Indie Shmup Star Hunter Now Testing at The Heart of Gaming UK
Few things in this world get me as giddy as a new, independently manufactured arcade game. From Skycurser to Black Emperor—and everything in between—I’ve been following the “little guys” for a long time now. As you can imagine, I’m very eager to share a new development that isn’t destined for arcades but is fueled by that same coin-op spirit.
In a May 19th tweet, independent developer 1CC games announced that UK-based retro arcade The Heart of Gaming was hosting an exclusive location test for 1CC’s upcoming shoot-em-up Star Hunter. The PC release, the tweet stated, was scheduled for this summer, but the loctest served as a special preview for players.
When asked if the title would be released as an arcade kit (by fellow coin-op news site Arcade Belgium), 1CC explained that, for the time being, “finishing the PC version of Star Hunter is our main focus, but we're also looking into releases for other platforms. We'll make an announcement when we know which of those will be possible! The location test version is exclusive to @TheHOGuk though.”
This, naturally, means the Star Hunter arcade cabinet primarily serves as a promotional piece and extended play test. But having fought for smaller indie titles to receive full coin-op releases in the past (including JPO in SLC and When It Hits the Fan), I couldn’t help but see the potential here.
For many of us, shoot-em-ups have always been a natural fit for arcades. We enjoy playing with robust eight-way joysticks and colorful push-buttons, all while trying to get substantial play time on each credit. Considering how interesting Star Hunter looks in its own right, I’d say the title is deserving of some arcade enhancement.
I fully understand that coin-op development is incredibly expensive—and a little risky. However, if you’ll remember, even Cosmotrons was once planned to release only on home platforms. All it took was intense fan demand to prove that, yeah, people really did want an arcade version.
Of course, I shouldn’t get my hopes too terribly high. In response to my desire for a dedicated cabinet, 1CC games explained that “a dedicated cabinet release is unlikely to happen,” which was to be expected.
That doesn’t entirely rule anything out—including the possibility of a cheap upgrade kit to install in empty genericabs later down the line—but it might as well. And you know what? I totally get 1CC’s response. A dedicated cabinet would be a monumental undertaking for a style of game that doesn’t earn in arcades the same way it used to.
In the meantime, though, we have the PC release to look forward to and the ever-awesome Heart of Gaming location test. Hopefully, this isn’t the last time I mention Star Hunter here on my blog. (As always, I’d really like to dive in to more home games on Wilcox Arcade, but it’s all a matter of how much time I have to spare.)
What are your thoughts on Star Hunter? Do you plan to pick it up on PC? Would you be interested in an arcade release? I’ve got all these questions but just one call-to-action: Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Also, keep it real. Not sure if that counts as a call-to-action.