Road Runner

Road Runner

Retro Coin Op Synopsis

“Beep! Beep!”

Warner Bros.’ speedy, scheming cartoon duo came to the arcade in 1985’s Road Runner. All the classic Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote elements were there—the desert setting, gadgets from Acme, little “Help” signs, piles of birdseed… even the familiar “Looney Tunes” classical music themes—all putting players right into the middle of the cartoon action.

If you’ve ever been a kid, you know the routine: Road Runner runs, Coyote chases. The Atari version followed that formula faithfully, with players controlling the Road Runner’s mad dash to safety. Using the joystick, players sped along the desert highways, stopping occasionally to nibble on some tasty birdseed, down some lemonade or swallow some steel shot (more on that later). When hazards crossed your path—oil slicks, mines, crevices, etc.—the “hop” button allowed RR to clear them safely, belting out his trademarked “Beep! Beep!” for emphasis.

Meanwhile, Wile E. cooked up a number of nasty tricks to catch his tasty prey. The steel shot was a setup to give the Road Runner a belly full of metal, allowing the Coyote to follow on rocket roller skates with a huge magnet. If that didn’t work, Wile E. tried a few more old favorites—spring shoes, personal helicopters and so on. The action moved on from busy highways to precarious plateaus to twisty mountain trails, with Wile E. in constant, hungry pursuit.

Despite the soft mid-80’s arcade market, Road Runner had an army of built-in fans, the Looney Tunes addicts who had grown up watching the endless desert chase on Saturday morning television. Thanks to them, Atari’s Road Runner found a welcome home in arcades, and later on several home video game systems.

Arcade Machine Release History

1985 - Road Runner

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