I’m a little tired, so I will turn to Pitstop.

Review Date: January 25, 2021

Release Date: Who the Heck Knows, 1983

Platform: Atari 800

Developer: Epyx

Genre: Racing

There’s a candy cane in the box on the left and a Christmas tree on the right. Ok then.

Anecdotes: Racing games, even in 1983, were a popular format. Pitstop had some competition at the time, mainly coming from Pole Position. Epyx had to make their racing game stand out in some way, so they focused on an aspect that was overlooked by game developers: the pitstop.

And there is my pitiful crew now. That’s Tire Jack on the left and Phil up in the back.

Description: As a racer, you’ll start with a bunch of options. There can be up to 4 players. There are six tracks, three difficulty levels, and three race lengths. Regardless of the options chosen, a racer will start the track will a full fuel gauge and blue tires. As the race proceeds, the fuel gauge will slowly deplete and the tires will change color. The driver will have to judge whether or not to make the pitstop. The goal is to complete the race.

Mini-circuit complete! Give me my $168,000, or I’ll take $1,000 per hour for a week.

Positives: It’s an excellent concept. The colored tires are a great way to indicate damage and determine if a pitstop is needed. The pitstop control take a moment to understand, but they’re rather intuitive and can allow a tire change and gas fill and the same time. The game keeps the stops simple by only using a 4 member crew and one of them does nothing but raise a flag to get the driver moving again.

My tires are four different colors. Time to pit.

Negatives: Good God, the scenery is bland. The viewpoint on the track is set too high to see the horizon and there is very little detail on the grass. In the pits, overfilling the gas gauge doesn’t just waste gas, time, or money, it empties the tank. That makes no sense. Finally, in one player mode, it does not appear there is anyone to race against.

1:06 pitstop time! I’m ready for the Indy 500 now.

Grade: C

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