Happy 30th Birthday to Sega’s After Burner. According to the artwork on the side of the cockpit today July 2nd 2017 marks 30 years of After Burner. After Burner is one of Sega’s most famous arcade titles, it has also had many console versions including a recent 3D adaptation that is available on the Nintendo 3DS. I drew the above image myself in honor of the 30th birthday of After Burner.
As many of you already know from reading my articles After Burner is one of my favorite arcade games of all time. I have a great memory of playing After Burner for the first time when I was a young child at a Major Magic’s arcade in Amherst, NY and being very shocked that the cabinet moved instead of just being a standard sit down cabinet. Needless to say the moving cabinet left quite an impression on me and I remembered the game from then on as something very special. Major Magic’s was a Chuck E Cheese type arcade and party place for kids that featured an anamatronic show and lots of arcade games, kiddie rides and play things for kids. Major Magic’s had lots of locations in Michigan, New York and Ohio I believe. I don’t know where this video was taken but this a video from a Major Magic’s from 1988 and you can see an After Burner in it around the 6.00 minute mark of the video. Since this video was taken in 1988 the game must have been pretty new at the time this video was taken. I believe every single Major Magic’s location had an After Burner cockpit so I am sure lots of people remembered playing this game as a kid at Major Magic’s.
Its featured as After Burner II in the arcade, from what I understand the original After Burner was only available in Japan for a short time and the designers were not satisfied with the game, so by the time the game reached the USA and other countries they added a throttle to the game (the original After Burner did not have a throttle) and increased the stages from 18 stages to 21 stages. Its more of an upgrade to the original After Burner than it is a sequel. To find an original After Burner arcade cabinet would be quite a find, I have never seen one and I believe they were only released in Japan.
In addition to being released in a standard upright cabinet and the large cockpit which is often called the Double Cradle cockpit, this smaller cockpit type After Burner, called the Commander cabinet, is another version of a sit down After Burner. This cabinet again from what I understand was only released in Japan and perhaps the United Kingdom and maybe another country or 2 but was not officially released in the USA. If one was seen in the USA it was most likely an import. This style of cabinet only moves left to right and doesn’t have the up-down rolling motion of the larger cockpit. It runs After Burner II just like the larger cockpit.
Lets feature some of the arcade locations around the world where you can still play an original After Burner arcade machine, all locations here featured here are open to the public. The staff at arcade heroes cannot possibly know of every single After Burner arcade game that is playable in the public so if anyone knows any more locations where there is an After Burner either cockpit or upright available for public play please list them in the comments on this post (there has to be more than just these locations that are listed here!).
The Skylon Tower Family Fun Center or Skyquest Arcade (at the lower level or basement of the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada)
This is the After Burner that I play all the time and its in great shape albeit its a little squeaky but that is to be expected for a 30 year old machine. The monitor is sharp and the sound is loud and overall the machine is in great condition. This location has been operating an After Burner cockpit (at one point in time, more than one) since it came out in 1987, that’s 30 years of operating the same machine on location! This is a very impressive thing. Barring any time that the machine or machines have been down for repair there has been an After Burner out in the public at this location since the game’s release.
This is my favorite picture of the After Burner at the Skylon Tower.
Here is a video of me playing the After Burner at the Skylon Tower.
Castle Fun Park (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada)
Another location in Canada where you can play an After Burner cockpit is at Castle Fun Park in British Columbia. This one uses a LCD screen to replace the original monitor.
The Galloping Ghost Arcade (Brookfield, IL) USA
If you live near or are visiting The Galloping Ghost Arcade that is located near Chicago, IL then you will be able to play an After Burner cockpit. This machine was recently added to the Galloping Ghost’s collection that now boasts over 600 machines so there is plenty of good reasons to visit this very impressive arcade.
Funspot (Laconia, NH) USA
There is an After Burner cockpit located at Funspot at the Funspot Family Fun Center or American Classic Arcade Museum. The Fun Center and Museum has more than 400 games so again, there are plenty of reasons to visit this great location. Thanks to Funspot for sending in these nice photos of the After Burner so quickly.
Game Over Arcade, Bar and Grill (Lincoln City, Oregon) USA
Game Over Arcade in Oregon is a classic arcade that has an After Burner Cockpit. This arcade features over 100 modern and classic arcade, so again plenty of reasons to visit this great arcade.They also have an impressive bar and grill area with many large TV’s for watching sports and a great menu! This arcade is a bar but children are allowed until 1opm at night.
Playport (Erie, PA) USA
Playport in Erie, PA has a standard Upright After Burner available for play. This arcade runs on an admission fee per person then the games are all free to play so you can play as much as you want as long as you pay the admission fee. A great way to experience the game to its full potential without dropping a lot of quarters into it.
Iwasaki Hotels in Ibusuki (Japan)
I received a report from Japan that there is an After Burner cockpit at Iwasaki Hotels Ibusuki. The motion apparently does not work on this one, but you can still play it. This is the only playable After Burner cockpit I know of in all of Japan. There is one other one at another location (Huisten Bosch), but it is only on display and you cannot play it.
Here is a direct link in case you are in the area.
Other locations where you may be able to find an After Burner cabinet of some type available for play are Arcade Club in Bury, United Kingdom, Crabtowne USA in Glen Burnie, MD, Arcade Legacy in Forest Park Ohio, The Game Preserve in Spring, TX, Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade in Portland, Oregon and Kennywood Amusement Park in West Mifflin, PA. There is also an After Burner in the collection at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, NY but they may not always have it on the museum floor available for play.
You can also look for more locations where you can play After Burner at:
As always its good to call a location before you travel a long distance to play a machine to verify that the machine is operational and available for play. Be mindful that while these are great sites to find game location information a lot of these listings are outdated and have not been updated in a while. These websites rely on user input to come up with a list of games that each location has, so contribute if you are able to!
There was an arcade sequel released called After Burner Climax which was released in 2006 and featured 3 very impressive cabinet types as well however I do not know of any locations where this game can still be played, while the cabinets were very impressive this game was very rare and not too many locations at least in the USA had one. It was often seen at the Chuck E Cheese chain of arcades and around some Disney arcades (in the USA) however I believe most of the Chuck E Cheese arcades have already gotten rid of it and I do not know of any that still have the machine on location. You can also try to find this game at a Sega owned Gameworks arcade if you happen to live near Gameworks or are visiting an area that has one. You can also use the above sites to try to find this game at an arcade near you. This game was also available on Xbox Live on the Xbox 360 as a digital download however the game has been delisted from the XBox live store which means you cannot buy it anymore, so if you have this game downloaded to your Xbox 360 its a good idea to hang onto it!
Finally how can we forget the famous scene in Terminator 2 where John Connor plays an After Burner cockpit in the arcade? The game is famous!