Space Ace (1983)

by Christopher
8 minutes read


Space Ace: A LaserDisc Odyssey Through Time and Space

Released in 1983, amidst the golden age of arcade gaming, Space Ace stands as a testament to the creative vision and technological prowess of its time. This groundbreaking title, developed by Cinematronics and Don Bluth Productions, revolutionized the arcade experience with its innovative use of laserdisc technology, delivering a cinematic adventure that captivated players worldwide.

A Space Odyssey Like No Other

Space Ace transports players to a distant future, where the evil Commander Borf, a diminutive yet megalomaniacal alien, hatches a sinister plan to conquer Earth. His nefarious scheme involves reducing all of humanity to infants, rendering them helpless against his impending invasion.

Standing in Borf’s way is Ace, a heroic space pilot with a heart of gold and a laser gun that packs quite a punch. Players take on the role of Ace, embarking on a thrilling quest to thwart Borf’s plans and save the day.

LaserDisc: The Cutting Edge of Arcade Technology

Space Ace’s most striking feature was its use of laserdisc technology. Laserdiscs, similar to DVDs but larger and using analog signals, stored vast amounts of video footage, allowing for unprecedented visual quality in an arcade game.

The laserdisc player in Space Ace contained two laserdiscs, each holding approximately 30 minutes of full-motion video. This vast storage capacity enabled the game to present a branching storyline with multiple endings, depending on the player’s choices throughout the adventure.

The laserdisc technology also allowed for stunning visuals, far surpassing the pixelated graphics of contemporary arcade games. The vibrant colors, detailed backgrounds, and fluid animation of Space Ace created a truly immersive and cinematic experience.

Gameplay: A Thrilling Mix of Action and Adventure

Space Ace combined elements of action and adventure, creating a gameplay experience that was both engaging and challenging. Players controlled Ace through a series of interactive sequences, using a joystick and buttons to navigate the environment, interact with objects, and engage in combat.

The game featured a variety of gameplay styles, including spaceship combat, on-foot exploration, and even puzzle-solving. This diversity kept players on their toes, ensuring that the adventure never grew stale.

A Legacy of Cinematic Excellence

Space Ace’s cinematic presentation was groundbreaking for its time. The game featured the voice talents of renowned actors such as Robert Culp (Ace) and Susan Sullivan (Kimberly), adding depth and personality to the characters.

The laserdisc technology allowed for seamless transitions between gameplay and cutscenes, creating a truly immersive and cinematic experience. The game’s stunning visuals and engaging storyline captivated players, many of whom would spend hours trying to unravel its secrets and achieve the best possible ending.

A Lasting Impact on Gaming

Space Ace left an indelible mark on the gaming industry. Its innovative use of laserdisc technology paved the way for future cinematic experiences in gaming, including the popular Dragon’s Lair series.

The game’s branching storyline and multiple endings also influenced the development of interactive storytelling in video games. Space Ace demonstrated that games could offer more than just linear experiences, allowing players to shape the narrative through their choices.

Preserving a Gaming Legacy

Today, Space Ace remains a beloved classic among retro gaming enthusiasts. The game has been ported to various home consoles and is available on digital distribution platforms. However, experiencing Space Ace in its original arcade form is still the best way to appreciate its groundbreaking innovation and cinematic brilliance.

Arcade cabinets of Space Ace are relatively rare, but they can occasionally be found in classic arcade collections or at retro gaming events. For those seeking a more accessible experience, the game’s laserdiscs have been released on DVD and Blu-ray, allowing players to enjoy the full cinematic adventure at home.


Space Ace (1983) is a timeless classic that stands as a testament to the golden age of arcade gaming. Its innovative use of laserdisc technology, engaging gameplay, and thrilling storyline captivated players worldwide, leaving a lasting legacy on the industry.

Whether experienced in its original arcade form or through modern ports and home video releases, Space Ace continues to enchant gamers with its cinematic splendor and timeless appeal. It is a true masterpiece of interactive entertainment that deserves its place among the greatest video games of all time.

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