Taito’s creative 1981 shmup Space Seeker joins the Arcade Archives

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Genre-blending classic returns

Today we’re going back, waaaaaay back for this week’s Arcade Archives release. Now available to download on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, it’s Taito’s very early, genre-blending shmup Space Seeker.

Released to the arcade market in 1981, and developed several years after the company’s seminal Space Invaders, Space Seeker features several experimental features and modes of gameplay, with Taito attempting to create a true space action epic. Space Seeker consists of two distinct modes: a Star Wars-inspired rail shooter, in which the player guns down enemies from the gunner seat of their vessel; and a side-scrolling shmup, which utilizes varying scroll speed, a wide palette of color, and air and ground-based enemies.

Check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber Old Classic Retro Gaming.

While Space Seeker did not quite go on to enjoy the pioneering legacy of Taito’s other arcade releases, it’s still a very interesting title — viewed as an experimental effort. With its varied gameplay, technical achievements, and even little touches such as its interactive map screen, Space Seeker was trying to be something special, adding both gameplay variety and technical advancements in the space shooter genre. Today, it is obviously quite dated — and undeniably garish — but it still retains a rep as one of the shmup genre’s strongest early efforts to rewrite the rulebook.

Space Seeker is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s and writing about them since the 1880s. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse