Night Driver is an arcade game developed by Atari for release in the United States in October 1976. Night Driver is one of the earliest first-person racing video games and is commonly believed to be one of the first published video games to display real-time first-person graphics. The player controls a car which must be driven along a road at nighttime without crashing into the sides of the road as indicated by road side reflectors. The game is controlled with a single pedal for the accelerator, a wheel for steering and a four-selection lever for gear shifting. The coin-operated game had a choice of three difficulties (novice, pro and expert), which the player could select at game start. The turns were sharper and more frequent on the more difficult tracks. As play progresses, the road gets narrower and more winding.
The game length could be set by the owner to 50, 75, 100 or 125 seconds. After 300 points, a player is awarded bonus time equal to game time, but the score wraps around back to zero at 1000 points, so it is possible to reach 300 points more than once. Due to the additional points received for more difficult play, playing on the expert setting is actually the easiest to achieve extra time once a player has mastered the game.
The car the player is driving is not actually drawn on-screen. Instead, the car is a printed plastic insert that is laid under the screen. Also, the fact that the car is driving at night made it easier for the programmers to draw the environment with limited graphics at the time, as most features (street, buildings...) didn't need to be drawn because they were supposedly completely dark.
The arcade game began production in October 1976. Atari demonstrated the game at the AMOA show in November 1976, where it was one of several driving games demonstrated by Atari along with Sprint 2 and Namco's electro-mechanical F-1; the most talked-about driving game at the show was F-1. Night Driver also drew comparisons to Midway Manufacturing's Midnight Racer (later re-branded Datsun 280 ZZZAP) at the same show and an earlier German night driving video game (Nürburgring 1) demonstrated at the German IMA show in Spring 1976.
Atari released a port for the Atari VCS (Atari 2600) in 1980. It was programmed by Rob Fulop, who added color and additional features such as additional vehicles the player must avoid, as well as showing houses and trees along the sides of the road. The player pushes the fire button to accelerate the car forward and uses the paddle to steer the vehicle. It is not possible to shift gears in this version. The game offers eight variations. Some are timed and the player tries to score as much as they can in 90 seconds. Commodore published a version for the Commodore 64 in 1982.
Find digital download of this game on
This version of Night Driver was designed for Atari 2600, which was commercially very successful video game console of second generation produced by Atari from 1977 to 1992. It was the first console that used removable memory modules with games. At the time of its greatest fame, more than 30 million units of this console were sold for about $ 200 a piece. To date, the game library for this console contains nearly 1,000 original games. More information about the
Atari 2600 can be found here.
Recommended Game Controllers:
You can control this game easily by using the keyboard of your PC (see the table next to the game). However, for maximum gaming enjoyment, we strongly recommend using a USB joystick that you simply plug into the USB port of your computer. If you do not have a joystick, buy a suitable USB controller in Amazon or in some of your favorite online stores.
Available online emulators:
5 different online emulators are available for Night Driver. These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game Night Driver are summarized in the following table:
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