10 years later, direct footage of Namco’s Star Blade Operation Blue Planet

arcadehero October 12, 2011 7

In 2001, Namco went to the Amusement Machine Show in Japan with a new prototype game to show off in a very unusual cabinet called ORBS (pictured above). The game inside – a sequel to Namco’s Star Blade called Star Blade Operation Blue Planet. This video showed the game being played at the show but was the only footage that had been floating around for some time. Namco eventually ended up shelving the game, the ORBS cabinet being awesome and quite expensive.  Now of course that has finally changed as Namco has created a UGSF website dedicated to Namco’s various space games from Galaxian on down. In the “Special” section, they have a full page dedicated to this Star Blade sequel including the first direct video footage  from the first level of the game I know of.

Judging by the video it looks like it still needed some work. Enemies don’t seem to attack that frequently and while this would have probably remained in the final version, it would have been cool to see the enemy capital ships take more damage from your shots. But the essence of the game is there as you can see and it fits perfectly into the simulator experience that arcades provide best, in this case creating the feeling like you’re a space fighter pilot.

It’s an interesting development this website – perhaps it indicates that Namco is working on something new along the lines of a space game, but it also could be nothing more than taking a look back at some of their past arcade developments. This being the 30th year since Galaga was released it makes sense to celebrate the series in some way. I think that a return to the Star Blade series would be pretty neat and welcome although I think it would work best in various cabinet forms. We’ll just have to wait and see if Namco has any plans for the series in the near future.

Via AM-Net


  1. ECM October 12, 2011 at 8:56 am - Reply

    While I was never a huge fan of Starblade (one play through, in the day, was more than enough) I’d still have liked to give this another go. Heck, I don’t see why places like Disney et al don’t create large-scale games like this wehre you have, say, 50 people at a time manning a turret and fighting off an alien invasion on an iMax-sized screen.

  2. editor October 12, 2011 at 10:00 am - Reply

    The game was a sequel to the popular ‘Galaxian 3’ series and the original StarBlade system – and the experience seems to play on many of the same styles and traits.

    As some of you will know the ORBS system is still used (in a modified form) by Namco – with the ‘Mobile Suit GunDam’ robot combat network game series.

    Its a real shame when you come across a game that never made the grade. The big releases from Namco in 2001 was the sniper game ‘Golgo13’ – the drivers ‘Ridge Racer V’ and ‘Wagan Midnight’ – shooter ‘Vampire Night’ – and the sports ‘World Kick’ (with in total 19 video show – though four of these would be dropped – including StarBlade).

  3. chaos October 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    @ECM, the reason why you don’t see these games at huge amusement parks like Disney is because their attractions are geared towards maximizing the numbers of people/riders per hour. Normally anything that doesn’t accomodate more than 1000 people per hour wouldn’t even be considered.

    • editor October 14, 2011 at 8:29 am - Reply

      In the trade we call this ‘through-put’ – and though the previous interactive attractions could not accommodate the coaster style through put the new systems such as the XD Dark Ride Theater can, and are being seriously looked at for this sector.

  4. ECM October 12, 2011 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the heads-up, chaos.

    Of course the simple solution is to ‘merely’ have it support 1000 people per session 😉

  5. Blaine October 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    It is with not enough shame that I admit, I totally painted my first server using that color scheme because I thought that machine was bad ass. My 21 year old self found that to be the height of coolness.

    It was an old IBM workstation that I had salvaged.

    The gray I had was way too dark and I used way too much orange. It was a hot nightmare.

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