While his first racing game Dragster holds the record for being the
shortest game on the 2600 (games average 6 seconds), David Crane decided
to go the more traditional route with Gran Prix. The result was
one of the finest sideways racing games for the 2600. That's right,
Unlike most racing games, Grand Prix features a sideways scrolling screen.
So instead of seeing only the backs of oncoming cars you get to
see their whole length. This makes it much more difficult to zip
in and out of lanes and get ahead of the pack, so players had to adopt
a new strategy to win. As it turns out the car pattern is not random,
and there is actually a set path the player can take to get through a
course in record time. However not even the programmers at Activison
knew how to get a 100% perfect time.
Apparently Programmer David Crane had calculated the shortest
possible time it took to cross the finish line. However the path
he took always resulted in smashing to the last car on the track costing
precious seconds. One night at the CES show David decided he would
see if he could sneak past that car get a perfect time. After some
practice David was able to get past the car and was well on his way to
getting a perfect score when he smashed right into the back of an invisible
car! Turns out that this invisible car was actually a car that had
crossed the finish line before the player and was well off screen so no
one ever saw it. After a few more tricky moves David was able to
sneak by this invisible car and get a record time that was almost two
seconds faster than the previous "perfect" score. This
became known as David Crane's signature move.
While it may not seem like anything special by today's
standards, Gran Prix was one of the more popular 2600 games, and was a
mainstay in most people's collections. This may explain why you're
almost guaranteed to see at least one at every flea market you go to.
to 2600 Software