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After Burner competition at the 12th Annual International Classic Video Game Tournament

After Burner Climax

Afterburner fans! We are very happy to announce a special tournament for After Burner at the Annual International Video Game Tournament at the Classic Arcade Museum in Weirs Beach New Hampshire. Try your hand at either the original After Burner II arcade machine, or the recently released After Burner Climax and win big prizes. Even if you aren’t a competitor, it’s worth a look at any arcade that boasts over 500 classic machines! More details are available in the press release below, if you are in the area, be sure to drop by and check out the Classic Arcade Museum and the tournament.



Weirs Beach, NH, 5/6/2010 – The annual International Classic Videogame Tournament at The American Classic Arcade Museum is quickly approaching. 2010 marks the 12th year for this historic event. The tournament will take place from Thursday, June 3rd through Sunday, June 6th, 2010. Tournament hours are Thursday Noon-10pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-11pm and Sunday 10am-5pm. Admission is $40 and includes 200 game tokens and a commemorative color poster provided courtesy of The American Classic Arcade Museum. This year’s tournament is sponsored in part by Mix 94.1FM, The Planet 100.1, New Country 106.9 & Gamer Soda. The first 200 registrants will receive a commemorative T-shirt and goodie bag.

In an effort to maintain a fair and balanced playing field, the annual International Classic Videogame Tournament never announces the competition games until the first day of the event. We will be making an exception to this rule for the first “World Championships of After Burner” sponsored by Sega of America.


After Burner and After Burner II were classic coin-operated video games released to arcades in 1987. The games featured a simulation of aerial military dogfighting presented from a third-person perspective. For this competition, players will need to compete on the original After Burner II coin-op videogame, and the new After Burner Climax for the Xbox360.

Gary Vincent, President of The American Classic Arcade Museum, looks forward to bringing a new element to the annual competition. “We are pleased to have the backing of Sega of America for this competition. Sega has a long & rich history in the coin-op arcade world, and many Sega games are preserved in our Museum. We are anxious to present the merging of classic and modern After Burner gameplay.”

Tournament attendee David Hernly, who currently holds the world record high score on the After Burner II coin-op, was thrilled with the idea of this competition. “It’s great to see classics like After Burner revived on the modern consoles. After Burner Climax is a superb sequel that is a great game on its own, yet honors the gameplay of the original game from the past.”

“We are excited to have After Burner Climax be a part of this event and hope that everyone will enjoy this fan-favorite arcade game with others who have grown up with this franchise,” Derrek Peel, Associate Brand Manager at Sega of America.


The American Classic Arcade Museum at Funspot has been featured in numerous magazines and has appeared in several films. Many scenes from the critically acclaimed “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” were filmed inside the famous arcade as were scenes from “Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade,” a documentary by Men at Work Pictures of New York. In March of 2008, Harbor House Pictures of New Rochelle, NY filmed inside the arcade museum for six straight days for their upcoming film, “Altar of the Unnamed.”

Hailed as “The Mecca of Classic Gaming” by MSNBC, The American Classic Arcade Museum at Funspot is the first 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and displaying vintage coin-operated amusements. Located on the third floor of the immense Funspot Family Entertainment Super Center, the museum celebrates the origins of the arcade industry with popular games from the past. Asteroids, Pac-Man, Centipede and Gorgar are just a few of the nearly 300 games in the classic arcade museum. The museum also contains static displays of game history and the walls feature many posters of vintage arcade games.


The Funspot Family Entertainment Super Center is located on Route 3 in Weirs Beach, NH. The facility was founded in 1952 by Bob Lawton and has been continuously operated by him and his family ever since. The 60,000 square foot center features over 500 games, 20 bowling lanes, a miniature golf course, a 400-seat Bingo hall, a restaurant, the D.A. Long Tavern, and a state of the art indoor golf center featuring six Full-Swing Golf Simulators. In June 2008, Guinness World Records named Funspot the largest arcade in the world. Funspot and The American Classic Arcade Museum are open year-round.
More information can be found at and

Funspot – Route 3, Weirs Beach, NH (603) 366-4377


After Burner Climax: Launch Trailer and EX Mode!

