Road Runner

Platforms: Arcade, Atari ST, Commodore 64, IBM PC/Compatibles


Main Genre:
Licensed Title
Visual Presentation:
Scrolling (Horizontal or Vertical)


Arcade version of Road Runner
Arcade version of Road Runner

Road Runner is an action game originally released in arcades by Atari Games in 1986 and later ported to several home computers including the Atari ST, Commodore 64, IBM PC, and more. The game is inspired by the famous Warner Brothers cartoon series; as the titular Road Runner, players need to eat bird seed found along a winding desert road while evading Wile E. Coyote who is in constant pursuit. The game features a graphical style along with music and sound effects which remain faithful to the original cartoons.


The game screen in Road Runner scrolls from right to left and depicts a desert road similar to the ones often found in the cartoon series. As the Road Runner, players run along the road and can eat the piles of bird seed that are found. Players need to make sure the Road Runner's energy is kept up; if five bird seed piles are skipped, the Road Runner becomes faint and a life is lost (A meter at the top of the screen shows the current bird seed level). Throughout the game Wile E. Coyote is constantly chasing the Road Runner, and players lose a life if caught. While the coyote often just runs, he can't keep up to the Road Runner at full speed so he'll frequently use a variety of gadgets and inventions (usually from the Acme Corporation) in an attempt to capture the road runner (especially if players are able to get far ahead of him). Rockets, roller skates, giant springs, dynamite, helicopters, and many more inventions inspired by the cartoon will give the coyote an advantage (such as extra speed or the ability to jump off of the road instead of having to stay on it). This can make it trickier for the player to avoid capture, however the inventions often backfire so if players can evade long enough they'll have a brief moment before the coyote is able to recover.

The desert landscape can also present obstacles; While the road begins fairly wide and straight, it soon turns narrow with lots of turns making navigating more difficult (since the Road Runner has to stay on the road, the narrow roads provide less room to avoid the coyote). Other obstacles such as oncoming traffic and falling boulders appear in some levels too; these will cost the player a life if hit, however they also provide an opportunity to provide cover for an escape. Players begin the game with a limited number of lives and they game ends when all are lost to either being caught by the coyote or being hit by an obstacle. Bonus lives can be earned for crossing certain point thresholds throughout the game.


Platform: Arcade
Produced by: Norm Avellar, Greg Rivera
Directed by: Mike Hally
Backgrounds by: Sam Comstock, Mark West
Animation by: Susan G. McBride
Audio by: Hal Canon, Earl Vickers
Location Tech: Rob Rowe
Support: Jack Aknin, Brad Fuller, Rich Moore, Mike Albaugh, Pat McCarthy, Don Paauw
Special Thanks to: Ed Logg, Chris Drobny, Gary Stempler, Dennis Harper, Synthia Petroka, Dave Pettigrew, et al
Platform: IBM PC/Compatibles
IBM Conversion by: John Siegesmund


Click on a picture below to view a larger version.
Arcade Version