Astro Blaster

Astro Blaster

Arcade / Sega 1981


Astro Blaster is a classic arcade space shooter developed and released by Sega in 1981. Known for its engaging gameplay and innovative features, the game quickly gained popularity in arcades around the world. Players control a space ship tasked with defending Earth from waves of alien invaders through various space-themed levels. The game features unique mechanics, such as fuel management and a speech synthesis system, which added an extra layer of strategy to the gameplay.

Astro Blaster emerged during the golden age of arcade gaming and was developed by Sega, a prominent player in the arcade industry. Released in 1981, the game was designed by Gary Shannon and programmed by Dave Theurer. The development team drew inspiration from the success of earlier space shooters but aimed to distinguish Astro Blaster with its unique features, including the introduction of speech synthesis, a novel addition to arcade games at the time.

Upon its release, Astro Blaster received positive reviews for its challenging gameplay and innovative elements. Players appreciated the speech synthesis system that provided real-time feedback and warnings. The game’s difficulty and strategic depth contributed to its success, solidifying its status as a classic in the arcade gaming community.

Astro Blaster was released in an upright arcade cabinet and later adapted into cocktail-style cabinets for a different gaming experience. The success of Astro Blaster inspired several sequels and spiritual successors, with Sega continuing to explore the space shooter genre in subsequent releases, such as Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom and Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator.

While exact production numbers are challenging to pinpoint, Astro Blaster is considered a relatively rare arcade cabinet. Its scarcity contributes to its value among collectors. As of 2023, a well-maintained Astro Blaster cabinet in good condition may fetch a significant price on the collector’s market, with estimates varying based on factors such as cabinet condition, originality, and location.

Astro Blaster runs on Sega’s Z80-based hardware. The game’s hardware specifications include a color raster display, a joystick for controls, and a unique speech synthesis system powered by a dedicated chip. For those interested in repairing or maintaining Astro Blaster cabinets, a list of relevant parts includes the Z80 processor, sound chips, joystick controllers, and the speech synthesis board. As with any vintage arcade machine, finding replacement parts may require sourcing from specialized suppliers or enthusiasts familiar with classic arcade hardware.

Arcade Video Game Price and Field Guide:

Astro Blaster:
Dedicated Upright, Mini, Cocktail
Genre: Space Shooter


Lower – 700
Average – 1100
Higher – 1650


Lower – 725
Average – 1200
Higher – 1750


Lower – 650
Average – 775
Higher – 900

Different variations of game PCBs and upright cabinet artwork are known to exist.

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