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Night Driver

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Night Driver is a 1976 arcade game by Atari Inc. It is the original first-person racing game, and is believed to be the first published game to display real-time first-person graphics.

The player controls a car which must be driven along a road at night time without crashing into the sides of the road as indicated by road side reflectors. The coin operated game had a choice of three tracks from which the player could choose at game start. The turns were sharper and more frequent on the more difficult tracks.

Due to limitation of arcade technology at the time, the car the player is driving is not actually drawn by the game. 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 things (street, buildings, ...) didn't need to be drawn because they were supposedly completely dark.

There were two versions of the cabinet manufactured, an upright and a cockpit. The upright version had a blacklight installed inside the cabinet which illuminated the bezel.


After the success of the arcade, Rob Fulop ported the game over to Atari's home system at the time, the Atari 2600, the Apple II and the Commodore 64.

The Atari version uses the paddles to control the vehicle. The player pushes the fire button to accelerate the car forward, and uses the paddle to steer the vehicle, although it was not possible to shift gears in this version. Every frame the program toggles drawing either the vehicle and road hazards or the road posts that defined the track. This causes the game graphics to flicker continually. The game offers eight different levels. Some of the levels are timed, and the player tries to score as much as they can in 90 seconds, and others are not timed. The consumer port also added features not present in the coin operated version such as additional vehicles the player must avoid as well as showing houses and trees along the sides of the road.

The Apple version uses the paddle to steer. The numeric buttons 1 to 4 change the gear and thus the speed.

The Commodore 64 version is called Night Drive.[citation needed]

In 2007 (30.12) Karoshi Corporation released a version of this game for MSX platform, that included all original game modes plus a random track generator.

In 2008 Krzysztof "Xxl" Dudek, Michal "Miker" Szpilowski and Krzysztof "Kaz" Ziembik made version for 8-bit Atari computers.

In 2009 Krzysztof "Xxl" Dudek made extension for VBXE card, which extend graphics of Atari XL/XE.

The Atari 2600 version of Night Driver was made available on Microsoft's Game Room service for its Xbox 360 console and for Windows-based PCs in May 2010.

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