Old School Gaming

Unified Theory of Racing Maps

Auto Racing

Did you ever play a racing game and wonder just what the world of the tracks might look like? One fine denizen of the interwebs wondered just that, way back in the early days of home gaming consoles. But better than just wondering, he was motivated to follow through, all these years later.

When I was very young, back in the late seventies and early eighties, my friends and I loved playing games for the Atari 2600, the Intellivision, and the ColecoVision. My family owned the Intelivision and one of our favorite games for that system was Auto Racing.

At some point, my friends and I discovered that if one drove carefully off-road, it was possible to reach one of the other tracks from the one you were currently driving on. And then we realized that the tracks listed in the manual existed inside one giant map and all were interconnected. To my ten year old mind, this was fascinating… it was like discovering a treasure map. We tried to draw out the map as we explored but with limited success.

As years passed I would from time to time think of our virtual explorations, still curious as to what that hidden, giant map really looked like.

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Old School Gaming

Would You Like to Play a Game?


With the recent craziness of the political world, one of the phrases that gets thrown about is a ‘return to the Cold War’. Who can really say for sure? But with the internet and world connectivity and cell phones (and Russian dash cams, they seriously love those things), it seems pretty clear that a Next Generation Cold War–Russian Refreeze!–will be lacking in the same Iron Curtain information blackout that the previous version held. That Iron Curtain kept the prying eyes of the West out from not only the military workings of the USSR, but also kept the everyday life and times of the ordinary citizens hidden as well. One such area that remained largely unknown was that of video games! The Soviets weren’t really keen to import Atari’s and Nintendo’s, so they made their own. Although, those game systems were more products of the Far East than of decadent Western culture, but hey, I don’t make the rules. Let’s take a look at a few arcade posters from Soviet Russia!

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Old School Gaming

Rise of the Robots

Rise of the Robots

There are times when I look back and think that maybe the 1990s were the pinnacle of video game design. Maybe it’s just because that’s when I was heavily into gaming, but it seems to me that today’s games are more derivative of the games that came out in the 1990s than anything new or creative. The first person shooter really came into its own in the 1990s. Real-time strategy games finally began living up to their hype. MMOs made me miss more than one class in college. Rise of the Robots isn’t any of those. It’s better…and worse.

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Startup: Way Too Serious

This guy is way too serious about his racing games… and I want one.



Startup: Butcher Shops in Nerd Heaven


I want to go to there. BTW, for those who haven’t a clue what this is: Cut Man and Mega Man from 1987’s Mega Man video game series that kicked off a decades long video game franchise that nobody has bothered to make a major motion picture about […]

User Input

User Input: Faithful Adaptation

It’s no secret that we here at the AtomicToasters Galactic Central Command are fans of our video games. Even when I can’t claim to be as hardcore a gamer as some, we all tend to make a point of diving into a good franchise from time to time. Part of that is borne […]


Startup: They’re Everywhere

It’s been close to two years since I last opened Angry Birds. Why won’t this franchise die off like GI Joe and TMNT did when I was a kid? Oh, right.



Startup: A Star is Revealed

After an irresponsible cartoon plumber swinging a hammer caused the collapse of the neighboring building, this scene was revealed. A passing Shigeru Miyamoto spotted it and was inspired to start an entire franchise for Nintendo.

(The preceding tale is a fib, but it’s short.)



Startup: The Handyman’s Secret … Wait, What?


I knew Duck Tape came in more than just grey, but this is something really special. First it’s an excuse for me to talk about utility tape again for the second time in a week, so I’m really… ahem… ON A ROLL. Get it? On a roll? Because it’s tape, and… yeah, […]


Startup: Slow Invasion

When I was in high school, there was a new twist on an old saying: The geek shall inherit the Earth. Verily the slow invasion began. No tanks, no guns, no organized legion more significant than a Star Trek convention. Now we’ve taken over the neighborhood pub. Roll for […]