Space Firebird is a game that seemed to taunt me for several summers. From the summer of ’81 through sometime in ’83, I would always run across a Space Firebird machine when I either didn’t have a quarter or didn’t have the time to stop and play. The 7-11 on the corner had one for a while, and Marie’s Restaurant had one for a short time as a replacement for their Pac-Man machine, which was getting repaired. Even our local A&P grocery store had a Space Firebird for about a year, but by that time my mother favored Safeway, and I never got to go into the A&P to see what it was about.

This troubled me. I believed that I knew everything there was to know about the games of that era, but I had to shrug and admit ignorance of this simple wood-grained cabinet with the red and orange marquee. Later on, I found salvation.

The summer of ’85 included my attendance at a “Summer Science Camp” at the local community college. Sure, we had great times like the scavenger hunt in the woods (“Is that a sparrow’s feather??? THIRTY POINTS!!!”), and the time we got to dissect little formaldehyde-soaked foot-long sharks. This is where I learned that a shark’s heart (at least that particular species…) is a beautiful light blue color. But I digress.

This community college had a game room that stemmed off from the cafeteria. It had several ping-pong tables, a pool table, and about ten arcade games. Among them, you guessed it, Space Firebird! I was finally able to quench my long-standing thirst for the game that had eluded me for so long!

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