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Box artwork for Slot Racers.
Box artwork for Slot Racers.
Slot Racers
Year released1978
System(s)Atari 2600
Designer(s)Warren Robinett
LinksSlot Racers ChannelSearchSearch

Slot Racers was one of the eleven Atari 2600 titles that were part of the second wave of games released in 1978. It can best be compared to a stripped down Combat. Two players race around a maze, attempting to shoot each other with missiles. In most cases, the missiles turn corners, and in all cases, the player vehicles are incapable of going in reverse. There is technically no single player option, so the game really does require a second player to play the game properly. Slot Racers is not one of the more fondly remembered Atari 2600 games. It was released as Maze under the Sears Tele-Games label.

Controls[edit | edit source]

  • Color/BW: Switch between color display and black & white display. (This feature made the game look better on black & white TVs that were still prominent at the time of the game's release.)
  • Difficulty Switches: Normally, when the difficulty swich is set to "b", players can fire a new missile whenever they like. The new missiles that get fired replace the existing on-screen missiles. When set to the "a" difficulty, players can not fire missiles as long as an existing missile is on the screen. In this case, a missile can only be fired after the existing missile either hits the opponent, or is reclaimed by the player.
  • Game Select: Select a game variation. The variations cycle from 1 to 9 and start back over at 1. Before a new variation is selected, you must first cycle through all four available mazes. See the Game Variation section below.
  • Game Reset: Starts a new game in whatever game variation is currently selected. The scores are not reset to 0.
  • Joystick: Use the joystick to steer your vehicle through the maze. Steering is relative and not absolute. You must press left to make your vehicle move counter-clockwise, and you must hold right to move your vehicle clockwise. Pressing up accelerates your car, and holding down applies the brakes.
  • Button: Press the button to fire a missile. Missiles generally go straight unless they are forced to turn or double back. Pressing the joystick left or right in conjunction with firing a missile programs the missile to always make clockwise or counter-clockwise turns wherever possible.

Game Variations[edit | edit source]

Game Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Vehicle Speed Slowest Slow Medium Fast Fast Faster Fastest Slow Fast
Missile Speed Fast Fast Fast Fast Slow Slow Slow No turns No turns

Each game of Slot Racers begins with both players at 0 points. A player earns one point every time they hit their opponent with a missile. The game ends when one player reaches 25 points. Games are determined by three factors; the maze arrangement, the speed of the vehicles, and the speed or behavior of the missiles.

Maze Arrangement
Below are the four maze arrangements that are available for every game variation. Some offer more defense, and some off less.
Vehicle Speed
Vehicle Speed determines what the top speed of both players' vehicles are. The faster the speed, the trickier the vehicles are to steer. Vehicles will generally turn every corner when they are forced to, or perform a 180 if they travel down a dead-end. Vehicle speed generally increases throughout the first 7 variations, and the slows down a bit for games 8 and 9.
Missile Speed
Games 1 through 4 feature Missiles that travel faster than the vehicles, no matter how fast the vehicles are. Games 5 through 7 feature Missiles that travel slower then the top speed of the vehicles, changing the strategy somewhat to getting ahead of your opponent and bombing them. Games 8 and 9 feature Missiles that do not turn corners at all, and come to a stop as soon as they hit a wall, so a direct hit must be fired to succeed.