Moby ID: 10474
Atari 2600 Specs

Description official descriptions

Dragster is a drag racing simulation for one or two players. The object of the game is to be the first car to race across the screen in the two player game, or to race across the screen in the shortest possible time in a one player game. The joystick acts as both the gas peddle and clutch; you have the ability to shift from first through fourth, but be careful not to shift too soon because you can't downshift! You must also be careful not to rev your engine too much, or you'll blow your engine and be out of the race. There are two game variations included; in the simpler game, you just need to drive straight to reach the goal. In the advanced variation, you also have the ability to steer and need to keep your car driving straight between the bleachers and road divider.

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Credits (Atari 2600 version)

Conceived and designed by



Average score: 57% (based on 5 ratings)


Average score: 2.7 out of 5 (based on 20 ratings with 1 reviews)

Classic drag-racing game from the man who brought us Pitfall

The Good
In the mid-Eighties, one of the games that I played in my spare time was Pitfall! for the Commodore 64. The object is to explore a jungle collecting treasure, while avoiding the many hazards along the way. It was released at the time when Activision produced fun and addictive games, a far cry from their usual attitude of “Call of Duty this, and Call of Duty that”. Before David Crane created the game, he released a drag racing simulator called Dragster for the Atari 2600.

The premise is simple: two players compete to race to the other side of the screen ahead of their opponent or, as a single player, race across it in the shortest time possible. There are two variations. Game number one is what the manual calls “Straight-Ahead Dragster”. The challenge is making sure not to blow your engine, which is what I often did when I changed gears! Game number two is “Steerable Dragster”, which is where you can move up and down along the track. In a one-player game, I got as far as eight seconds. Both variations are for one or two players.

During the game, you always hear the sound of your car’s engine, and the way that it goes up a pitch as you move across the screen makes the game realistic, as do the animations of the moving wheel at the rear of your car and the wheelies you can perform. I like the design of the cars themselves, although some writing on the front of them would have been nice. I found the four-page instructions interesting to read. Each section is nicely laid out with specific information contained in a purple border. There are even tips from the man himself!

The Bad
When you start the race early or blow your engine, you are penalized and have to wait for the next race. In a two-player game, this is fine because it’s a free run for your opponent. In a one-player game, though, nothing will happen and you are forced to reset the game.

The Bottom Line
As one of the earlier Activision titles, this one remains a classic to this day due to its addictive nature. Can’t say much more than that.

Atari 2600 · by Katakis | カタキス (43087) · 2022


High score rewards

If you could complete the race in 6.0 seconds or less and send in a photo of you TV screen as proof, Activision would have sent you a World Class Dragster Club patch.


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Servo.

Windows, Xbox 360 added by Alaka.

Additional contributors: Alaka, LepricahnsGold.

Game added September 27, 2003. Last modified May 10, 2024.