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Arcade Archives Reviews: Sky Skipper



Sky Skipper is a 1981 flying arcade game by Nintendo. You may have heard of this game because it never made it out of the test market phase due to poor reviews. Strangely, Parker Bros. made a port of the game for the 2600 and released it in 1983.


In the game, you play as (what for it) Mr. You, and you have to rescue the king's family from gorillas. The whole object of the game is you drop sleeping gas on the gorillas so the King's family has just enough time to jump out of their cells so you can catch them in mid-air. The only three things you have to look out for are the gorillas, your fuel (which you can refill once per level), and how you fly. That's it.


The graphics, while on the chunky side, look pretty good, they used the same graphics style as Popeye (high-resolution sprites but low-resolution background). The sprites themselves have a black border surrounding them, so Nintendo compensated for that by making it night all the time. It also has some familiar sounds like the pause sound for most of the black box games as the 1-up jingle, the first intermission song is really similar to to the title theme for Pinball on the NES, and one of the later jingles has the "how high can ya get?" song from Donkey Kong.


The difficulty is really high, mainly due to the controls being finicky on the switch, you see, the original cabinet had an 8-way joystick and the direction buttons can't emulate that type of joystick like that. It's also rather bland, there are no bonus stages to my knowledge, there are only 4 levels before it loops, and the gameplay can get really repetitive, even in short bursts.


Since Hamster probably got the ROM from the cabinet at Nintendo (which is the only known official cabinet), you're only gonna get one ROM and (like all Arcade Archives releases) the highscore and caravan modes.


Overall, I'd say if you want to play an obscure piece of Nintendo history, then it's a no brainer to pick this up, for $7.99 it's a steal. However, if you just want to spend some gold coins or are looking for a really good game, there are better titles to choose from, this was cancelled for a reason you know. 7/10.

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