Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge
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|Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge|
Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge is a video game developed by Distinctive Software and published by Konami and was released for PCs using DOS in 1990, and the Commodore Amiga and Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991. A version for the Apple Macintosh, announced for 1991, was also released.
This game is the first video game to ever secure the NASCAR license. It features several real NASCAR tracks in the game, such as Watkins Glen and Talladega. This game is also the first ever to feature a real NASCAR driver in a PC game, Bill Elliott.
Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge is a simulation of the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, and thus operates like a racing game. The gameplay action was always through an in-car perspective.
Players could choose to run single races at each track, or run for the season championship. The race distance was chosen by the player, which ranged from 10 miles to the realistic distance of 500 miles for the superspeedway races. In the DOS version, the championship consisted of a visit to each of the eight tracks. In the NES and Game Boy versions, the season championship consisted of each of the four tracks run twice, for a total of eight races. Championship points were awarded consistent to the real-life Winston Cup of the time.
Both the DOS and Nintendo versions allowed the player to set up the car, with effects to be seen. Both of those versions also allowed the player to choose whether they would race with the effect of damage on their car or not. However, a large enough collision with another racecar on the track always would result in the player going out of the race in an out-of-control crash.
Like the NES version, Bill Elliott won most of the simulated races. The "field" of 11 cars included nine fictional drivers:
- Bill Elliott - Ford, brown #9
- "Ted Alpen" - Ford, blue #25
- "Barney Barnsdale" - Pontiac, peach #1
- "Fred Forman" - Oldsmobile, white #3
- "Tranie Blue" - Oldsmobile, red #10
- "Kent Steer" - Chevrolet, purple #8
- "Iggy Nition" - Chevrolet, yellow #7
- "Goggles Pizzano" - Buick, light blue #5
- "Rexx Karrs" - Pontiac, green #21
- "Axel Folly" - Mercury, lime green #22
- Player's car.
Except for Mercury, all of the makes represented were in Winston Cup racing at the start of the 1991 season. Buick bowed out in 1991, Oldsmobile in 1994 and Pontiac in 2003.
The AI of the drivers was largely spread out by speed, but did not have specific differences in driving style (all had the same aggressiveness, same driving lines, etc.) However, "Ted Alpen" often was among the top 5 drivers for races, as was, to a lesser extent, "Fred Forman". "Kent Steer" and "Iggy Nition" often were in the middle of the pack.
The DOS version of the game also offered replay functions, but no ability to save a replay.
NES and Game Boy versions
The NES version featured four tracks: Daytona, Talladega, Watkins Glen, and Sears Point, the latter two being road courses.
In the NES and Game Boy versions, players competed against fifteen computer opponents, including Bill Elliott, who normally won races that the player did not. In rare cases, one of the other fourteen fictional computer opponents won races.
The "field of sixteen" included:
- The player-controlled car, and
Players could choose to run a single race, or the season championship. The season championship comprised eight races, consisting of each of the four tracks run twice. The distances for the races was selected by the player, and ranged from 10 miles to 500 miles. Players received points towards the championship based on the points structure of the actual NASCAR Winston Cup series. Another separate game score was tallied inside the game, awarding higher points for longer race distances chosen. A bug possibly appeared in the game, as frequently when the full distance was chosen for the season championship, some races were run with extended distances.
Players could choose to drive three different cars, a Chevrolet Lumina (#5 Mobil 1), a Ford Thunderbird (#11 Ford), or a Pontiac Grand Prix (#25 Melling Racing). In real life, the #5 car was sponsored by Levi Garrett. The sponsorships Budweiser (#11) and Kodiak (#25) are unbranded in this game. Also the #25 was actually a Chevrolet in real life. The game also featured custom set-ups, although considerably less complicated than other games of the time. Car colors were used to distinguish one make from the other: All Fords were red (with a #9 decal on the back denoting Elliott's car, the only one in this game to use such a decal), all Chevrolets were black, and all Pontiacs were green and white.
The Game Boy version was very similar to the NES version, except that Atlanta replaced Talladega. Additionally, Pontiac was excluded and players chose between a Ford, Chevrolet or Oldsmobile.
Visually, the Amiga version was much closer to the DOS version than the Nintendo ports.
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In 1991, Konami sponsored a contest where players could submit top scores for a chance to win a trip to the 1992 Daytona 500 to meet Bill Elliott, and other minor prizes (see image at right). To enter, a player was to send a 35mm photograph of his or her final championship score using full race distances, manual transmission and regular damage settings.
The contest allowed three grand prize winners, who would receive free airfare and hotel accommodations to the Daytona 500. At Daytona, these winners would compete against each other in a game playoff for a new 1992 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe.
The deadline for the contest, as advertised on boxes, was until July 22, 1991, but it was extended at least until November 25, 1991.
If there was a tie, the competitors would need to write a "50 word essay on the topic 'Why I should be a Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge' winner."
- Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge - DOS Screenshots - MobyGames
- Jayski's Silly Season Site - Pontiac Past NASCAR News/Rumors
- Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge - NES Screenshots - MobyGames
- Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge materials -- contest sheet -- 1990.
- Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge boxart from late 1991