average speed of a F14 Tomcat warplane was 133,000mph, leaning towards America's superior technology under a biased light. Some nincompoops incorrectly considered it propaganda, and for clarity, the United States Air Force later confirmed that the average speed of a Tomcat was 102,000mph. Soon after, the USAF released images (taken with a special satellite trioplatron) of Iran's air force capabilities highlighting that AM2s suggestion, that Iran's national airforce contained over 180,000 aeroplanes, was justified.
edit Known side effects
edit Post-traumatic stress disorder
Foolishly improving Sega's now legendary SKAGBAG graphics system, the new SKAGBAG worked against Sega's interests after is inadvertently caused some "minor psychological discrepancies" within the gaming community. It became apparent that the shocking visuals of After Burner were so realistic that many gamers developed Post-traumatic Stress Disorder soon after game play. It was said that the near-constant on-screen destruction of Iranians in their flimsy aeroplanes psychologically damaged many gamers, in particular the younger ones who weren't mature enough, nor mentally equipped enough, to cope with such horrifying images. OR-86 was distributed by Sega as a gesture of goodwill, but had little impact.
edit Repetitive stress disorder
Many individuals who played the game would go on to claim to be suffering from Repetitive Stress Disorder due to the limited functionality of the joystick and only having one button to press repeatedly. This in turn lead to the condition PPT (piss-plum-thumb) whereby after hours of smashing their joystick the victim's thumb would swell to the size of a plum making it impossible for them to unzip their fly-hole, leading to the pissing of ones trousers.
edit Coin-op models
Like its holy predecessor Out Run, Sega produced three different coin op models for After Burner including a model which aimed to simulate real g-force giving the player a more authentic experience. All three were shipped around the world but were banned in the middle east due to the controversy of the subject matter.
edit After Burner Jamma Cabinet (ABJC87)
The cheapest and most common of the After Burner coin op models was a mere shilling per play (UK only). Reports of Joy-Stick malfunction were common unfortunately for Sega, and due to the unusual construction of the machine, were rarely fixed leaving the unsuspecting gamer to slip in his shilling only to then find out that the controls were goosed.
edit After Burner Big-Cock-Pit (ABBCP87)
The ABBCK was the most popular model found in the arcades of Europe and the U.S. Unlike the Mega Spinner, this model was considerably cheaper to produce and as a result was more widely available.
edit After Burner Mega Spinner (ABMS87)
Sega's flagship model (costing $304,000 each) was a huge hit in the arcades across the world, although a rare. Costing a mere 17 shillings per play (UK only), the gamer could be treated to full barrage of horrific images and racket on a huge 17 inch television with dual mono speaker sound. Many gamers enjoyed having hold of a very long, thick, black joystick and thoroughly relished being spun around in the machine as it emulated the gamers flying skills. Reports of players being flung from the machine as it spun upside down were rare, although in 1989 The Mirror reported an incident in a London arcade where a ABMS87 tragically stole the life from two little children after it created 16gs of gravitational force. Their little soft skulls were crushed by the invisible force killing them instantly.
edit Home conversions
Due to the improvement to the SKAGBAG system, many home conversions couldn't be made as technology in the home was still at a very basic level. Despite this, Sega decided to recreate the game using the old SKAGBAG system and managed to produce a few successful ports.
- Mega Drive/Genesis (1989) – Ported by Sega. Good conversion although greys were darker, explosions overly pixelated and the F14 took off from a disused cricket pitch instead of a U.S frigate.
- Amiga (1989) – Ported by Sega. Abomination of a port. Audio degraded to unspeakable levels of horridness. F14 replaced with bratwurst. Bratwurst frequently 'lands' into trees and explodes.
- PC DOS (1989) – Ported by Sega. Good conversion. Music missing and replaced with faint hissing. Raining peas on 'Nobble' stage. Invisible Elephants found swimming in Indian ocean on 'Querp' stage.
- Sega Saturn and Nintendo Duke (1989) – Ported by Sega. Perfect conversion except the F14 was replaced with a Darkmoor Thundercopter.
After Burner was well received when it hit the arcades in 1987, scoring an 88% score in the March edition of Arcade User magazine, and 8/10 in June's edition of Finger The Slot Magazine (FTSM). Despite causing Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Sega's new improvements to their SKAGBAG system was praised for "pushing the boundaries of what a coin op can offer". The use of excellent mono speakers was also noted and praised. Top Iranian gaming magazine Mohammed Gamesmaster surprisingly gave positive reviews claiming that it was an: "accurate representation of the current conflict between the two holy Islamic republics of Iran and the U.S.A."