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Stunt Cycle is a 1 player (or 2 players alternating) arcade game by Atari Inc., originally released in 1976. It attempted to cash in on the Evel Knievel craze of the mid 1970s by allowing the player to perform their own simulated motorcycle jumping stunts. The game is housed in a custom cabinet that includes a simulated motorcycle steering column mounted on the control panel. The right side handle grip is twisted for acceleration. The monitor is a 19-inch black and white CRT monitor with a black and white overlay. Sounds include a motorcycle roar, crash sounds, and crowd cheers.
The screen is divided into three horizontal platforms connected by tubes on the monitor overlay. The motorcycle automatically drives across each platform in sequence: left to right, right to left, then left to right again. The bottom most platform has a line of parked buses between two ramps, and the goal is to successfully jump the buses and land safely before repeating the process again.
The player can only accelerate (via the right handlebar) and brake. Accelerating too quickly will result in a wheelie and, if speed is not decreased, flipping over backward and crashing. Speed carries over from one platform to the next. On the third platform, the cycle has hit to the landing ramp to avoid a crash.
Upon game start, the player starts to jump over 8 buses. If successful, another bus is added; at 23 buses jumped over, one additional credit is added; otherwise, crashing thrice or jumping over 27 buses ends game.
Two dedicated console versions were released by Atari in 1977. Atari's own branded Stunt Cycle version plays four games: A version of the original Stunt Cycle as well as three Stunt Cycle variants (Motocross, Enduro, and DragRace) based on the AY-3-8760 chip by General Instrument. Handlebar grips on the unit allow players to whip, wheelie, and jump up to thirty-two onscreen buses. The unit provides digital on-screen scoring and color graphics.:26 The Sears Tele-Games version called Motocross Sports Center IV included the same Stunt Cycle variants and 16 Pong games played with detachable Pong controllers (based on Atari C010765 chip for the Pong games and the GI chip AY-3-8760).:26
In 1980, Atari programmer Bob Polaro began to develop a Stunt Cycle port for the Atari 2600 using full color graphics. By the time it was completed, Atari had decided to turn it into a television tie-in game for the Dukes of Hazzard franchise instead. This game never progressed beyond the prototype stage and was not officially released, however Bob Polaro independently released 50 copies of Stunt Cycle in 2003.
- "Stunt Cycle Killer List of Video Games Entry". Arcade-Museum.com. Retrieved 2007-07-14.
- Kaplan, Deeny, ed. (Winter 1978). "The Video Games". Video (Buyer's Guide). Reese Communications. 1 (1): 17–30. ISSN 0147-8907.
- Stulir, Mike. "Atari Stunt Cycle". Backntime.net. Archived from the original on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2007-07-14.
- Reichert, Matt. "Stunt Cycle AtariProtos.Com entry". Atariprotos.com. Retrieved 2007-07-14.
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