Company: Atari
Model #:
Jim Huether
Year: 1980
Yes (Sears only)
Port of the 1976 Atari coin-op


When Atari and Sears struck a deal to have Sears become an exclusive distributor of Atari games, they wanted a few unique titles to call their own.  So Atari let Sears lay claim to Submarine Commander, Stellar Track, and Steeplechase (Super Breakout was also briefly a Sears exclusive).  The deal worked out fairly well for Atari as none of these games were destined to become big sellers.  In fact some people claim that these three titles were games that Atari had rejected, and Sears got the "leftovers".  Although Atari denied this, after looking at the titles Sears got one has to wonder if there isn't a hint of truth to that rumor.


Out of the three Sears exclusives, Steeplechase is clearly the best of the lot.  Steeplechase is a horse racing game (those little hurdles the horses jump are called steeples), similar to Mattel's Horse Racing for the Intellivision.  Steeplechase could support up to four players due to its use of paddles instead of joysticks (two paddles per controller port).  Players must carefully move their horses down the track as they jump the steeples that get in their way.  While this may not exactly sound like excitement, when four players are involved this game really gets exciting.


Although horse racing games have always been a niche market, Steeplechase was probably a decent seller for Atari (err. Sears).  The ability to have four simultaneous players was something of a curiosity back then and probably contributed to Steeplechase's success.  Interestingly Atari didn't push the gambling aspect of horse racing the same way that Mattel did.  Maybe Atari thought that the appeal of horse racing was all in the action and not in the betting?  Or maybe everyone at Mattel just had a gambling problem?


Version Cart Text Description
4/15/80 Steeple Chase EPROMs 4/15/80 Has some different colors from the final release


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