Graphics: 2
Sound: 3
Control: 3
Depth: 3
Overall: 3


By: David Crane
Published By: Activision
Released: 1980

Dragster is an early Activision game that I didn't quite figure out when I first got it. Unlike later Activision titles that really show what the Atari 2600 is capable of, Dragster is rather blocky and garish. And the game is over in seconds! And why do I keep blowing my engine? This is the point where I unplugged the game from my Video Computer System and played Megamania instead.

Years later, I gave the game a second chance—trying for Activision "patch scores"—and I'm really glad I did. Not many games are based solely on gear shifting (the unreleased Stunt Cycle comes close), so Dragster wins points based on novelty alone.

For a game that is over so fast, it's pretty complex; involving split second timing and "popping the clutch" to eke out the best time. Luckily, the hints are all in the manual and you can push the joystick to the right for a quick restart (which really helps considering how often you be replaying).

If you're like me and dismissed Dragster after trying it for a minute or two, give it another go. It's one of the most unique titles in the Atari library and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

- Ben Langberg


Game Variations

Game 1: Straight-ahead Dragster, one or two players
Game 2: Steerable Dragster, one or two players

World Class Dragster Club

If you want to become an expert drag racer, you'll want to come in under 6.50 seconds And if you can do better than 6 seconds, take a picture of the screen and send it to us. We'll enroll you in the World Class Dragster Club. Be sure to send a picture of the screen.