720°

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720°
720°
Promotional artwork for the arcade game
Developer(s) Atari Games
Publisher(s) Atari Games
Designer(s) John Salwitz
Dave Ralston
Composer(s) Hal Canon, Earl Vickers, Brad Fuller (Arcade version), Neil Brennan (NES version)
Platform(s) Arcade game, Various
Release date(s) December 1986
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Atari System 2
CPU T-11 @ 10 MHz
Sound Unamplified Stereo - YM2151 @ 3.579545 MHz, 2 x Pokey @ 1.789772 MHz, TMS5220 @ 625 KHz
Display Horizontal, Raster, medium resolution (Used: 512 × 384)

720 Degrees, or 720°, is a 1986 arcade game by Atari Games.[1] 720°, a skateboarding game, is notable in that along with BMX Simulator, it is one of the first extreme sports video games, and has a unique timed structure that requires the player score points in order to keep the game going. The game's name comes from the "ultimate" trick, turning a full 720° (two complete circles) in the air after jumping off a ramp. 720° has the player controlling a skateboarder ripping around a middle-class neighborhood. By doing jumps and tricks, the player can eventually acquire enough points to compete at a skate park.

Story[edit]

From official materials:

"It's just you, your trusty skateboard, and a hundred bucks as you skate, jump, slide, spin and move through four levels of difficulty, picking up loose cash, earning money through events, and finally, earning a ticket to one of the big skate parks! If you're lucky, you'll get to buy some rad equipment to make you the coolest skateboarder alive."

Overview[edit]

The game begins with the player controlling a skateboarder skating around a middle-class neighborhood using common objects as ramps for jumps.

The player begins with a number of "tickets," each of which granting admission to one of four skate parks, or "events," in Skate City, the "hub" between the parks. When a park is entered, one ticket is expended. The player gains additional tickets from earning points. Whenever the player isn't in an event, a bar counts down the time remaining until the arrival of deadly, skateboarder-hungry killer bees. Once the bees arrive the player still has a small amount of time with which to get to a park, but the longer the player delays this the faster the bees become, until they are unavoidable. Getting caught by the bees ends the game, though on default settings the player may elect to continue his game by inserting more money. Reaching a park with a ticket gives the player the chance to earn points, medals and money with which to upgrade his equipment, and resets the timer.

The player is constantly racing to perform stunts, both in the events and in the park itself, in order to earn the points needed to acquire tickets. Thus, the player’s score is directly tied to the amount of time he has to play the game. In order to win, the player must complete a total of sixteen events through four hubs, a difficult task.

Structure[edit]

The "Skate or Die" message appearing, as the player is running out of time

The game consists of four levels each consisting of four events:

  • Ramp: the player climbs around a half-pipe structure, trying to gain more and more height and performing tricks in the air to earn the most possible points. This ends when the timer runs out.
  • Downhill: a long course consisting of slopes and banks must be navigated to reach a finish line. The quicker the player reaches the finish, the more points are earned.
  • Slalom: an obstacle course in which the player is required to pass between pairs of yellow flags scattered across the course. Each gate passed grants a little extra time, and scoring depends on time remaining upon crossing the finish line.
  • Jump: the player jumps from a series of ramps, attempting to hit a bull’s-eye target off the screen. There are cryptic marks on the ramp before the jump that provide clues as to the location of the target. This ends when the timer runs out or the player crosses the finish line, whichever comes first.

Scattered through the levels are several 'map' icons placed on the ground which when activated give you a map with the roads, parks, shops, and your location marked on it. Also scattered about the level are hazards and obstacles, jumping over hazards earns points.

The player earns points and money for high scores in each event, and doing well at the events earns you the cash needed to buy equipment that improves player performance, and a chance at a bronze, silver, or gold medal. Completing all four events in all four classes completes the game.

Equipment[edit]

There are four types of skating equipment to be purchased at different shops. The prices for each are the same, beginning at $25. Upon each return to Skate City after visiting a park, the price increases by $25, to a maximum of $250.

  • Shoes: Allow higher jumps and faster acceleration.
  • Board: Allows higher top speed.
  • Pads: Give quicker recovery from wiping out.
  • Helmet: Makes the player more aggressive, according to the console description; which translates to making the player rotate faster.

Arcade version[edit]

The cabinet for this game is unique. The speakers for the game are mounted atop the cabinet in a structure resembling a boom box, in line with the game's skate-rat theme. The display is larger than that for a typical arcade game and very high resolution (similar to that used for Paperboy). The main control is also unique. This joystick moves in a circular fashion, instead of in compass directions like standard joysticks. The game also contains two buttons, one for "kicking" (which refers not to actual "kicking", but refers to pushing the skate board with a foot for speed) and the other for jumping. The game supported up to two players, alternating play.

Legacy[edit]

The game's catchphrase inspired another popular skating video game, Electronic Arts' Skate or Die!, in 1987, which in turn, spawned another sequel called Ski or Die.

Ports[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 28/40[5]
Crash 81%[3]
Game Informer 9.75/10[6]
Sinclair User 10/10 stars[4]
Your Sinclair 9/10[2]
The Games Machine 83%[9]
Micro Hobby 5/5 stars[7]
ACE 721[8]

The game was ported to the Commodore 64 (twice) in 1987, the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum in 1988, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1989, and the Game Boy Color in 1999. There is also an unreleased port for the Atari Lynx. Sinclair User described it as "US Gold's finest hour". On Side 2 of the game cassette, there was a recording of the music from the original arcade game.[10]

Emulated versions of the game are included in Midway Arcade Treasures, released in 2003 and 2004, and Midway Arcade Origins, released in 2012.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "720°". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 5 Oct 2013. 
  2. ^ "720 Degrees". Ysrnry.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  3. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  4. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  5. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  6. ^ "Classic Reviews: 720°". Game Informer 10 (91): 162. November 2000. 
  7. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  8. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  9. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  10. ^ ftp://ftp.worldofspectrum.org/pub/sinclair/games-inlays/123/720Degrees.jpg
  11. ^ Midway Arcade Origins Review - IGN

External links[edit]