Fire Truck

Fire Truck

Where’s the fire? Well, there was no fire, just a fire truck that had to be steered around roads full of obstacles in the 1978 Atari game. The player(s) had to steer a noisy fire truck through the winding streets of Anytown, USA – accumulating points and (hopefully) earning some extended play with a high enough score.

Released by Atari in 1978, the biggest draw of Fire Truck was the unique two-player cabinet that allowed one person to sit in the front seat and control the cab, while another stood behind him and controlled the trailer. If you were by your lonesome, you could operate either wheel and let the computer drive the other part. Drop in your quarter and you were off to save the day.

The game was played on a black and white screen, with an overhead view of the truck, street and parked cars. To earn points, the truck had to travel as far as possible within the time limit, without causing a crash. That was easier said than done, since the winding streets and parked cars presented a real challenge for the drivers.

Oversteering could be a particular problem and almost certainly led to a crunchy end. To ease the stressful nature of the task, the front player had a horn at his disposal and the back player could ring a bell. Neither sound had any effect on gameplay, but that mattered little. In the heat of the moment, nothing was more cathartic than making some cool fire engine sounds. The buttons didn’t suffer from lack of use, we assure.

Player rankings consisted of “Sorry,” “So-So,” “Good” and “Ace.” There were several levels of difficulty for a chance to rack up the points and drive up your standings. Sound effects included the aforementioned bell and horn but the game also interjected skidding, brake squealing and crashing sounds throughout play. The whole package made Fire Truck a lot of fun – especially if you played with a friend. Maybe you never had to fight a fire, but getting there was more than half the fun.

Did you blast your horn with reckless abandon while playing Atari’s Fire Truck back in the day? We’d love to hear your memories of this classic arcade game in our comments section.

One Response to “Fire Truck”

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  1. SinjinTiger says:

    I remember the big steering wheel and the oversteer! It was a pain in the neck. But I didn’t think to add more quarters, that might have helped.

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