Now that After Burner Climax is out for both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, hopefully a lot of you have had a chance to experience it. First though, we have an awesome “launch” trailer for the game:

YouTube Preview Image

Second, if you haven’t played the game on a console yet, it has a feature called “EX Mode”. Basically this is a set of options that adds both a ton of replayability to the game, as well as lets you customize the difficulty level. You unlock the various EX mode options through gameplay, and they include things such as toggling “autofire” for your main guns and the number of lives and continues you have available. It’s also worth noting that while simply completing the game is not terribly difficult — especially once you’ve unlocked the additional continues options — mastering the game, and achieving a superior ranking, is another proposition entirely.


After Burner Climax Takes Off On Xbox 360 and PSN!

Get ready! The wait is over, and one of the most indelible arcade experiences of the past decade is now available for download, in glorious HD: After Burner Climax has taken off, releasing today for Xbox Live Arcade and tomorrow, April 22nd, for PlayStation 3 over PlayStation Network.

After Burner Climax

Additionally, we can now announce that there’s some great extras also available with the game — including premium themes for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Additionally, the Xbox 360 version will have two exclusive gamer icons, and two avatar awards — a slick looking t-shirt with the distinctive After Burner logo, and a solid gold helmet. That last part is italicized for awesomeness — here, check out a picture, along with the other avatar award item:

ABC - Xbox 360 Avatar Award
ABC - Xbox 360 Avatar Award

I’ve already rhapsodized quite a bit about this title, but just to rehash: After Burner Climax was released in 2006 on the high-powered “Lindbergh” arcade hardware. With 20 stages and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants branching missions, this is what an arcade game is meant to be like — I keep saying, as good as the screenshots look, the game looks even better at full throttle. For me, the After Burner series has always balanced the extreme difficulty of quarter-hungry arcade-bred beasts, and the intuitive straight-ahead fun of really good air combat games.

After Burner Climax also features three flyable fighter planes, all officially licensed: Pick from the Northrop Grummand F-14D Super Tomcat, or the Boeing-manufactured F-15E Strike Eagle or F/A-18E Super Hornet. The different fighters do have different balances in-game, and that combined with the branching mission adds a hearty amount of replayability to the title.

After Burner Climax
After Burner Climax

After Burner has a feel all its own, and while the best of today’s home computers may be capable of better graphics, there is a fluid grace to how excruciatingly gorgeous this game looks in HD. It’s one of the best looking games I’ve ever played and the thrill of accelerating through a narrow canyon is something that I indelibly think of when I think of “arcade action” games. Home gaming has of course become far more popular over the years, and we’re seeing fewer and fewer real life arcades — After Burner Climax really is a slice of that old arcade experience though, and it fits perfectly on the consoles.

After Burner Climax is available for Xbox Live Arcade for 800 MS Points, or via the PlayStation store for $9.99. Additionally, check out these awesome premium themes available for both consoles. The Xbox 360 theme is available now and the PSN theme should be available in early May:

After Burner Climax - PSN Theme
After Burner Climax - Xbox 360 Theme

Lastly — my lead-in line for this blog, “Get Ready” was actually a reference to the first After Burner game I played, and the first of the series to appear on a console — After Burner, on the SEGA Master System. One of my favorite games from the era, it’s worth linking to a video of the first stage (complete with the digitized instruction to “get ready!”). Enjoy this nostalgic reminder of After Burner’s origins.

I’m very excited to see this game show up on consoles. Take the the skies and enjoy this unique and awesome arcade experience!


Four New After Burner Climax Screens

I’m happy to be able to share with you four brand new screens for the upcoming After Burner Climax. Here we get to see a few stages we haven’t had a great look at before, including the (always exhilarating) canyon stage and a mission over a refinery/factory area.

Stay tuned for more news (coming soon!) on After Burner Climax!






