Saturday, May 8, 2010

Retro Game of the Day! Turbo

Retro Game of the Day! Turbo

Turbo by Sega, released to arcades in 1981. Ported to the Colecovision in 1982.

Something about Saturdays, I dunno what it is, but I always want to write about racing games. Here is one of the earliest really memorable one's, Sega's magnificent entry into the racing fray - who wanted to play Pole Position when you had Turbo instead?

Turbo was an impressive game for it's time, with a 3D view (the first, I believe, to present an over-the-car 3rd person perspective in this manner). The game was very notable for it's lush, detailed graphics (most driving games had extremly sparse background scenery back then). The visuals may look choppy and blocky now, but in 1981 this was the height of hi-resolution!

Also, the game has a very distinctive way of shifting environments - it doesn't. One minute you are driving next to a hillside, the next minute through a busy city. You are just suddenly "there," it is jarring but acceptable given the time period.

A version of this was released for the Colecovision, one of the big rivals for the King of Consoles at the time (Atari 2600). Having this game running in your home was the height of luxury, it looked and played so well compared to everything else! To really seal the deal, a special "expansion module" was availale for Colecovision to use with this game, a steering wheel and gas pedal. It really felt like a unique experience!

It's hard to look at a game like this right now, but I'd still love to get my hands on the old Coleco setup someday and relive the wonder of my childhood. Occasionally, I'll even come across a very old Turbo Arcade (not common, but not impossible) and still have a fun couple of laps. The game is primitive, but it is still quite enjoyable.

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