That is why we want to remember today one of the many titles that have made the history of video games in their own way and to do so we must return to 1986, when the company founded by Nolan bushnell released in arcades around the world Super sprint, designed by Robert Weatherby me Kelly turner. Truth be told, it was since the 1970s that Atari had been publishing “bird’s eye view” racing games, first with the monochromatic (and very fun) Gran Trak and then with Sprint.
This third video game collects all the experience gained from previous games and places it in a cupboard equipped with three steering wheels, something decidedly atypical for the time that allowed the largest number of participants to compete in races in the last drift through an elevated view of the circuits.
Obviously, let’s forget about the “modern” wheels with resistance and force feedback: those of Super Sprint were “smooth” and spun freely, allowing decidedly unrealistic but equally fun maneuvers: the cars (well defined and animated) splashed on the fixed screen circuits, perhaps making use of the sporadic shortcuts and collecting here and there some bonuses that appeared on the track, while avoiding strange obstacles like moving barriers, tornadoes and oil puddles.
All on eight different circuits to tackle in sequence (with the best players who were able to access the coveted ninth court), all well differentiated and very well thought out. A gem of gameplay, with its simple playability and its practically perfect control system, which turned out to be a great success in the arcade, also leading to a series of conversions for home systems, in which the Commodore 64, really well done, certainly stands out.
Two years later Atari also tried to create a conversion for the now outdated Atari 2600, under the title “Sprint Master”., with all in all sufficient results. Above all, always in 1986 Super Sprint was reworked into Championship Sprint, proposed with a two-wheeled cabinet and equipped with a different set of eight tracks, an equally fun pseudo-sequel that in turn was converted for the different domestic systems, resulting in turn a best-seller.
The two chapters have not had a great diffusion on other consoles, except for one mysterious conversion for the glorious NES (Nintendo’s 8-bit console) from Tengen offering just seven of the Super Sprint circuits – apparently Tengen at the time would not have been able to get Nintendo’s endorsement in time for publication. but the game was still marketed.
Super Sprint and Championship Sprint represent two important stages of arcade racing games. and gave birth to a royal genre that in the following years included games like Ironman Offroad Racing, Badland me Indy heat. A few days ago, with a very slight delay, the unofficial conversion for Game Friend was announced, with the title Turbo sprint– another sign of the fact that, after all these years, Atari’s masterpiece is far from being forgotten.