Retro Coin Op Synopsis
What American boy in 1976 didn’t dream of suiting up in the leather jacket, greasing back the hair, mounting the motorcycle and riding into the world of Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli? After two years on the air, the Henry Winkler character was the hottest star on the hottest show in the land, Happy Days, and Sega knew it. Right at the show’s peak popularity, the Japanese company unveiled Fonz, one of the first tie-in video games in history.
Gripping a genuine set of motorcycle handlebars, you controlled the Fonz’s bike as he negotiated a tricky city street. Cranking open the throttle, the bike sped along the banking road, swerving to avoid oncoming bikes and trying to stay off the bank.
The game was a race against the clock, forcing you to rack up enough points in the allotted time to earn an extended play. The faster you went, the quicker you earned points, but the dangers came more swiftly as well. Smashing into another bike cost you three precious seconds, and in an innovative move for the time, an impact also caused the handlebars to vibrate to enhance the game’s realism.
Fonzie was never as popular as a game as he was as a TV icon, but that’s a pretty high standard. If nothing else, Fonz stands as a testament to the incredible fame of one of TV’s most memorable cool guys.