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Shaggy the Atarian

The Spectre Files: Deathstalker (Arcade)

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Back in 1984/85, Brian F. Colin was working at Midway. He had already done work on games like Discs of Tron, but with the arrival of the laserdisc arcade machine, he had an idea to put his knowledge of film making to good use. Converting a text adventure game into an FMV one, he spent months on creating a Choose-Your-Own Adventure game by the name of The Spectre Files. This included doing most of the filming in Chicago during one of the coldest Winters on record for the city (and in a building that had electricity, but no heat).

 

When the game was practically complete, Midway saw how the bottom had fallen out of the laserdisc market and canned Brian's project. He recovered quickly by designing Rampage, which you all know became a smash hit, but the Spectre Files footage and materials got stuffed away into storage.

 

Fast forward 30~ years and with all of the remakes and remasters that have been done to games and film, plus a revival of the arcade spirit, Brian remembered the project and began working with Galloping Ghost Productions to resurrect the game and give it a new chance at life. Digitizing the film and finishing the game took a few years, but earlier this year, Galloping Ghost began shipping cabinets to interested buyers, the first unit being located at the Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, IL. 

 

The cabinet was patterned after NFL Football, under the assumption that had it not been cancelled, Midway would have reused the same cab design. I'm not sure how many others have picked up the game, but I got my hands on #4 of 10 LE earlier this year (GGP said they would make up to 50 units; I just haven't heard of any additional sales on this since I got mine). It also doesn't use a laserdisc player (thankfully), but runs on a modern computer and looks really good in action. 

 

Here's some direct capture footage of the game in action that I recorded last week. It's unlike anything else in the business, although I do wonder if it really would have passed location testing, as once you replay it a few times, you can end up playing for a half hour like I did. Still, it all fits for October:

 

 

One other note: The woman seen in the screencap is Sharon Perry, an animator at Midway who is credited with coming up with the bow for Ms. Pac-Man, and worked on many of Midway's titles in the 80s. Brian also starred in this as the hippie, the elevator zombie, the Flying Friar, and some other characters. Here's a bonus video I made of it earlier in the year to see additional footage, in case anyone can't get enough.

Edited by Shaggy the Atarian
added "Arcade" to the title
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Thanks for the post. I have a strange love for these types of games and I definitely have to look into this one.

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Very cool!  I'd heard that they were doing a run of cabs for this, but this is the first one I've seen.  This game has been one I've been very interested in seeing running - partly because I'm a fan of laserdisc games, but also because it was so close to being released.

 

Just curious: can you get some footage of the music video?  I'll admit that I do like the intro music; it's got just the right '80s low-budget horror-flick vibe to it that suits the game well.

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