You know, it’s hard to remember a time when video games weren’t ubiquitous. Today, we experience video games everywhere, from Twitter to Twitch. Even if you could afford every video game magazine that was published in the 80’s and 90’s, what you really learned depended on what the publishers wanted to tell you.

In the case of Burning Force, and many other titles, the answer to what you could learn was “not much.” Released in late 1990 by Namco in the US, the game was a conversion of a successful Japanese-only arcade game. A forward-scrolling shooter that puts you in the role of Hiromi, an Earth University trainee trying to become a Space Fighter, Burning Force is forever condemned to be compared to Yu Suzuki’s Space Harrier when it’s mentioned at all. Which is sad since it stands well on its own.

It’s hard to know why Namco didn’t promote the game – typically not providing review copies or advertising a game is a symptom of lack of confidence in the product, and the reviews from Europe are mediocre at best. Maybe Namco only had enough marketing budget to bet on one title, and that was Phelios (which EGM loved – giving it 33/40). It’s not beyond the realm of possi bility to consider that the game was viewed as filler – provided to Sega as part of a content deal, the details of which are lost to time.

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