The Game: A day at the races is just another day at the office for you. Pick from a variety of tracks and difficulty levels and try to achieve maximum speed…with a minimum of collisions. (Epyx, 1984)
Memories: Not quite as pretty as Turbo, Pitstop is a port of a game that Epyx had already made popular on the Atari home computers and the Commodore 64. Though the crash was in full swing by now, Epyx seemed to be hedging its bets by producing console games for the Colecovision and the Atari 2600. But graphically, and in terms of smooth game play, Turbo wins the race ahead of Pitstop in just about every area – and it’s all about control.
Pitstop is one of a handful of driving games that can be controlled with the Expansion Module #2 Driving Controller, but it really doesn’t benefit from that controller. (Come to think of it, of the games that support the steering wheel, only Turbo really makes it essential; the rest of the driving games for the Colecovision seem to be better off without it from this player’s experience.) I’ve played Pitstop with the standard joystick, the Driving Controller and the Super Action Controller, and I prefer it as a joystick game.
The choice of controllers alone, however, means that I’m more likely to pull Pitstop out to play it any given day of the week, as opposed to going through the arduous task of setting up the bulky steering wheel/gas pedal combo. For that alone, it’s still a contender in the race, even if the game play becomes a bit frustrating as the player’s car bounces repeatedly off of impossible-to-pass formations of competing cars. (Obviously, Pitstop hails from the era of video gaming that embraced cartoon physics rather than the current trend toward just how accurately debris can scatter from a photorealistic explosion.)