The famous TX-1 was developed by Tatsumi in 1982. Namco was shortly thereafter authorized for distribution. Namco in turn authorized Atari for the distribution in North America. The TX-1 placed much more emphasis on realistic simulation than its major competitors, for example the player was forced to downgrade when turning so as to avoid losing control of his vehicle. It was also the first racing game to use a 4 channel sound card, the ancestor of today’s ‘surround’. The TX-1 also included a unique display of 3 screens creating the panoramic view. Moreover, the Atari TX-1 also introduced a non-linear gameplay, which allows players to choose their path after each checkpoint, eventually leading to one of eight possible final destinations.
The playability of this title was similar to Pole Position, developed by Namco in 1983. In the latter, the player had to drive a Formula One car and had to reach the checkpoints within a specific time. Unlike Pole Position, each round ended with a fork, and according to the path chosen, the course of the game changed significantly. The last two rounds were based on the famous F1 track of the time. The choices made in the first three rounds determined which track would appear. The TX-1 was a pioneer in the simulators, this style will be copied by many other games.
There has been relatively few TX-1 machines introduced in North America, despite the good quality of the game. The purchase price was high and the game was bugging quite often due to the heat problems of the experimental components. In short, it was a first try. There remains only about 4 TX-1 machines in North America. The ‘American Arcade museum’ and the ‘Video Game Museum of Quebec’ have the TX-1 on demonstration.