Personal Computer News

Pole Position

Author: Bob Chappell
Publisher: Atarisoft
Machine: Atari 400/800/600XL/800XL/130XE

Published in Personal Computer News #054

Winning Formula

Winning Formula

Pole Position, a three-dimension motor racing game, won high acclaim for its existing graphics when it first appeared in the arcades. Atari has now made it available for its range of home computers - and what a superb job it has made of the transfer. It's all here: the incredible high-speed racing, the full perspective graphics and the excellent sound effects.


Before you can compete in the main event, you first take part in a qualifying race where a lap time of 73 seconds or better must be achieved. If you succeed, and your qualifying time is good enough, you are allocated one of the eight starting positions in the big race.

There are three tracks to choose from, and a race can be up to eight laps long. You also have the option of a practice run with no other cars on the course.

In Play

Pole Position

The game is every bit as good as the original arcade version. True, there are some small differences. The cars are not so impressive in appearance and, although the hoardings are still alongside the track, there is no writing on them.

Your view of the action is from a position slightly above ground level, just behind your car, so you see the track stretching away into the distance. The black track has a broken centre-line and is bordered by red and white markings.

At the start of the qualifying lap an air ship scubs past bearing the banner "Prepare to Qualify" and you're off. Pushing the joystick forward once puts you into low gear and your car picks up speed automatically. Pulling the joystick back once takes you into top gear. There is no accelerator to worry about - the car keeps going faster until it reaches its maximum speed. The fire button acts as the brake and a left to right movement of the joystick keeps the steering simple.

Pole Position

The effect of being on a race track is really astonishing, especially when your car is hammering along at top speed. When cornering the whole perspective shifts smoothly, and swiftly.

Sound is used to great effect as well. I particularly liked the roar of the engines, the squeal of tyres on a bend (you should almost smell the burning rubber!), the explosion when your car hits a hoarding and the jaunty, sporting musical theme played at the start of a race.


Exciting, exhilarating, excellent, Pole Position takes the lead as the best Atari race game around.

Bob Chappell

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