Road Runner

Arcade Video game published 37 years ago by Atari Games Corp.

Listed in MAME

Road Runner screenshot

Road Runner © 1986 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 side-scrolling racing game from Atari.

A variety of traps and pitfalls await the Road runner - including cannons, land mines and cliff-top drops - that must be carefully avoided or negotiated. It is possible, however, to lure Wile E. Coyote into these traps to put some valuable distance between the Road Runner and his pursuer.

Piles of birdseed are littered throughout the levels and Road Runner must eat them (by running over them) whenever possible, as missing five seed piles will cause Road Runner to feel faint and stop running, resulting in him being caught by Wile E Coyote. A 'Seed Meter' at the top of the screen indicates Road Runner's seed energy level.

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.

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Game ID : 136040

Runs on the "Atari System 1" hardware. It was available in the Upright configuration AND as a conversion kit for Marble Madness, Peter Pack Rat or Indiana Jones.

For operators who would like to utilize prize redemption, the game is compatible with the System 1 'Vend-A-Ticket' game option.

Control: stick
Buttons: 3


Road Runner was released in July 1986 (even if the title screen says 1985).

Road Runner, as with all 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. The Atari 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. Unfortunately for others, they could hear the same thing on the other side of the room!

Some Road Runner units were produced (757 exactly) from the factory. Most arcade owners purchased the conversion kit which was marketed and readily available from Atari at a lower price ($695) than a new system ($1895). An Atari System 1 cabinet could be converted into a different game (but only with 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.

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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 forward 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.


Atari 2600 (1989) "Road Runner [Model CX2663]"
japan Nintendo Famicom (1989)

Commodore C64 (1987)
Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1987)
Amstrad CPC (1987)
Atari ST (1987) "Road Runner [Model 538593]"
Amstrad CPC france (1990) "10 Jeux Spectaculaires"


Game's ROM.
Machine's picture.