Clint Eastwood pilots the first mission of FIREFOX, Atari's new action-packed laserdisc arcade game based on Eastwood's movie of the same name. The first video game to use actual movie footage, the game puts the player in Eastwood's role as the American fighter pilot assigned to steal a Russian warplane and fly it out of enemy territory.
"Why don't you move over and let the real pilot fly this machine," said Clint Eastwood as he took over the controls of FIREFOX from Atari Director of Sales Bob Harvey, who had been demonstrating game play to the crowd. Assuming center stage is nothing new to Eastwood, except he wasn't filming at the time but lending his presence and video game playing skill to a major media press conference, held March 15 at The Burbank Studios in southern California. Attending the event were national and local newspeople, including crews from CBS Morning News, NBC Today Show, Cable News Network and Entertainment Tonight. Coverage by the LA Herald Examiner, Newsweek, Tiger Beat, Daily Variety, People, Hollywood Reporter and Business Week was also noted.
As video disc producer, Shore was instrumental in eliminating the temporary screen blackouts that have marked previous laser disc games. The uninterrupted play action of FIREFOX results from two major technical advances known as "quick-jump laser scanning" and "interleaving. t; The first provides for faster, more accurate scanning of the game's laser disc by the laser beam that reads it. The second is an improved method of recording the game on the disc by combining multiple video tracks to permit the scanner to jump from one track to another in a manner comparable to the way a television video director switches from one camera to another during a broadcast. Shore is also manager of Atari's recently completed video production studio which will enable the company to produce laser disc video games even more realistic and technologically sophisticated than FIREFOX.
A surprise "guest pilot," who eased just as naturally into the hot seat of the press as he did into that of the cockpit, was none other than the ever amiable actor/director, Richard Benjamin. As he maneuvered the FIREFOX to avoid the Russian MIGs in pursuit on the screen, he was heard to say: "I don't think we're supposed to be having this much fun. We're supposed to be working—aren't we? I know I'm supposed to be working." And with this observation, he lifted up on the flight controller to take the mighty bird skyward for yet another round.
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