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Pole Position II

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Released: 1983

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: Arcade

Publisher: Atari

Developer: Namco

Submitted by: Ian Marks

Ahh I can smell the bygone arcades of Brighton now….

Stale cigarette butts in lager cans aplenty, and carpets that made your feet stick to them as you walked across them. They were populated by smug teenagers and borderline institutional types feeding the slot machines.

They were the sort of places I’d happily go out of my way to avoid nowadays, but in the eighties certain machines drew me into them… Pac Man, Star Wars, Galaga… and top of that list Pole Position. Nothing could top the joy of Pole Position, there would in my 12 year old brain never be a game better than Pole Position. But then there suddenly was… it had the highly original title of Pole Position 2.

Now the more cynical amongst you may say it’s the same game but with a blue car and some other minor changes, and you’d be partially right. It was however the minor changes that made it a much, much better game.

Firstly it was a little bit smoother, not much, just a bit, with more response from the spinny steering wheel. It made cornering a little bit easier, and gave you more chance of avoiding the other cars.

If you failed to avoid the other cars, then it didn’t matter, because now when you’re car exploded it’s wheels blew off and bounced down the track. Great stuff… who didn’t want to see their wheels bounce down the road… I know I did!

Three more tracks were added to the Fuji speedway of the original, the best being Seaside where you saw yachts and bridges on the horizon. The other two were Suzuka and Test (which sounded boring… and was).

Even the blue car looked better in my opinion, much more Formula One-y.

I miss those Brighton arcades now… partly because I no longer live in Brighton. The main reason though is because if you do go to them now whilst the seedy people and the sticky carpets are still there… the quality games aren’t. It’s all fruit machines and grab a toy games… modern times are rubbish.