Astro Fighter

Astro Fighter

Arcade / Data East 1980


Astro Fighter is a classic arcade game developed by Data East and released in 1980. It is a fixed shooter that belongs to the early wave of space-themed video games. In Astro Fighter, players control a spaceship navigating through space while engaging in combat with waves of enemy ships. The game features challenging levels, each culminating in a boss battle. Astro Fighter’s straightforward gameplay and skill-based challenges contributed to its popularity during the golden age of arcade gaming.

Data East, a prominent player in the arcade game industry, developed Astro Fighter during a period of rapid innovation. Released in 1980, the game was part of the growing wave of space shooters that followed the success of titles like Space Invaders. Astro Fighter aimed to provide an immersive and challenging gaming experience by combining responsive controls with escalating difficulty levels. The development reflected Data East’s commitment to delivering engaging arcade experiences during this competitive era.

Astro Fighter received positive reviews for its addictive gameplay and challenging difficulty curve. Critics and players praised its fast-paced action, precise controls, and the variety introduced by boss battles at the end of each stage. While not as iconic as some other titles of its time, Astro Fighter garnered a dedicated fan base and became a notable entry in the early history of space shooters.

Astro Fighter did not have direct sequels, but its influence can be seen in other early fixed shooters. Games like “Astro Blaster” and “Galaga” share similarities in gameplay mechanics and theme. Astro Fighter’s legacy is also evident in later space shooters that expanded on the genre, emphasizing similar shooting and dodging mechanics.

Original Astro Fighter arcade cabinets are considered collectibles, and their rarity contributes to their value. The exact number of units created is not widely documented, but surviving cabinets are relatively uncommon. The value of an Astro Fighter cabinet in the collectors’ market depends on factors such as condition, originality, and demand among retro gaming enthusiasts. Well-preserved cabinets with minimal wear and tear are likely to command higher prices.

Astro Fighter arcade cabinets ran on custom hardware developed by Data East. The specifications typically include a Zilog Z80 microprocessor, specialized sound and graphics chips, and a CRT monitor. For those interested in repairing or maintaining an Astro Fighter cabinet, relevant parts may include the Z80 CPU, sound and graphics components, power supply, and input devices such as the joystick and buttons. Replacement parts can often be sourced from vintage electronics markets or specialized suppliers catering to classic arcade hardware. The modular design of many arcade cabinets facilitates repairs, and enthusiasts can find resources within dedicated communities and forums for guidance on troubleshooting and restoration.

Arcade Video Game Price and Field Guide:

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

Sega/Gremlin Upright

Lower – 650
Average – 775
Higher – 950

Sega/Gremlin Cocktail

Lower – 450
Average – 525
Higher – 650

Data East Mini (“Lowboy”)

Lower – 500
Average – 575
Higher – 725

Data East Cocktail

Lower – 450
Average – 525
Higher – 675

Commonly bootlegged or copied PCB often found under slightly different titles.

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