California Extreme isn’t happening this year due to COVID-19. In place of the show, I wanted to reflect on some great arcade games I didn’t discover until playing them at the convention.
Today we’re looking back on Up’n Down.
Released by Sega in the early 80’s, Up’n Down is a sort of puzzle/driving game where you need to get your car to a goal while collecting flags and avoiding obstacles. It’s a fairly straightforward arcade title for the time, but doesn’t stop it from being fun!
There are multiple lanes/roads for you to go down, but once you select a road you need to avoid all kinds of obstacles: road hazards, other vehicles, and steering correctly to stay on the road. You can speed up and slow down, and you’ll need to do so properly to avoid flying off the track. You can also jump to avoid said hazards, and even cross gaps to land on an entirely different path.
The goal is to collect a set number of flags on each stage. You drive from the bottom of the screen up to the top, and I believe the stage will loop until you’ve collected all the flags or lose your last life.
It’s simple yet addictive. I’ve found myself playing this game each time I go to the show, and smiling every time I make a jump from one track to the next. The smile usually fades moments later when I go careening into a pond or something… but for that brief moment I was amazing at the game.
*Played at California Extreme 2017 in Santa Clara, CA