Sega’s Killer Shark Cameo in Jaws

Killer Shark Cab

There’s an excellent article by Keith Stuart at The Guardian about Spielberg’s early interest in video game and computer technology (his father was an electrical engineer) and how the shot of Killer Shark (1972) at the beginning of the film perfectly encapsulates the entire narrative: “It’s effectively Brody’s nightmare, and his objective, rolled into one flickering image on an ancient coin-op display for a few redolent seconds.” Stuart continues:

In a movie filled with legendary cinematic moments, this brief sequence is a minor one, but as with many other elements of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 picture, it was also prescient. The director, a keen games player and watcher of pop culture trends, foresaw an era in which Hollywood would be seduced by the popularity and the visual spectacle of the emerging video game arcade scene. He got the appeal of these new entertainment machines, but he also understood how computer graphics represented a new way to present narrative to audiences – even if, in Jaws, it was a few seconds of footage.

As Stuart notes, Killer Shark was actually Sega’s last mechanical game, not a video game, the shark animation a result of a projector inside the cabinet. You can also see Computer Space (1971), the very first commercial coin-op video game, in the background of the same shot.

In the Roger Corman-produced Piranha (1978), a brilliant Jaws and eco-horror parody written by John Sayles and directed by Joe Dante, there’s a shot (below) featuring Atari’s Shark Jaws (1975): sort of a parody within a parody within a parody.

(Images via Jaws Wikia, Pinterest, and The Electronic Playground)

3 Responses to “Sega’s <em>Killer Shark</em> Cameo in <em>Jaws</em>”


  1. 1 hobgoblin238 June 26, 2015 at 5:43 am

    I have always loved that shot of the Killer Shark.


  1. 1 Pong & Atari : autres jeux d’arcades | Trackback on June 13, 2017 at 11:12 pm
  2. 2 (Les débuts de) SEGA | Trackback on June 13, 2017 at 11:43 pm

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