A World of Games: A.B. Cop

There aren’t too many arcade games that have sit-down cockpit racing seats. The big ones you probably know, like Outrun or Hang-On, sit at the top of the arcade racing echelon. Classics for sure, but there are some alternative and unique games that toy with the concept of arcade racing. A game like A.B. Cop is a prime example.

I’m here for the concept: really any video game that plays with the idea of what is “Normal” for its genre is worth looking into. Rather than simply race to the end of the stage, A.B. Cop has you chasing down a criminal in each stage, and then bringing them to some form of justice by crashing your body and bike into them repeatedly. It’s kind of like Road Rash but also kind of its own thing? It’s odd, to say the least.

The A.B. in A.B. Cop stands for Air Bike, which is the vehicle you use throughout the games stages. Gameplay goes by fairly fast: the turns and obstacles you’d expect from a racing game are here, along with the fast-paced thrills of a police chase. For a game in 1990, it’s honestly fairly impressive. The game never saw a release outside of the arcades, so if you wanted to check it out, finding a location that has one will be the biggest challenge of all.

This particular cabinet I played had a basic seat to sit down and play, along with handlebar control sticks. They can be revved to accelerate and go into a turbo boost, and another button on the left handlebar allows you to jump. The game felt responsive but took a bit of getting used too with the fast turns. The marquee features that signature Sega style, with a large logo and bright, solid colors. Aside from the unique seat/controller, there actually isn’t that much to make the game stand out from other cabinets.

If you see a cabinet out in the wild, it’s worth checking out for at least a few quarters. The game is stuck in the arcades so the only chance you’re going to get to play it will be there. Does the game need a home console port? No, not really, you’re not missing anything by not playing it. But it’s at least a unique spin on the genre, and a little piece of video game history.

Played at Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfiled, IL 2019

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– Jason J

Original blue and red Nintendo Switch controllers
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