Space Riders is a widebody arcade pinball game released in 1978 by Atari. It was designed by Gary Slater and illustrated by George Opperman and Gjalt Vanderwyk.The game challenges players to rack up a high score in the context of a futuristic motorcycle race. As the Space Rider, players can roll over the various Star targets to increase the value of the drop targets, use the drop targets to raise the value of the bumpers and spinners, then spell BIKE and CITY to multiply the bonuses. Hit all three drop targets for a chance at the extra ball, then hit the captive balls behind them for a Special — but make sure the passenger on your bike doesn't lose her grip.Space Riders tends to draw mixed opinions from pinball players. Some find it a fun game with lots of scoring options and a challenging hunt for the Special bonus, while others find it too slow and easy for expert players. Everyone agrees, however, that the lack of any mid-level flippers keeps most of the action in the bottom half of the table, and the eye-catching artwork is the highlight of the game.
The Space Riders pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Badass Biker: The unnamed protagonist.
- Cool Bike: The Space Rider's bike, complete with a tapered nosecone, tailfins, and rocket thrusters.
- Cool Helmet: The protagonist is wearing a futuristic inverted metal bowl helmet.
- Future Spandex/Space Clothes: Everyone wears full-body unicolored jumpsuits. Whether it's cool or dorky depends on your tastes.
- Hood Ornament Hottie: The unidentified passenger on the Rider's bike.
- Mix and Match: Advertising materials promoted Space Riders as motorcross + THE FUTURE!
- No Plot? No Problem!
- Single-Use Shield: The three captive balls on the playfield are shielded by dropdown targets that disappear after one hit.
- Spelling Bonus: Spelling B-I-K-E or C-I-T-Y doubles the bonus, while spelling both triples it.