Zaxxon (Virtual Console Arcade)
Not the best Sega arcade game ever due to the unconventional isometric view that makes it confusing to line up with your target (especially true in the space sequences) and a giant analogue flight stick that made it even tougher to control your ship – especially when it broke, which was pretty often.
Thankfully it’s nicely emulated and it appears to be the first Sega VCA title to support widescreen displays (meaning the display is already pillarboxed and you won’t need to mess with your TV controls); a good thing too, because otherwise the fact it was on a vertical monitor in the arcade would mean the game would take up even less screen real estate! The analogue stick on the nunchuk or Classic Controller Pro (my weapon of choice) works just as well as my Playstation dual analogue controller via MAME OS X on my iBook, though it still cannot overcome the limitations of the original game. You can remap the fire button wherever you like and there’s an option to configure a button for auto-fire if you so desire.
I think Future Spy (another isometric shooter from Sega) is a better game, but Zaxxon is worth having in your collection if you’re a nostalgic old fart like me.
Blaster Master (Virtual Console NES)
Sunsoft was known for getting the most out of the NES and this is exhibit A for that case. Wow, I really haven’t seen a nicer looking NES game than this and the music is excellent. You control a little spaceman in a tank that trundles along blasting enemies and jumps between platforms. When you get to little doors you can exit the tank and go into dungeon areas on foot where the game switches perspectives for the boss battles. On top of that there’s upgrades for your tank and special weapons to find. Far more than I would expect from a NES game and a must for the retro-junkie.