Ace was an old arcade game released by Allied & Leisure way back in 1976.

The story

This early black and white arcade title was one of a few simple ideas that the industry was highly smitten with back in those days, tanks, airplanes, and Pong. One notable thing about this game is that it came from the factory set up to cost 50 cents per game, that was pretty ambitious back in 1976, but apparently most operators tried to run it that way.

The game

Each player controls a small airplane with a set of levers (this title is two player only). You must avoid each others shots, and avoid flying into the ground, the sides of the screen, or the top of the screen. If you are shot down or crash then a little parachute guy will escape from your plane and the other player will get a point. You cannot shoot down the parachute man, even though all the advertisements for the game showed the player shooting him down.

This is your basic two player dogfight, with gameplay very similar to the airplane levels on the Atari 2600 Combat cartridge, but without the screen wrapping effect.

The Machine

The Ace cabinet was a standard 1970s style cabaret cabinet, with a black and white monitor and a purple graphical bezel showing some airplanes. The control panel featured 4 two way joysticks, and half of them had fire buttons on top. I have one of these control panels sitting in my closet and the sticks are far more heavy duty than what is usually installed on games. They would have lasted for decades, but games like this went out of style by 1980.

Where to play

This title is emulated by the MAME emulator, but I personally wouldn't bother with it. The game isn't that good, and last time I checked the controls in the game were incorrectly mapped, with MAME having the game being controlled with an 8-way joystick, and not with a pair of levers.

I would not add this to my arcade game collection, unless it was incredibly cheap. The need for two players at once really reduces the amount of use that you would be able to get out of this game in your home. Games like this are really only good for their kitsch value as wacky furnishings, as you certainly won't be playing it. I should know about these games, as I have personally had things like Stunt Cycle and Pong spend years sitting in my living room looking cool, but being entirely unused.