New After Burner: Climax Screens

There’s no question that After Burner: Climax is one of the most visually stunning arcade games ever to come along. And while it certainly has gameplay to match, we can’t share the gameplay with you until release — what we can share though, are these great new screens for the game, featuring one of my favorite environments (the one with the Northern Lights!).

Enjoy, and click on the image to get full-sized versions on Flickr!

After Burner: Climax

After Burner: Climax

After Burner: Climax

After Burner: Climax


After Burner: Black Falcon Returns to the Skies!

Get ready for some adrenaline pumping aerial arcade action with After Burner: Black Falcon, now available, once again, for purchase from the PlayStation Store.

Thank you for your support of After Burner: Black Falcon. Many of you experienced an issue with the digital copy of this game earlier this month. Well, good news! Both SEGA and Sony have worked to rectify the issues and are happy to announce that After Burner: Black Falcon is now back online and ready for download.

For those of you who had previously downloaded the game, please delete the old version from your system and re-download this new version. You will not be charged for re-downloading a purchased item.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused.

Also, I did write a blog about the game — click here to check it out!

And, last but not least, as a thank you to the great After Burner fans out there, we have an exclusive wallpaper for After Burner: Black Falcon (with more on the way!). Click the image to get to the full-sized version of the wallpaper!

AB:BF Wallpaper No. 1


After Burner: Black Falcon, Now on PSP Go

Already available on the PlayStation Portable, After Burner: Black Falcon is now available as a download for the PSP Go!

Occasionally while writing these blogs I’m fortunate enough not just to review a classic game that I’ve always liked, but to actually discover something new to me. Since I didn’t play a lot of PlayStation Portable games until recently, I got to experience a lot of these games, in particular, for the first time. I am happy to report that After Burner: Black Falcon is now among these games.

After Burner: Black Falcon

After Burner: Black Falcon takes the basic formula of the arcade versions and adds a lot of features appropriate for playing at home (or, in this case, on the go — but you get the picture). There is a ton of customization in the game and I was actually quite surprised at how deep it is. Aside from the abilities to pick your own paint job and such, there’s 19 different aircraft available to fly, all with differently balanced stats and capabilities. Those aircraft, all officially licensed models, have a huge variety of weapons to pick from. Setting up the right aircraft (balancing raw speed, maneuverability, and payload capacity) is key to doing well in missions, and what’s more, it really feels tailored to developing a play style you like — for example, if you want to go crazy with fast guns, or be more precise with a carefully selected arsenal of air-to-surface or air-to-ground missiles, and you can always modify this payload based on the mission and your objectives.

After Burner: Black Falcon

After Burner: Black Falcon

As I mentioned in my post about the upcoming After Burner Climax, the original Master System version of After Burner was a core part of my formative video game years. It is, frankly, awesome to see some concentrated After Burner love. What’s also exceptionally nice is that Black Falcon retains the truly challenging difficulty of the arcade games, but gives you a lot of different options along the way. This is, actually, a really well-balanced game — you purchase upgraded weapons and buy new planes with cash you earn during missions, and different missions have main objectives and secondary objectives that earn you more cash to spend on upgrades; the secondary objectives are based on both skill (destroying additional targets) and speed (making it through a level in a certain amount of time), meaning you really can customize the way you play the game.

After Burner: Black Falcon

The game even has a story to it, which is sort of epic and awesome in its own right. You pick from three different pilots, including the suspiciously named Billy “Sonic” Blaze (how many SEGA references are in that name? Anyone care to guess?). The plot concerns stolen prototype planes, and while no one anywhere is playing an After Burner game for its plot twists, it is actually quite cool the way the story drives the missions forward, giving context to the amazing scenery and quite spectacular-looking levels. The plot lends a kind of tongue-in-cheek kookiness to the proceedings, too — this includes the fact that the ex-girlfriend of Billy Blaze (her name, unfortunately, is not “Amy Ecco”, which by the way, would be a fabulous name for a pilot) has defected to the bad guys. “I’m sorry,” your commanding officer tells you early in the game, “but you have to face the fact that your ex-girlfriend is now working for the enemy.” Doesn’t everyone hate it when their ex steals military technology for a foreign government? Additional plot detail: In one mission you have to rescue kidnapped scientists in mid-air as they eject from enemy planes. The “scientists” whoop with glee as you scoop them up at Mach 2. Aside from being painstakingly realistic (don’t believe me? Try it yourself, in real life!), this is very, very awesome.

