So, What's the Difference?
("Space Ace" the Game versus "Space Ace" the 13-episode Cartoon)

It may be a decade (or two) late and a few tokens short, but I finally got around to writing this thing. For those who still don't know the score, Space Ace was a laserdisc game that first appeared in the video game arcades in the later part of 1983 [citation needed]and has been ported over to many game consoles/platforms since then. In my not so humble opinion, the ports didn't even come -close- to the arcade experience until Digital Leisure put out the HD versions. Please don't get me started on the SNES adaptation...

What a lot of people apparently didn't know, judging by various (old)You Tube comments*, is that there was also a Saturday morning cartoon which was (very) loosely based on that game; in this essay I shall discuss both.

Part 1: Animation
The first thing that some people pointed out was that the Saturday morning cartoon didn't look nearly as nice as the game. Well, of course it doesn't! All of Saturday Supercade (not just the Space Ace segment) was animated by a different company, namely Ruby-Spears Productions [citation needed]. Comparing Saturday morning animation of the time (a.k.a. Ruby-Spears' forte) to the cinematic animation of the Bluth Group is like comparing a Big Wheel to a Harley...there's no contest! We might as well compare Hanna-Barbera fare to Disney animation while we're at it; oh, a weird round-about way we -are-. Consider this: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, and John Pomerory were old-school Disney animators who left and formed their own studio which produced the animation for Dragon's Lair, Space Ace and Dragon's Lair II. (And before that, some movie called The Secret of NIMH; you -might- have heard about it...) Joe Ruby and Ken Spears were writers for Hanna-Barbera before they struck out on their own. Heh. Given that, it's kinda funny that Ruby-Spears ended up working with -both- Bluth gaming properties. So, why Ruby-Spears? Basically, because they were the ones who made the licensing deal, that's why. Ruby-Spears Productions was catering to the gamer demographic at the time; they already had Pac-Man and Saturday Supercade on the air...Dragon's Lair and Space Ace seemed like good properties to jump on...or as a friend of mine might say, they were full of win for Ruby-Spears ;) Don Bluth never liked TV animation (mainly due to the "quick & dirty" attitude that was so prevailent in the industry)[citation needed] so his studio wasn't going to touch -that- market. I read somewhere (Don Bluth's site/messageboard??) that the Bluth Group had the option to approve/reject scripts, but they never exercised it.

Part 2: The Villains

In the game, Borf is the first Bad Guy you see and last attacker you face. After every death scene, Borf appears and taunts the player, thus adding insult to injury. That big blue alien was -the- primary threat and Don Bluth's electronically altered voice helped to re-enforce that notion. A bit of trivia here; Don Bluth originally wanted to call that villain "Barf" [citation needed]. I'm glad somebody talked him out of it because "Barf" is a ridiculous name that would have dailed down the threat factor of the game's main villain. The writers at Ruby-Spears probably knew about this because Dexter constantly taunts Borf by calling him "Barf" or "Barfy" in the cartoon.
In the cartoon series, Commander Borf terrorized the Moon Colony twice and raided Space Command HQ once. Okay, he was usually (but not always) the main threat, but more often than not seeing him in action was a joke. ('s not Arthur Burghardt's fault that Borf had some really corny lines; he just delivered them.) That version of Borf just didn't seem nearly as threatening. His simplified R-S animation design didn't help in that department either. If you were wondering where the cape came from, look no further than the modelsheet[link goes here].

Speaking of less threatening, Shag was a -lot- smaller in the cartoon. In the game, Shag was a mountainous alien who could eat Ace in one bite. The cartoon incarnation was nowhere near that size, as shown below:
Shag, from the game

Shag, from the cartoon

Some of the aliens weren't named explicitly in the game, so it was up to the cartoon to fill in those holes...the Groots (blue feline humanoids...hmmm...),Babaloons (the pig/chicken hybrids from the motorcyle scene), and LaGrin (the orange robot) are prime examples. Heh. I used to call the orange robots "Shocky 'Bots" before I saw their R-S counterpart.

Part 3: The Good Guys

Ace is still a cocky, alien-blasting hero but in the cartoon his "younger self" was scripted as a complete idiot! (*mumble* It's the -Infanto- Ray, not the -Stupidity- Ray!*mumble*) Officer Kimberly is a sassy redhead...but that's about all she has in common with the gal in the game. Casting her as some sort of Space Police Officer seemed to take the character in a totally opposite direction. Not that I minded; the Ruby-Spears incarnation had more to her personality than just whining about stuff. At least the RS version can back up her attitude; I have trouble picturing the Kimmy from the game as an officer of -anything-. In the game, Kimmy neither looked like po-po nor acted like po-po; she looked & acted like a civilian (not that there's anything wrong with -that-). And is it just me, or did it sound weird whenever a character addressed her as "Officer Kimberly"? (Aren't officers normally addressed by their title/rank followed by their -last- name?) Also, in the cartoon she is Ace's partner, whereas in the game Kimberly is his girlfriend. Yeah, his -partner-, NOT his sister; the Wiki entry was wrong. I wonder if the person who wrote that bothered to watch all the episodes. It's pretty obvious that Kimberly was covering for Ace by convincing Space Marshall Vaughn that "Dexter" (who is really Ace in his younger form, but none of the other Good Guys are supposed to know this) is her brother because:
1) She doesn't want her partner removed from the Space Command active duty roster until a cure for the Infanto Ray's effect is found (cuz that might not happen). This was even given explicitly to the viewer in "Cute Groots"!
2) It is the simplest explanation for "Dexter" being in unexpected places at unexpected times.

BTW, Space Marshall Vaughn didn't even -exist- in the game. I -still- wonder who was responsible for his creation (yeah, I -still- don't like him).

* Special "thanks" to everybody, especially the people at, for scouring their VHS collections and posting all 13 episodes to You Tube; I wouldn't have been able to complete (and verify) my episode guide otherwise! Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, those videos seem to have been removed (*grumbles*).
Heh. Funny thing about my Space Ace episode guide is that I couldn't recall the title of the 13th epsiode while I was first working on it; I also couldn't verify if a certain episode was called "Infanto Fury" or Infanto Rage", so I put -both- down & the incorrect title became a placeholder for the 13th episode's title. I was kinda surprised at how many sites had my "placeholder" in their lists. I don't mind sharing (if I -did- mind, this site wouldn't even exist), but it goes to show ya how many people don't bother to double-check their info. Self included; in my defense, I -had- no way to double-check my information at the time.