Appreciate a cool game released a little too late...
Released in 1980, Space Encounters was one of the last games to use the 8080 CPU that had powered many of Midway's most successful games since 1975's Gun Fight. It was also one of the last Black & White raster games. With full color Galaxian, Pacman and Defender already in arcades, it looked behind the times the day it was released.
I had always been curious about this game. I was introduced to it in an advertisement on the back page of the second issue of Electronic Games Magazine. Listed along with Midway's other games of the time- Space Invaders, Wizard of Wor, Galaxian, Space Zap, Rally-X and Gorf, it was the one game I had never heard anything about. When a non-working one came up for sale locally, I had to buy it and check the game out for myself.
The game itself is quite fun. Your goal is simply to shoot as many ships until time and your extra ships run out. Like many racing games, you continue after time runs out with a number of ships. One unique feature of the cabinet was that it included a red light bulb and a strobe light which lit whenever you shot an alien ship. The tunnel that your ship flies in gives you a real sense of motion while playing the game.