Datsun 280 Zzzap was an old arcade game released by Midway way back in 1976. This title is also known as 280 Zzzap, and as Midnight Racer. They are all the same exact game, only the title on the marquee was different.

The story

Datsun 280 Zzzap was one of the first pseudo-3D driving games ever made (it may have been the first, but it is hard to get exact release dates on some of these early titles).

The game

The game is a simple black and white monochrome driving game. You control a car through a night time scene, and the road is represented by simple posts at the edges. The top of the screen will display information about upcoming curves (like the maximum safe speed to take them at), while the bottom of the screen has a speedometer, timer, scoreboard, and may also display a few tips as well.

I really don't have to tell you how to play this game, as you already know how (as long as you have played a driving game before). Just drive, and don't crash. Pay attention to your speed on the corners to avoid crashing.

The Machine

This game came in an upright format. The cabinet was painted blue with simple striped sideart. The marquee was integrated into the monitor bezel and may bear one of three different titles (with four distinct marquees/bezels). The most common one showed a picture of a yellow Datsun 280Z and said "280 Zzzap", the other three versions had stripes that matched the side of the machine, and were labeled either "Midnight Racer", "280 Zzzap", or "Datsun 280 Zzzap".

The control panel is dominated by a large three spoked steering wheel, with a high/low shifter off on the right side. A gas pedal mounted low finishes off the controls. (Any defective controls can be replaced by modern ones which look slightly different, but function identically, and bolt up in almost the exact same manner).

This game uses a 23" black and white television as a monitor. The TV has been removed from the case, and had a few other minor mods, but it is essentially a television, and can be replaced by another black and white tv (some solder work is required to do this).

The game is powered by an Intel 8080 CPU, and has a wiring harness that is compatible with other 8080 games from Midway (although they almost all have different controls, so you can do little more than test out PCBs in the incorrect cabinet).

Where to play

Your first choice for playing this game should be a real live machine. There were a fair amount of these made, so it shouldn't be to difficult to track one down. This is a prime title to add to your arcade game collection, as simple driving games tend to be fun no matter how many times you play them, and black and white titles are often sold at very reasonable prices.

Mame also emulates this title. But it isn't as fun, unless you happen to have a 360 degree analog steering wheel and an analog gas pedal hooked up to your computer (PC steering wheels are never 360 degree). The Mame version is also missing the sound. I really cannot reccommend playing this one via Mame, as they just don't have it right yet.

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