Catalogue of Arcade Emulation Software - the Absolute Reference

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Road Runner (rev 2)

Road Runner (c) 1985 Atari Games.

The player takes on the role of the Road Runner - from the much-loved Warner Bros. cartoon series - and must outrun and outsmart the villainous Wile E. Coyote, in this abstract sidways-scrolling racing game from Atari. A variety of traps and pitfalls await the Road runner (such as a cannon, land mines, cliff-top drop etc.) which must be carefully avoided. It is possible, however, to lure Wile E. Coyote into these traps to put some valuable distance between the Road Runner and his pursuer. Road Runner must also eat the piles of seed that appear at various points throughout the stages, as missing five bird seeds will cause Road Runner to faint and result in the player losing a life.

Road Runner's colourful, beautifully-drawn graphics capture the spirit and humour of the legendary cartoons perfectly. The music and sound effects are also faithful to the cartoon series.


Atari System 1 hardware

Game ID : 136040

Main CPU : 68010 (@ 7.15909 Mhz), M6502 (@ 1.789772 Mhz)

Sound Chips : YM2151 (@ 3.579545 Mhz), POKEY (@ 1.789772 Mhz), TMS5220 (@ 650.826 Khz)

Screen orientation : Horizontal

Video resolution : 336 x 240 pixels

Screen refresh : 60.00 Hz

Palette colors : 1024

Players : 1

Control : stick

Buttons : 3


Road Runner, as with all the Atari System 1 games, was arguably one of the most distracting games in the arcade. If not setup properly, the Road Runner game would play all the background music during the intro cut scenes. The Arari System 1 speaker system had a great acoustic arrangement. Players would be immersed in a sea of sound allowing them to really get into the game play. Unfortuantely for others, they could hear the same thing on the other side of the room!

Not very many Road Runner units were produced from the factory. Most arcade owners purchased the conversion kit which was marketed and readily available from Atari at a lower price than a new system. An Atari System 1 cabinet could be converted into a different game (only other Atari System 1 games) in a day.

A graphically enhanced version of this game (Apparently running on "Beat Head" hardware) was planned, where each stage would have a Road Runner cartoon scene as an intermission, spooled from a laserdisc. However, although a master was produced (now in the hands of a private collector of Atari prototypes), no discs were ever pressed and it is likely that no ROMs were ever burned.

Two Road Runner machines were shown at the 2003 classic arcade games show 'California Extreme' in San Jose, California.


Don't use an 8-way controller like Hot-Rod or X-Arcade with this game. You won't be able to control the Road Runner very well. Use a variable speed, jet-fighting type game joystick. This will allow you to control the variety of Road Runner speeds with precision. It makes the game much more fun and you'll get farther.

Don't go so fast that you lose Wile E. Coyote from view. He'll coming whizzing back with a vengeance. He'll attack at high speed on rocket skates and in later levels, super sneakers.

If you stay close to Wile E. Coyote and maintain a constant speed (his arms will stick out in an effort to grab you), you can get a "Tongue Bonus" for 2000 points. The Road Runner will turn it's head around at Wile E. and stick out it's tongue twice, making that classic cartoon "Twoop twoop" sound. Pretty funny to see.

In higher levels, invisible paint buckets will appear. You need to get to them and paint yourself before Wile E. Coyote does. If you manage to paint yourself with the invisible paint, Wile E. Coyote will lose sight of you, stand and look around with a "?" above his head. Also funny to see.

On the levels where Wile E. coyote has acquired a portable helicopter and is dropping dynamite onto the Road Runner from above, keep running forwards while constantly moving the Road Runner diagonally up and down (on some levels, you need to be watchful for land mines); this makes it much more difficult for the Coyote to target you accurately.


Producer : Norm Avellar, Greg Rivera

Director : Mike Hally

Backgrounds : Sam Comstock, Mark West

Animation : Susan G. McBride, Hal Cannon, Earl Vickers

Location Tech : Rob Rowe

Support : Jacl Aknin, Mike Albaugh, Brad Fuller, Pat McCarthy, Rich Moore, Don Paauw


* Consoles :

Atari 2600

Nintendo Famicom (1989)

* Computers :

Commodore C64 (1987)

Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1987)

Amstrad CPC (1987)

Atari ST