Sega Tracer released in 1976 was a compact version of its predecessor Bullet Mark. A bridge between electro-mechanical arcade (known as EMs) and video games, this discrete logic twin shooter has a number of noteworthy features. Using a mirror, the monitor is reflected from the bottom of the cabinet giving the illusion of the targets being further in the distance. The bezel displays the current score setting and large faux LED scoring. When shooting both twin tommy guns flash red LEDs in the tips and shake with a RAT-AT-TAT-TAT. This effect is really wild. Watch the video below the fold to get an idea.
Play starts with helicopter targets and progresses to submarines, bullseyes, and jet planes. Points per hit (and negative points per missed) target increase in each stage. Making it one of the earliest games with a vague concept of levels. If the player scores past a certain threshold, play continues starting again with helicopter targets. While optional IC chips were available at the time to change up the targets, the original target types were permanently screened on the metal instruction card.
Tracer was marketed as having a smaller cabinet than competitors. This may be true in comparison to the two-piece Bullet Mark and some other EMs, yet numerous contemporaries like Midway Twin Pirate Gun and Chicago Coin Twin Rifle were considerably smaller. And, arcade video games of the time took up much much less floor space. This thing is a beast at 39″ wide and 64″ deep.
Early Sega video games are difficult to find in America. And Tracer is no exception, as the game is rare as heck. Unless someone knows otherwise, this cabinet is the only Tracer known to exist. It came out of the Pacific Northwest, and is in fantastic shape. The last Bullet Mark I knew of was in Ocean City, MD. Unfortunately, it was thrown out over 10 years ago. I know of none others around.
Here is a video I took of Sega Tracer in action. Check it out!
Alas, little to nothing is known about the history and development of Bullet Mark and Tracer. If you have any boards, parts or historical information about Tracer, please drop me a line.
Came across this photo of a Sega Tracer back in the day.