Pole Position (ポールポジション) is a 1982 racing arcade game developed and published by Namco, and was licensed to Atari for North America. It runs on Namco Pole Position hardware, and was developed by Toru Iwatani, who previously made Gee Bee and Pac-Man. The game came in a sit-down cockpit cabinet, as well as a regular upright machine.
Pole Position was the most successful arcade game in 1983 in North America, and spawned a sequel, animated series, and many ports.
The player uses the steering wheel to control the Formula racer on the Fuji Raceway, while the shifter can shift the car into high or low gear. The gas pedal will increase the speed of the car, while the brake slows down your car.
The game starts at a qualifying lap which will determine if the player makes it into the final race. The car will stop for a short while if it hits a road sign or enemy cars on the track; however, unlike most arcade games, the player will not lose a life, much like Namco's own King & Balloon. The race is completed when the car drives under a large Pole Position sign to the finish line.
If the player makes it into the final race, the player will race for four laps around the track. The track will then have long sharp turns and narrow roads.
A sequel, titled Pole Position II (ポールポジションII) was released in 1983. It features three new tracks (Suzuka, Seaside and a basic test track), a blue design for the car, and several graphical updates.
A spiritual successor was released in 1987 titled Final Lap; it featured several tracks and selectable cars.
An iOS game titled Pole Position Remix was released in 2008. It was removed from the App Store on March 30th, 2013.
Pole Position was ported to Namco Museum Volume 1 in 1995 for the PlayStation, and Pole Position II was included in Namco Museum Volume 3 in 1996. Pole Position was later included in Namco Museum 50th Anniversary in 2005, and both titles were included in Namco Museum Virtual Arcade in 2008.