Retro Coin Op Synopsis
Atari’s first racer, the little-known 1974 game Gran Track 10, wasn’t the breakout hit that everyone had hoped it would be. Rather than abandoning the idea, the company simply decided to go bigger and better.
The following year, Atari released Indy 800, a truly revolutionary improvement on the Gran Track 10 formula. To start with, the game was actually in color. Rather than the colored plastic overlay shortcut, Atari gave each car true hues, allowing players to instantly tell one vehicle from another.
The multi-color display was necessary because of one of the game’s other innovations: 8-player simultaneous action. Two racers could line up on each side of the overhead display, each controlling his or her own steering wheel, brake pedal, gas pedal and even a horn. In the days before linked cabinets and force-feedback steering, this was as good as multi-player racing got, and gamers were elated.
Like most games of its era, Indy 800 was timed, forcing players to get as many laps in as they could before the clock expired. Points were awarded based on each lap completed, and the leader’s score flashed to let everyone else know who the top dog was. The game was also playable with 1-7 players, but nothing beat the thrill of outracing seven actual humans.
As player support swelled, Atari released a follow-up in 1976. Indy 4 cut the number of players in half, allowing owners of smaller arcades to join in the racing fun as well. It was the last Indy title produced by Atari, but the game’s spirit lived on in the company’s long-running Sprint series.
Arcade Machine Release History1975 - Indy 800
1976 - Indy 4