Pole Position: The Commercial

February 5th, 2007 by William


Growing up, I spent many an hour in the local round table pizza playing a legendary racing game called Pole Position. When I was 10 years old this was the closest I could get to driving a real car. It didn’t matter that the graphics were terrible, or that the car only had two speeds “hi” and “low”. I didn’t even care that when you went off course and hit a puddle of water your blocky open-wheel race car exploded. The game was simple and fun and I loved it.

As I got older I it became hard to find a Pole Position game in any arcade, and no one had Atari’s at home anymore. Video game graphics were getting better by the day once I could drive a real car it seemed that I might never hear the garbled magic words “Prepare to qualify” ever again. That is until I was driving across the country in an old Jeep with two of my friends. We stopped in a little Pizza place in Wheeling West Virginia and they had a Pole Position machine in the back. This one was the type you sit down in, a luxury I never had in my youth. So I popped a quarter in the slot and started playing. My first game was iffy, crashing into signs and puddles of water at every turn. But after that first game I was in the zone, and by my third quarter I had set the top score on the machine so high that I’m positive no one has topped it to this day. That may be the crowning achievement of my life.

So you can imagine how I felt when I found this vintage Pole Position commercial on YouTube. It really captures the essence of the game, especially the part at the end where the young boy is stuck in the “hands on the steering wheel turning” position.

-Bill Mertz

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4 Responses to “Pole Position: The Commercial”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    Wow Pole Position! That sure brings back memories! Personally I think Atari’s should still be sold mainstream, along with every single game to keep us former Atari addicts happy.

  2. Paul Says:

    Nice find. You ever play the 3D version? It blew my mind!

  3. DaveP Says:

    Excellent find Bill, I used to love that game and that is a cool advert to sum the game up. Thanks for posting :)

  4. William Says:

    I was actually considering buying an arcade console version of this game.
    They have it in 3D? I gotta check that out.

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About William

I am a twenty something car enthusiast. I spend most of my days working in a small restoration shop in Northern California that specializes in vintage Alfa Romeos. I also manage to do some freelance writing for a handful of automotive publications. When I'm not at the shop I can usually be found working on one of my own project cars, out driving on a good windy road or good jeep trail. Despite what my girlfriend says cars aren't what defines me, they are only what I do. When I have a chance I also love to go camping, play sports or generally do any type of outdoor activity. I don't take myself to seriously, so I hope you don't either.

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