There are times when you have to have the original hardware or at least a close approximation to effectively play a game. Playing Defender or Stargate is one of those times.
Sure, it takes a bit to get used to the arcade controls. There is an up/down lever on one side, a thrust button, a reverse button, and standard fire controls (and some others for specialized functions, like smartbomb), and playing this game for the first time might feel like flying an airplane for the first time. But you really do get used to it quickly, and you feel that it’s actually a very effective control scheme. And then, when you have to map it to a standard controller to emulate the game, you find out quickly that it just doesn’t work.
Stargate, like its predecessor Defender, has you piloting a ship to rescue humans on the surface of a planet from alien defenders trying to snatch them up and turn them into horribly mutated beings that attack you, all while avoiding other aliens similarly trying to do you harm. Stargate seems to me much more complete and awesome than Defender (which was still great, don’t get me wrong), so that’s what I’m concentrating on here.
It’s just that I have never been able to effectively play either game using MAME because of these control difficulties. When I play them, I expect the controls being how they are supposed to be in the original arcade game, not condensed to a gamepad and awkwardly placed no matter how you configure them. And it shows in the gameplay above as I very awkwardly try to maneuver around. Give me the real thing and I can play it very well. Not so much here.
Another example of emulation being nice, but not 100% effective in playing the games as they should be played. Maybe if I made a custom control board for it…