Sprint 2 By Kee Games

Sprint 2 was released by Atari’s subsidiary Kee Games in 1976 and is an early 1 or 2 player top-down racing game. Atari and Kee Games had both released racing games previously but this was their first one to use a microprocessor which allowed a lot more freedom in the game design. The engineer no longer had to create a dedicated circuit to handle ever function or object the game needed. Now the microprocessor was able to take care of a lot of it and allowed for refined graphics, 12 different tracks to choose from, four cars on the track, computer controlled opponents and on screen text that will award you a rank at the end of the race like “Granny,” “Rookie” or “Pro”. The controls for this game include a steering wheel, a four speed shifter and a gas pedal with an identical setup for a second player.

Screenshots of Atari’s first racer Gran Trak 10 and Sprint 2

The objective of the game is to keep your car within the boundaries of the race track and complete as many laps as possible before the timer runs out. If you’re playing a single player game then you control the white car and compete against the black and two gray cars which are computer controlled. In a two player game one person controls the white car while the other controls the black one, and the two gray cars are computer controlled. If you collide with another car or an oil slick (if the option is enabled) then your car goes into a semi-controllable skid that you will recover from but if you hit the side of the track a crash sound will be heard and your car will stop. Your score is calculated by passing checkpoints on the track and each full lap will earn you 10 points. Each track has its own extended time bonus and if you reach it you will receive extra game time. Here is a video to show it in action.

Sprint 2 was very popular for Kee Games. The Sprint series continued through the 70’s and 80’s with Sprint 4 and Sprint 8 in 1977, Sprint 1 in 78 – The numbers refer to the number of players that could play at one time. Super Sprint and Championship Sprint came out in 86 and Badlands was the last one in 1989. They have been ported to quite a few different platforms, the NES version is the one I remember best. I have found that a lot of people seem to have fond memories of playing this game and it is always well received at shows or when I have people over. If you find a Sprint 2 out there somewhere be sure to stop and play a game.