TX-1 is a 1983 racing arcade video game developed by Tatsumi. It was licensed to Namco, who in turn licensed it to Atari for release in the United States, thus the game is considered a successor to Pole Position II. It was also released in the United Kingdom, Ireland and mainland Europe via Atari Ireland.
TX-1 placed a greater emphasis on realistic simulation racing than previous games in the genre, with details such as forcing players to brake or downshift the gear during corners to avoid the risk of losing control, and let go of the accelerator when going into a skid in order to regain control of the steering. It was also the first car driving game to use force feedback technology, which caused the steering wheel to vibrate, and the game also featured a unique three-screen arcade display for a more three-dimensional perspective of the track. It also introduced nonlinear gameplay by allowing players to choose which path to drive through after each checkpoint, eventually leading to one of eight possible final destinations.
Though TX-1 used raster graphics similar to the 1982 release Pole Position, developed by Namco and published by Atari, TX-1 used a unique surround-style, sit-down three-screen display. In this design, the primary monitor was mounted directly in front of the steering wheel and a secondary monitor, angled at thirty degrees, was mounted both to the left and the right of the primary monitor. At the top of the left monitor was a display of the score and the car's current position; at the top of the right monitor was a running total of cars passed during the race. A display of stage, speed, and time remaining was at the top of the primary screen. The immense size of the cabinet limited the number of arcades which could display this game.
Gameplay was similar to Pole Position, in that the player, piloting a Formula One racecar, needed to reach a check point in a certain period of time in order to continue playing. While negotiating the course, the driver needed to exercise caution in the turns, as excessive speed would cause the car to skid; additionally, the driver needed to pass slower cars carefully to avoid a fiery crash.
Unlike Pole Position, each stage ended at a branch point; depending on which way the driver turned, the course would be substantially different. The final two stages of this five-stage game were based upon famous Formula One races of the time and were identified by the name of the country; the path chosen during the previous three stages determined which "races" could be run in the final two stages. TX-1 was a pioneer in this style of play, which would be copied by myriad other games, especially Sega's successful Out Run series.
A successor game, TX-1 V8, was released by Tatsumi in 1984. However, Atari did not license this game, and it was rarely seen in the United States.
- TX-1 at the Killer List of Videogames
- A short video from the Starcade TV show (navigate via the Game Movies link in the sidebar, then the TX-1 link on the main panel)