The Game: It’s your big chance to qualify for the big race at one of four tracks: the oval test track, Seaside, Suzuka, and the Mt. Fuji track from the original Pole Position. First, you try to get through the qualifying heat, racking up laps around the track as fast you can and accumulating as few wrecks as possible. If you pass muster, then you get to try it again with other cars on the track! (Atari, 1984; released circa 1987)
Memories: Until the Namco Museum series came along for the Playstation, featuring true emulation of the original arcade code and graphics, this is as close as we were going to get to the finesse of an arcade Pole Position game at home – at it wasn’t too far off the mark.
From the attract mode to the track selection menu, Pole Position II is a very close approximation of the arcade game, right down to the graphics. As always, trying to do a racing game with joystick controllers is a little bit tricky, but it’s no more awkward than the Atari 2600 version of Pole Position.
If anything, Pole Position II – which, for the record, was the only home version of the popular racing game’s sequel released in the 1980s (and, as was the case with the 7800 version of Ms. Pac-Man, the original game wasn’t ported to the 7800) – is another example of how much the Atari 7800 could have done to set the video game industry back on track, with Atari possibly regaining its industry leader throne for at least a little while, if only the console had been released in 1984/85 when it was created.