Lost In Translation/Night Driver

From ExoticA
Out Run (Arcade version)
Out Run (Sinclair ZX Spectrum version)

This page is a stub for arcade games that are part of the Lost In Translation series using information based on MAME (version 0.113u2).
For an example of preferred content and layout please refer to Out Run or The Ninja Warriors.

Night Driver
Night Driver marquee.
No screen shot.
Night Driver control panel.
Manufacturer Atari
Released 1976
8 Button(s)
Main CPU M6502 (@ 1.008 MHz)
Sound CPU Mono
Raster (Horizontal)
256 x 256 pixels
57.00 Hz
2 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 4 ROMs
4,864 bytes (4.75 KiB)
MAME ID nitedrvr

About The Game

Night Driver is a simple two-dimensional driving arcade video game.

Your perspective is from behind the wheel of the car as you drive down the highway. The object is to score points by getting as much distance as possible in the least amount of time. Those who are good enough can get bonus time for a specific amount of points. Beware, though, it will not be as easy as it seems.


Also released as "Night Driver [Upright model]".

This game was first released by a small company named Micronetics and later picked up by Atari (October 1976). Night Driver was the first 'first-person' driving game (only Atari's second sitdown, "Hi-Way" was the first). 2,100 units were produced.

After a nearly 50-year run, the mid-1970s video games like Night Driver spelled the end of the electro-mechanical arcade games (such as "Killer Shark" seen in the movie Jaws). Video games would spawn a nation-wide phenomenon which has gone on to this day.

Night Driver was one of many mid-1970's Atari games such as "Starship 1", "Sprint 2" and "Drag Race" which were often found at carnivals and bowling alleys. Kids would flock to these establishments just to get an opportunity to play the games rather than the primary source of entertainment they offered. When the 80's arrived, video games could be found everywhere including grocery stores and kids didn't have to go very far to play their favorite game.

From Dave Shepperd : "This was the second game I programmed while at Atari. I was given a piece of paper with a picture of a game cabinet that had a small portion of the screen visible. I don't recall if it was an actual flyer for the game or simply a Xerox of the front page of the flyer. I recall it being German or maybe I was just told it was a German game. I never saw the game play nor did I know what scoring was used on that game, only that there were a few little white squares showing. With that germ of an idea, out popped Night Driver. I have fond memories of spending time watching the white lines in the street and fence posts whiz by my car as I drove to and from work trying to work out in my mind's eye what kind of math I can use to make little squares on a TV kind of do the same thing.".

A Night Driver unit appears in the 1978 movie 'Dawn of the Dead'.


Scoring in this game is really simple. Your score is tied to distance traveled so obviously you want to cover the most amount of distance in the shortest period of time.

The game will start you off with either 100 or 125 seconds to get the required 350 points for extra time.

Tips and tricks

  • When you start the game, you will have a choice of which track you want to drive on. Your choices are : Novice, Expert, and Pro. The track selected directly effects your points/distance ratio. Obviously, the harder the track the faster the points go up. Of course, the harder the track, the more twists, turns, and narrow sections you must deal with.
  • Try to stay in the middle of the road as much as possible. Especially around curves since it is very easy to run into the fence posts.
  • Learn how to use the gears and gas pedal with proficiency. This is better to let up on the gas or downshift on curves then trying to barrel through them at top speed. It takes a lot more time to get off a fence post than if you had just taken the curve slower.
  • Your goal is to get the points necessary to get bonus time. Once you get proficient at one track, go to the next track. After a while, you will find that the Expert and Pro tracks are actually easier then the Novice track.
  • Steering on this game is pretty easy although you need to watch out since the car does have a tendency to drift. Small corrections in the steering should keep that problem in check.


Designed & Programmed By
Dave Shepperd

Cabinet and Artwork


Atari 2600 (1978)
Sony PlayStation 2 (2004, "Atari Anthology")
Microsoft XBOX (2004, "Atari Anthology")
Apple II
Commodore C64 (1982)
PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (2003, "Atari - 80 Classic Games in One!")
Atari Paddle TV Game (2004 - Jakk's Pacific)

The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.