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Atari Racing Pak


The Professor

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Hey gang! We were in chat tonight discussing early Atari 2600 games, and what felt like the demise of the driving controller. Pole Position came up which would've been an awesome game for the driving controller, but it was not to be.

It feels to me like a financial decision was made, probably by Ray Kassar, around the time Pole Position came out on the 2600 that all games should be compatible with the joystick, unless explicitly designed as a paddle game. It seems like around the time the silver box games came out that support for less common controller types was mostly dropped. The driving controller, the keypad controller, and the Star Raiders touch pad which had interchangeable overlays but was never used for any other game. With the exception of the Sesame Street games which used the Kids controller it seems like there was a directive to keep most all games joystick compatible

Before this happened the driving controller was a cool accessory for the 2600! It was essentially a one player paddle controller.

Atari released the Atari Racing Pak which included Indy 500, Slot Racers and a pair of driving controllers! I haven't seen many of these packs before but thought this was a cool bit of history and wanted to share with everyone.

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I love these packages, there was a Back to School pack as well with keyboard controllers. I love the artwork of the boxes on the outer package, then the plain white boxes inside. :)

 

Here's a thought: wouldn't it have been great if Atari used the same innards for the 5200 controller keypad as the ones in the Video Touch Pad?

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I remember during the late 1980's when I had an NES and bought that 2600 off a classmate for $10.  Mom and I went to Wal-Mart in another town and I found a Star Raiders for the 2600 on the shelf.  I think we gave $5 for it.  Never been opened and came with the keypad controller.  I liked it but felt the game was not as in-depth as the 5200 version I had.  But I liked the artwork on the box.  

 

One of the things I think the driving controllers would have been great for...Tempest.  The 2600 was suppose to get a Tempest port and the driving controller would have been a perfect rotary controller for a Tempest port.

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