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Pole Position 2 Discussion


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I'm working on a review of Pole Position 2 and while I played these games as a kid when they were new or relevant, I was too young to understand the landscape of the industry or anything else. I want to address Pole Position 2 being the pack in and my research shows that it was a popular arcade game, so much so that it was in RePlay magazines top 6 cabinets three years straight, being first in 1984, top 5 in 85 and 6th in 86. 

Was it a popular arcade game by anybody's recollection and did it have a wow factor or popularity in the local arcades of the time? Any first hand accounts of it's reputation in the arcades or as an arcade game?

I ask because I want to get an understanding of the decision as a pack in and arcade popularity would make sense. I also have a few other thoughts that I'm saving for the review. I thought the only port was the 7800 but it appears to of had a commodore 64 release too. Was their any other releases outside of namco collection that I'm missing?

And of course I want input and opinions and any thoughts regarding the 7800 game, the arcade, or it being he pack in. It would be a great help to my writing. Thanks everybody!

 

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I believe it was a reasonably popular game at the time, and it's not a terrible pack-in game.  The main issue is that it had already been done very well on the 5200 (Pole Position), and the "II" didn't offer much different. 

As a game, it's a lot of fun.  It has a great sense of speed and very tight controls.  We've done PP2 as a high score challenge several times, and it's fun to get better scores the more one plays.  The variety of tracks is really good.

 

 

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Pole Position II was created in 1984 using just 32K. Compare the entire Pole Position II experience with another awesome game like Excitebike which was released the same year, and you can begin to appreciate what Pole Position II was, and the advantages the Atari 7800 started out with.

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At the time, and again I was a very young child, but I was not disappointed with it being the pack in. But today people point to it as being a poor choice. There was definitely better games that could've been packed in but I just don't think it was a mistake especially at the time. 

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I did not know anything about PPII until I found the 7800.  After the 1983 crash, which I now know happened, arcades sort of dried up in my area.  I never seen the arcade version until Namco started releasing their museum games.  By that time it didn't matter.  

Pole Position II was a smart pack-in game for the 7800.  I don't think any other game would have been as exciting.  Pole Position II's multiple tracks could have been the reason as it would have helped the player from getting bored with one game too quick.  Think about it.  If it had a game like Joust or Galaga, you'd play a few rounds and be done. With Pole Position II you'd play longer as you'd want to explore all tracks.  It had more to offer.

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11 hours ago, Atari 5200 Guy said:

I did not know anything about PPII until I found the 7800.  After the 1983 crash, which I now know happened, arcades sort of dried up in my area.  I never seen the arcade version until Namco started releasing their museum games.  By that time it didn't matter.  

Pole Position II was a smart pack-in game for the 7800.  I don't think any other game would have been as exciting.  Pole Position II's multiple tracks could have been the reason as it would have helped the player from getting bored with one game too quick.  Think about it.  If it had a game like Joust or Galaga, you'd play a few rounds and be done. With Pole Position II you'd play longer as you'd want to explore all tracks.  It had more to offer.

That's a good point, there is some variety in the tracks and by extension a variety of difficulty.  It seems like we all agree that it wasn't a bad pack in but is there anybody out there that wants to argue that it was a bad pack in?  

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You are correct, I guess I'm thinking in context of the US because that's my personal experience. I personally play a lot more Asteroids than Pole Position 2 today, but being a young gamer in the late 80s I seemed to naturally gravitate towards pole position 2.  So I'm not sure if I could call one definitely better or not.  It's all subjective I suppose. 

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Hard to choose there.  Both games are well done, though Asteroids does have the unique feature of allowing for two-player simultaneous play.   That was a cool thing for an Asteroids game.  I don't believe any other version does that.

🖖 Going to the final frontier, gaming...

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Atari at this point was losing it- there was a big difference between 1984 and 1986 as far as video games were concerned. It was a very bad move to be two years behind at the point. The 7800 business model made sense in 84... Pole Position for the Atari VCS was a popular game, the 7800 PP2 was gonna have 4 tracks and good graphics... Asteroids and Centipede had great 2 player updates. There was Food Fight, Robotron and Ms Pac Man as opposed to that crap Pac Man game. It just needed 3-5 original 7800 only games to move the system. People always compare PP2 to Super Mario Brothers... and thats just not fair to PP2. But.... thats what consumers did and the rest is history. 

I think the early system killer was Karateka 

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9 hours ago, Funkmaster V said:

Atari at this point was losing it- there was a big difference between 1984 and 1986 as far as video games were concerned. It was a very bad move to be two years behind at the point. The 7800 business model made sense in 84... Pole Position for the Atari VCS was a popular game, the 7800 PP2 was gonna have 4 tracks and good graphics... Asteroids and Centipede had great 2 player updates. There was Food Fight, Robotron and Ms Pac Man as opposed to that crap Pac Man game. It just needed 3-5 original 7800 only games to move the system. People always compare PP2 to Super Mario Brothers... and thats just not fair to PP2. But.... thats what consumers did and the rest is history. 

I think the early system killer was Karateka 

I have to agree with this.  If released as originally intended, in 1984, PPII as a pack-in mates sense.  By 1986 Nintendo already controlled the video game market and had established public expectations to a point.  Sadly the 7800 and PPII didn't matter at that point, nor did Atari.  

I never knew people compared PPII with SMB.  That's not how I would base comparisons because the NES was an entertainment system whereas the 7800 was more of an arcade style system.  At least that's how I would have approached them considering the majority of the 7800's library was made up of arcade ports. That's my opinion about it.

Back when the NES was king I also had the 7800, hooked up side by side.  Both got equal amounts of game play.  If an NES game was giving me issues I'd take a break and play the 7800. There were times when a friend spent the night with me and even a whole summer.  We'd play the 7800 more because the twin player games were more friendly.

But I could not rightfully compare the two together as competitors because to me both are from two different generations.  At least to me.  So, from my perspective, PPII was a nice pack-in. I just wish they would have put a boxed copy in the package.  That's my only complaint.

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1 hour ago, Atari 5200 Guy said:

Yes...it made no sense to me to put a cart only in the 7800 box and sell boxed copies of a game every 7800 buyer would already own on store shelves.  Made no sense.

It made little sense indeed. I could see selling boxed copies in PAL but for the US it makes no sense. Of course today I'm not complaining because the box looks uniform on my shelf but I do wish they would've included a boxed copy with the console. 

As stated before I don't think it's fair to compare smb and pp2 so I won't. 1984 and 1986 were very different in terms of video games but i still think pole position 2 has it's place on the Prosystem. 

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I don't think the NES got any Pole Position game and Namco was cranking out their arcade games or the Famicom like crazy but I have not seen Pole Position.  The 2600, 5200, and A8 line got the first one.  We don't have to include the SMS.  Sega made most of those games.  Did I miss any one?

The 16-bit era got one Pole Position game but I am not sure if it has any relation to the originals. The 32-bit era is when the Namco Museum collections started showing up.  So, yea, I think PPII pack-in was a 7800 exclusive. Kind of neat when you see it that way.

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