Sprint 2 was an old arcade game released by Kee Games way back in 1976 (Kee Games was one of Atari Games' old pseudonyms). This is by far the most common game of the Sprint series, there were more of these than all the rest of them put together.

The story

This was the first of a whole series of Sprint games, including Sprint 4, Sprint 8, Sprint One, Super Sprint, and Championship Sprint. They were actually released in that order. The number designation does not indicate a sequel, it merely indicates the number of players the machine supports.

This game was designed by Dennis Koble (who later went on to make games for Imagic) and Lyle Rains, and was Atari's first mass produced game to use a microprocessor.

The game

In this game you control a race car on a semi-circular track. You are looking down on the action from above. Your only goal is to drive around the track as many times as possible, and as fast as you can. There will be four cars on the track at all times (the computer lets you know that "Grey cars drive automatically"). Player one controls the white car, while player two (if present), controls a black car. The only real tip I can give you is to avoid the oil slicks. I can't really play my machine very well because it has a PCB problem that puts a bunch of extra white lines all over everything.

The game will rate you at the end, you can get rated Granny, Rookie, or Pro, and getting a score over 250 points will extend the game an extra 30 seconds.

The game has several different tracks available, and you can select them with a button at the start of a match. The graphics are simple black and white with two shades of gray thrown in for good measure. They are simple, but they get the job done, if you enjoyed games on your Atari 2600, then you will be able to enjoy this one. If you are the kind of person who needs 45 million gourad shaded, bump mapped, texture compressed polygons flying at you every second, I would advise you to look elsewhere.

The Machine

Sprint 2 came in one form, that of an orange and black upright. The game had car sideart, and featured an integrated marquee/ monitor bezel (many early titles combined those two components, that was before anybody had begun to think about conversions, which are hard to do on these machines).

The control panel featured two steering wheels that had 360 degree movement (and worked off optical encoders), and a gas pedal and a four position shifter for each player. All of those controls were unique in their form, but not in function, and can be replaced with modern off the shelf replacement parts. The Sprint style shifter handle actually kept getting used by Atari right up until the 90s.

All of the game circuits are built into a single large PCB, which also has an integrated power supply. This is a bad design, and produces excess heat. If you have one of these you should place a small fan inside your cabinet pointing at the PCB to prolong its life.

Where to play

You can play this game with the Mame emulator, although controls may be an issue, as most people do not have a 360 degree steering wheel hooked up to their computer (much less two of them). A trackball will work in a pinch, but it is not authentic (turn the analog control sensitivity settings way down for best results).

This is one title that is definitely worth adding to your arcade game collection. The gameplay has stood the test of time (having been re-used for many newer games such as Super Off Road). Up to two people can play, meaning that this machine will probably end up being one of the favorites in your game room.

I myself currently own a very nice Sprint 2 that does have a graphics problem.

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