Sunday, November 03, 2013

Nostalgia Theater: The Secret Force of Pole Position

In car racing terms, "pole position" refers to where a car is placed in the starting lineup, something that can in turn determine said car's chances of winning. In video game terms, Pole Position was the title of a racing game from Namco in the early '80s -- one of the most popular of the genre. When the decade's gaming boom led to various media adaptations of arcade properties, the notorious crap-mavens at DiC had a Saturday AM take on Pole Position ready to race. Airing on CBS from September to December of 1984, I don't remember much about the show beyond the catchy theme, which you can check out (along with the closing) below:


(Given that this is DiC, we can go ahead and assume that the animation never looked better than with the intro.)

While I can't proclaim any inside knowledge on the matter, certainly based on the premise and the dates involved, it sure seems like DiC took the title of the game, licensed from Namco, and basically used it to spin their own variation on NBC's still-popular Knight Rider TV series, with anthropomorphic cars "Wheels" and "Roadie" aiding brother-sister secret agent team of Dan & Tess Darrett. You know, the usual. Although Pole Position lasted only a fleeting thirteen eps before racing away, that wouldn't be the end of the videogame cross-pollinating in that decade, some of which I'll prolly end up talking about in weeks ahead.

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