sprint2

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.

7 thoughts on “Sprint 2 By Kee Games

  1. mwentworth says:

    Thanks for posting Blinddog! Sprint 2 is at the top of my want list, I missed out on one earlier this year on Craigslist somewhere up your way for lack of a vehicle. My best memories are of a Sprint 8 in crowded arcade, it was just very cool and chaotic and fun, even though some guy was giving me crap about driving the pink car. I never saw an eight player version again, but I think the Sprint 2 would suit me just fine.

  2. Blinddog, thank you as always for posting such awesome videos! The first time I ever was able to play Sprint 2 was not at an arcade though that came later but at our local County Fair, very bizarre to have 30 arcade titles all under a tent with straw and dirt to stand on. That same night was also the only time that I saw or played the “infamous” Death Race game. :)

  3. Geed says:

    Kee Games was really Atari. Nolan Bushnell created a second company so he could put out dupes of arcade games and have more of the arcade share. Kee was named for his next door neighbor Joe Keenan who Bushnell made president of that company. Funnily enough, Keenan was great at his position and there was a period when Atari itself was almost out of business so the two companies merged to save Atari. They played it like they were competitors but if anyone had checked the board of directors lists, Keenan was on Atari’s and Bushnell was on Kee’s. Tricky guy, that Nolan.

  4. mwentworth says:

    VicSage, Some of my favorite arcade memories are from our county fair! From around ’80 to about ’82 there were two or three tents each year. The first time I ever played Donkey Kong was at the fair. I still remember bringing a spare t-shirt to wipe the dust of the screen to play and having to have a friend actually block the sunlight to play a game.

  5. We used to have an arcade tent at our local fairs too. I remember playing hogan’s alley and ghosts ‘n’ goblins there. I haven’t been to the fair in decades, so I have no idea if they still have such arcades or not.

  6. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Love seeing that spinning wheel action, Blinddog! I greatly enjoyed dashing around those curves on Sprint like an out-of-control driver.

    And those B&W games were often spotted in county fairs in these parts, too.
    With all the spinning rides luring ticket buyers and rock music blaring the latest from ten years past, the impromptu arcade tents always drew me in first (and last).

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