Pole Position


Pole Position

Company: Atari
Model #:
GCC (General Computer Corp.)
Year: 1983
Trak-ball compatible


While it may not look like much by today's standards, Pole Position was the one of the pioneers of the modern racing game.  Pole Position was one of the choices presented to Bally/Midway from Namco for sublicensing.  Bally/Midway chose Mappy while Atari was left with Pole Position which then went on to become the biggest game of 1983.  Even today Pole Position remains one of the most popular racing games of all time.


Even though it was made in 1982, Pole Position really isn't all that different from modern day racing games. Sure it may be single player and the graphics may fairly primitive, but the basic concept of weaving your race car in-between other cars still hasn't changed.  Pole Position was one of the first games to feature advertisements for other games inside the game itself.  If you look closely you'll see advertisements for Centipede, Dig Dug, and other Namco/Atari games on the road signs on the sides of the road.  Unfortunately these ads couldn't be carried over into the home version due to system limitations.


Unlike the 2600, the Atari 5200 was able to reproduce the graphics from the arcade game almost perfectly (aside from the afore mentioned advertisements).  Thankfully the floaty 5200 joystick works well with the game and helps reproduce the feel of the steering wheel of the arcade machine.  And while Pole Position is technically Trak-ball compatible, it isn't recommended unless you're a masochist.  


Pole Position is just another example of why the 5200 was considered the true "Home Arcade System", and proof that non-centering analog sticks worked well for certain types of games.  It's just a shame that they couldn't reproduce the "Prepare to Qualify" voice that was heard at the beginning of the race, as it was one of the most memorable things about the game.


Version Cart Text Description
1/5/83 Pole Position 005-01 Very early movement demo
5/14/83 Pole Position 133 Final Version


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