1976 Greats #06 – SPRINT 2

Year:  1976
Platform:  Arcade
Developer:   Kee Games
Genre:   Driving (top-down)

09 - Sprint2b12 different selectable tracks keeps the fun coming in Atari’s first mass-produced coin-op with a microprocessor.  You attempt to drive around the race track beating the other cars, as well as racking up a point total worthy of “extended play.” Achieving your point goals rewards you with an additional 30 extra seconds, for extra value to your quarter and a chance to continue adding to your brag-worthy score.

Four gears to shift, a gas pedal and a fluid steering wheel made this game challenging but fun. Here’s a terrific example of Kee Games (*cough ATARI *cough) using an existing genre from the mechanical arcade games and turning it into a new video game.  The result was a fluid gameplay experience with different track varieties in a single unit and a much easier-to-maintain cabinet.  It went on to sell more than all the previous Sprint games up to that point combined.

Another reason why Sprint 2 is on my “Greatest” list is that it launched one of the most important features in all of video games —  the font.  What the font?  You know, the “arcade font” – it was designed for Sprint 2 but became a common font used in games from many different manufacturers.  You’d think that after PONG was cloned all kinds of sideways that Atari would’ve gotten smart and not let another patent go unprotected.  But alas… guess they didn’t think the industry was so lacking in creativity they’d have another attack of the clones.  Fontastic!

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