Also — check out this exclusive gameplay video!

YouTube Preview Image

I have always admired PlayStation Portable graphics, but even considering that, After Burner: Black Falcon feels really impressive. One of the hallmarks of the series (aside from, you know, flying planes really fast and blowing up other planes) has been the impressively designed levels, and that is definitely true of this one. The levels, aside from looking terrific, are incorporated into the game, and there is a no-denying-it visceral thrill to punching the afterburner to accelerate through a thin mountain pass while pursuing a fleeing enemy fighter at the end of a level.

After Burner: Black Falcon

Lest I forget! The game even has multiplayer capability, with a variety of eight-player competitive (!) and two player co-op (!!) modes. I’ve really loved going through the game in single-player and I’m looking forward to trying it over Wi-Fi.

Give After Burner: Black Falcon a spin if you get the chance — and stay tuned for some awesome wallpaper giveaways and video trailer for this game!


After Burner Climax Takes Off This Spring!

There are arcade games and then there are arcade games: the former of these, you can ignore row after row of, while the later hold a kind of regal place in the arcade, with attention-grabbing cabinets, lines waiting to play, and graphics and sound that draw you in from halfway across the room. With a lineage dating back to SEGA’s golden age of arcade games, the 2006 game After Burner Climax can safely be called an arcade game, the sort of game that made going to the arcade an indelible experience, even as the arcade itself has become more and more of a scarce creature.

All of this is to say, you can start getting excited, because After Burner Climax is heading to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network this Spring! In After Burner Climax you take to the skies in one of three officially licensed fighter planes (the F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, and FA-18 Hornet — all with customizable paint jobs) and do battle with hordes of enemies in a series of fast-moving stages; the player picks the course of the game on-the-fly, choosing which path to take at the end of missions, and depending on those selections and player performance the game will unfold differently.



With HD graphics this is a mind-bogglingly gorgeous game: the stages and aircraft look at once photo-realistic and stylized, with incredibly bright colors and, in particular, a stunning use of light: flying into the sun on some stages, it is almost painfully easy to be distracted by the nuanced way that light reflects off of a crisply detailed ocean. Likewise, the aurora borealis in one stage is mesmerizing, and flying through canyons has exactly the sort of exhilarating feel that a top-notch air combat game should have.

The game comes from SEGA’s AM-2 studios — the same arcade developers who crafted Out Run, Hang-On, Virtua Cop, and even the original Space Harrier. Actually, this jet-fighter game has a lot in common with games like Out Run — it isn’t just a fast-paced arcade action game, but a full immersion in beautiful settings and top-notch arcade graphics with sound & music to match; a tour of every conceivable vista in which you could do battle. Also like the recent Out Run arcade games released on Xbox Live Arcade, this is a game that may look great in stills, but the screen shots don’t really do justice to how good the game looks when playing.

I feel compelled to mention some more of After Burner’s lineage, too: even the Master System port of the original arcade game (with its tiny voice compelling you to “Get Ready!” as you rocketed off the aircraft carrier) was incredible, with amazing action and exceptional difficulty (I only beat the game a few times, which is saying something considering how often I played it). But the original arcade game itself was designed by SEGA legend Yu Suzuki, who’s creation Virtua Fighter has the distinction of being the first Japanese game ever to be housed in the Smithsonian.

Need more proof of the game’s pedigree? Among its biggest fans are Hideki Kamiya — creator of none other than Bayonetta — who lists After Burner Climax as one of his favorite games, with references to its titular (and titillating) subtitle scattered throughout Bayonetta.

Stay tuned for more on this terrific arcade game!