Racing, often called "the sport of kings." That may refer to horse racing, but I like to think that auto racing is really regal as well.
Case in point: ENDURO
Made by Activition in 1983 Enduro is the ultimate in four-bit endurance racing. I'm not just whistling Dixie. It really does test you, as the race takes place twenty-four hours a day. Like it's real-life counterpart 24 Hours of Le Mans, Enduro begins at sunrise, and ends at sunset. The odometer then resets, and one must continue the race for the next day.
Accordingly, the race conditions change throughout the day. The position of the sun changes overhead from morning, afternoon, dusk, nightfall, and then dawn. Also, one has to compete with not only A.I. racers, but also adverse conditions. Snowy mountains, fog, and night-time driving add to the challenges of this classic.
Enduro was programmed by physicist Larry Miller (programmer of another Activision hit, Spider Fighter). It's of interest to note that the beautifully illustrated manual also contains a photo of Miller, as well as gaming tips from him. These days few gamers can tell you how programmed what, let alone what the programmer looks like. It's not the gamer's fault. It's more so the fault of the companies these days for wanting a faceless product. The game gets the fame, but not the programmers. Then again, programmers these days probably make a better living than the programmers of yore. That's another discussion, for another post.
Speaking of the manual, I LOVE the artwork in this booklet! I'm a big fan of that style of 80's pop-art. The box art is something to behold, but the manual blows me away with it's gorgeous map and trivia section. I highly recommend going to Atari Age and checking it out. It's the sort of artwork that reminds of summers as a kid. Summer in the 80's meant video games, pop music, summer movies, new G.I. Joes, ice cream, and trips to Kennywood. The artwork in this instruction manual says it all.
How does Enduro stack up against other classic racers? Well, from my personal experience, I've never been good at racing games. Enduro seems to be one of the few that I'm actually decent at. I'll improve with more work on it, as I would other racing games. To me this game gives Atari's better known classic Pole Position a literal run for its money. While I have fond memories of the Pole Position cartoon series, I think Enduro takes the lead in term of game play.
I also enjoy the way Enduro looks. The colors are vibrant, and do justice to the pop-art box illustration. The night time levels are especially challenging, as you can only see the purple tail lights of the other cars! And when the sun rises, and it will rise, you have to race like a bat out of hell to the finish line.
I give Enduro five joysticks out of five! It gets better with more game play. It's a classic where you can plug in, switch on, and drop out for a few hours. That's what good video gaming is about; an escape from reality.
Go to Atari Age to see a full profile of the game, as well as the beautiful manual artwork. CLICK HERE!
Text copyright Riley Joyce 2015
Enduro is copyright Activision 1983.