|Nintendo SF-Hisplitter (1979)|
This one is for the Nintendo arcade game SF-Hisplitter (SF-ハイスプリッター).
SF-Hisplitter dates from 1979. This was a prolific year in Nintendo's arcade history. Check out this previous post on Monkey Magic for more games from around this time.
The game is advertised with the phrase '分裂型', which means something along the lines of 'the splitting type'. And that is what it game is all about: splitting aliens.
The 'SF' in SF-Hisplitter is short for Space Fever. This refers to Nintendo's earlier game by that name, of which this game is a variation. As you can see in the picture below, SF-Hisplitter runs on the Space Fever cabinets, using the same controls.
Nintendo Space Fever was a Space Invaders clone. It was so close to the original that it did not stand out in any way, and thus had difficulty competing.
Nintendo tried to distinguish itself more with two subsequent updates to Space Fever, called Space Fever Color and SF-Hisplitter.
Though still very much based on Taito's space monster hit, SF-Hisplitter adds a new idea to the game.
There is the familiar troop of (only slightly different looking) aliens marching towards the player, dropping bombs.
But the aliens are much larger than in Space Invaders. This makes them an easy target. But be aware: they split if you do not hit them straight in the middle, doubling your troubles by forming two smaller aliens.
The game offers three difficulty settings, that affect the way the aliens move about on the screen.
Although only slightly innovating on the original Space Invaders concept, with SF-Hisplitter Nintendo realised that the company's success in the arcade business was dependent on new ideas, not copy-paste cloning of other companies' hits.
Also check out my visit to collector Isao Yamazaki, who has a working SF-Hisplitter in his collection.