When I was a young kid, there was a teenager down the street that had an Atari 2600 too, and lots of cool games that we didn't have. My brother and I would go over to play, or sometimes borrow a game. One of the games I haven't played since those days is "Indy 500." It's fairly special (and considered "RARE" on eBay, it seems), because it has its own special controllers.
The "Driving Controller" looks a lot like a "Paddle Controller", but it's actually a rotary controller... it can spin around over and over again. It's like a ball-based mouse, a trackball, or the volume knobs on more modern stereos. As it spins, little digital bits get flipped in a pattern, and the game can tell how fast and in what direction you're spinning it. This is versus an analog paddle, which is a potentiometer that reads some value between ~0 and ~255. You can only spin it so far in either direction. (Along with the cool race car label, also notice: only one controller per plug.)
To my knowledge, Indy 500 is the only game on the VCS that utilized these controllers (and I'm not sure what, if any, games for the Atari computer or Commodore 64 utilized them, either) -- which is a shame. It's an old game, and many more modern race games could've been created and taken advantage of them. (Think "Off Road".)
Hell... come to think of it, why didn't Pole Position use a paddle instead of a joystick!? Someone needs to make a homebrew hack!
Sidenote: Some people sacrifice Driving Controllers to create a rotary controller for Tempest 2000 on the Atari Jaguar. (Again, Atari could have made the original Tempest for the Atari computer, and used these controllers... at least as an option. *sigh!*)98 cents?
I found Indy 500 at a local music store in thier old-games collection. I bought it, then set out to buy Driving controllers. Because I had one (for making into a Tempest 2000 rig, but then I bought a professionally made one), and recently sold it. eBay to the rescue. And lo!, the two controllers came with another
copy of the game.
WOW the one on the left is action-packed! Sadly, the label on the left is... shall we say: more accurate? Two cars enter...
The game pits you against a friend... or the clock... but never a computer opponent... and lord forbid more than two cars at a time!
Which is fine. This game is "CX2611". I think that means it was the 11th game they released. And it was 1978. I was 3. I don't think we even had an Atari 2600 by the time this game came out. Why do I remember it being so thrilling...!?
Could it be the awesome Indy Car formula racers?
No? Come on... Just imagine what your virtual race car driver is experiencing!
Alright, fine.Variety is your pit stop
Like most early 2600 games, this cartridge includes numerous variations on gameplay, and a 2-minute limit (throwing out the whole 500 miles
part of Indy 500
So yeah, while Indy 500 looks like a bizarre version of the Combat tank games...
...there's actually some fun to be had. Shown above is the "Crash n Score" variation. (No doubt "Crash n Score(tm)"... they trademarked everything
back then.) Each player tries to slam their car through a dot that appears at random spots on the ... uh... course. Some racetracks even include Pac-Man-style warps at the top and bottom.
There's a "tag" variation, as well, though I had trouble not being "it" over and over again, once my car hit the opponent's car.Ice, ice, indy *
Finally, there's a set of regular racing maps that are set on ice. I'm not sure if Indianapolis ever freezes over, but nonetheless, this
is the game variation that stuck in my memory for 25+ years. Cars slipping all the hell over on a bright blue-grey background.
And honestly, it's worth throwing some money at a stranger via eBay and PayPal to revisit those huge blue and grey pixels, spin a 30 year knob-that's-not-a-paddle, and crash my big blocky Letter-H into things.
* Man, I've have got
to stop with these "funny" headings.