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The player aircraft is viewed from a first-person perspective, and the landscape and targets are displayed on a screen, using a projection display system similar to Duck Hunt, Grand Prix, Missile and Killer Shark.
It features free-roaming, first-person flight shooting gameplay. It was the first flight simulator game, a genre that it introduced to the arcade industry, where it inspired a flood of clones as soon as it released in 1970, which in turn inspired flight simulator video games. Jet Rocket was also the earliest first-person shooter, the first open-world sandbox game, and the first action-adventure game.
Using controls which look like that of a cockpit, the player controls the jet by joystick handle and aims rockets to intercept target areas such as fuel dumps, missile sites, island fortresses and air strips in a night mission. Pushing the firing button fires the rocket. When a target is hit, the rocket explodes and score (5 points per hit) is indicated. Ground impact explosions are marked by light and sound effects.
The cockpit controls move the player aircraft around the 3D landscape displayed on a screen and shoot missiles onto targets that explode when hit.
Development and release
Sega Production and Engineering Department, led by Hisashi Suzuki, developed Jet Rocket in the late 1960s. Before its wide American release in August 1970, Sega had previously sent out prototypes for testing, after which it was cloned by three Chicago manufacturers. The clones included Bally's Target Zero and Williams' Flotilla, both released in December 1970. This negatively affected the game's performance in America, and temporarily put a halt to Sega's export business, before recovering later.
Jet Rocket was the earliest first-person flight simulator game, a genre that the game introduced to the arcade game industry, and in turn the video game industry. Jet Rocket inspired a flood of clones as soon as it released in 1970, including popular clones from three Chicago manufacturers (such as Target Zero and Flotilla).
It featured shooting and flight movement in a 3D environment from a first-person perspective, like first-person vehicle combat video games such as Battlezone (1980) and Hovertank 3D (1991). This makes Jet Rocket the earliest first-person shooter, predating by many years the mid-1970s computer games Maze War and Spasim, the latter a flight simulator influenced by Jet Rocket.
The game had free-roaming flight movement over an open-ended 3D landscape, for the first time in an electronic game. This makes it the first example of an open-world sandbox game. Jet Rocket, along with its clones Target Zero and Flotilla, influenced the development of free-roaming flight simulator video games such as Flight Simulator (1980), which in turn influenced open-world space flight simulators such as Elite (1984), and which in turn influenced Grand Theft Auto (1997).
Jet Rocket was also the first action-adventure game, combining action gameplay with open-world adventure exploration.
- File:NextGeneration US 24.pdf, page 11
- File:NextGeneration US 24.pdf, page 12
- The Sega Arcade Revolution: A History in 62 Games
- Carl Therrien, Inspecting Video Game Historiography Through Critical Lens: Etymology of the First-Person Shooter Genre, Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research, Volume 15, issue 2, December 2015, ISSN 1604-7982