Pole Position

Platforms: Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20, IBM PC/Compatibles, Intellivision, TI-99/4A, Vectrex, ZX Spectrum


Main Genre:
Racing / Driving
3rd-Person , Behind view
Featured Vehicles:


IBM PC version of Pole Position
IBM PC version of Pole Position
Pole Position is an action racing game originally released in arcades by Namco in 1982 and later ported to numerous home computers and game consoles. In the game the player controls a Formula One race car with the goal of racing against other cars in a grand prix to earn the highest score possible.


Pole Position begins with a qualifying round players must complete before the grand prix begins. In this round players need to complete one lap of the race track in 73 seconds; if the goal is not met, players can continue racing until time runs out and then the game is over. If the qualifying lap is successfully completed, the player begins the grand prix when time runs out. The grand prix has eight possible starting positions with the players starting spot a result of how fast the qualifying lap was finished. Finish fast enough and players can begin in the number one spot known as the Pole Position.

The game is viewed with a pseudo 3D view from behind the players race car. All rounds of the game are played on the Fuji Racetrack (Pole Position is the first racing game to be based on a real racing circuit). While racing, if the player wanders off the road the race car will slow down greatly. Additionally the race car will explode if the player crashes into other cars or the billboards on the side of the road; if this happens the car will reappear in the center of the road after a short delay.


In Pole Position points are earned for the amount of distance driven, passing other cars, and for time left on the clock as follows:
  • Every 5 meters driven: 50 points
  • Passing another car: 50 points
  • Time bonus: 200 points per second left on the clock
Additionally, bonus points are earned after the qualifying lap based on the starting position:
  • Pole Position (Lap Time: 58"50 seconds): 4,000 points
  • 2nd Position (Lap Time: 60"00 seconds): 2,000 points
  • 3rd Position (Lap Time: 62"00 seconds): 1,400 points
  • 4th Position (Lap Time: 64"00 seconds): 1,000 points
  • 5th Position (Lap Time: 66"00 seconds): 800 points
  • 6th Position (Lap Time: 68"00 seconds): 600 points
  • 7th Position (Lap Time: 70"00 seconds): 400 points
  • 8th Position (Lap Time: 73"00 seconds): 200 points
Pole Position racecar artwork


Platform: Atari 2600
Programmed by: Betty Ryan Tylko, John Allred, Douglas B. Macrae
Cover artwork by: Terry Hoff
Platform: Atari 5200
Cover artwork by: Terry Hoff
Platform: TI-99/4A
Programmed by: Jim Dramis, Paul Urbanus, Garth Dollahite
Platform: ZX Spectrum
Programmed by: Graeme J. Devine


Click on a picture below to view a larger version.
Arcade Version
Upright cabinet
Arcade Version
Cockpit variation


Instruction Manual
Atari 5200
Instruction Manual


Product catalogs, magazines, flyers, or other documentation Pole Position has appeared in.
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Arcade Flyers
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Packaging/Label Styles

This game has releases with the following standardized packaging styles: