Thanks to California Extreme, I was able to reconnect with an arcade game I have not played in almost 10 years. Hence this installment of Weekend Replay will be dedicated to one of my favorite arcade titles, Area 51.

Back in the days my dad would take my brother and I to Tilt Arcade at Vallco Mall once a month were I could always be seen playing either Area 51, Die Hard Arcade, Time Crisis 2 or Silent Scope.  However; Area 51 was the only of my favorites that I saw at California Extreme, hence it will be the subject of Weekend Replay. 

Because honestly; if I had played Die Hard Arcade at California Extreme then I would be talking about it in a 1500 word article.

The story is simple, players take on the role of a Special Tactical Advanced Alien Response (STAAR) operative deployed to stop aliens from trying to take over Area 51. Players must shoot aliens while protecting their fellow STAAR operatives.

Oh and just a quick reminder, Area 51 was released a year before Independence Day. Hence no remakes about “they ripped-off the movie”.

Area 51 was a simple shooter that took the tropes from other 80’s alien films then placed them in a familiar setting. The Kronn were based on the  aliens from They Live and Doom while the STAAR operatives were an obvious nod to Resident Evil.

This was a simple a shooter back in the days when arcades were popular and it still holds up today. It’s success was followed with another arcade sequel titled Area 51: Site 4. In 2005, an FPS reboot was released while it featured the voices of David Duchovny, Marilyn Manson, and Powers Boothe.

Area 51 will always have a special place in my heart while gamers of all ages will continue to enjoy it (as witnessed at California Extreme). Hopefully another reboot could be in the works that is similar to the 2005 game.

Weekend Replay is a column were we play an old school game over the weekend and share our nostalgic thoughts about it.

8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that highlights the video game community and industry of the San Francisco Bay Area.


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