Night Driver (Atari)
I think today I’m going to dial it back a bit; I’ve been fixated for too long on the graphically impressive or highly original. I think I’m just going to talk about an old favorite, I think I’ll talk about Night Driver. Night Driver is not a graphically impressive game, nor is it particularly astounding in the auditory department, but it has the one thing that trumps them all, fun. On a visual level Night Driver is seriously lacking, all you’ll really be seeing is a shit-ton of red-ish pegs whizzing by at incredible speeds, you’ll also see a tree and a house shooting by on the sidelines but you’ll only be seeing them for fractions of a second. There are also large blue cars that will fly by you while honking dramatically; they look quite a bit better than your… thing… I don’t know what that’s supposed to be. When you crash the screen will flash yellow, which is a bit startling when you’ve gotten used to the black background. If you crash into one of the cars (heavens forbid) it will get completely flattened. Sounds are nothing special just the standard fare of engine noises, tires squeaking, horns honking, and cars crashing, nothing special. The real meat and potatoes lie in the gameplay. A brief anecdote before starting though, I just really need to mouth off to AtGames for a moment, when I got into Atari I had a Flashback like many did, when I got to Night Driver though I was astonished at how horrible it was. The game was completely unplayable and I was shocked that the game was on the console or that Atari even released it to begin with. You see I was playing Night Driver with a joystick, this is not advisable. Only after getting this game and a set of working paddle controllers did I realize just how fun this game is. This is your fairly standard racing game, but instead of racing against the computer or other players it’s just you and a time limit. High scores are the name of the game here, and you get a high score by driving as far as possible as fast as possible, your score raises as you progress. For beginners there is game one and five, these tracks are incredibly easy only requiring a minimal amount of steering to get along. Games two and six are the intermediate courses, these are the ones you’ll really want to start off on as they require much faster reflexes and a small amount of course memorization. Games three and seven or the hard tracks, they’ll kick your ass no question about it, these tracks require a large amount of course memorization and you’ll even need to let go of the accelerator a few times the turns are so sharp. If you want a random challenge then I’d recommend games four and eight. The tracks are split up into timed (1-4) and non-timed (5-8) runs, the non-timed runs are perfect for practice but the real fun lies in finding out how good you are under a time limit. This is an incredibly common game; it’s so common in fact that I won’t even quote you a price on it, it’s an R1 you probably already have multiple copies of it. A bit of advice though, if you see a copy of Night Driver that is the Sears picture label variation for less than 10 dollars you should pick it up immediately, it is an R6 on the AA rarity scale and well worth the price, if only to show it off. No Collector’s Zone today, the game’s good, and cheap, a winning combination.