Last night I stumbled upon something in MAME that gave me a true warm and fuzzy feeling and a powerful blast of nostalgia.
Whenever anyone would ask what the first videogame I played was, I'd cast my mind back to hazy memories of an arcade cabinet in the chip shop at the end of my street. Looking back all I ever remembered was that it was a colourful Galaxians-style effort, and put it down to being either Galaxians itself, or one of the multitude of clones and similar efforts in that style.
Usually when I fire up MAME I rattle through a well-worn roster of favourites, but recently I've been randomly delving into all kinds of things. With Galaga Legions turning up on Live Arcade I was in the mood for some very old-school shooting. From the moment I loaded up Space Firebird I was overcome with a wave of recognition. It was the sound effects that did it. This is the game I messed about with so many times back when I was 5 or 6 years old. It's a standard of the day; ship at the bottom of the screen, enemy formations flying around and divebombing. You have a shield - activated once per life - that lets you fly up the screen invulnerable, wrapping round to the bottom, and the base line curves upwards towards the edges.
I spent quite some time with it, and I'm happy to report that it still plays a very decent game.