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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Where Angels Fear to Tread

Crude schematic for the Earl J. Woods CarTank (TM)

On the way home from work yesterday, I started to wonder how people with disabilities drive. I know that some are able to use hand controllers, so that the brake and accellerator are mounted on the steering wheel (or so I imagine). I don't think I'd have the necessary coordination to drive that way, but then I remembered Battlezone, the old Atari arcade game:

In Battlezone, you used two joysticks to move your tank. Pushing both joysticks forward made  your tank move forward; pulling both backward put you in reverse; holding one stick forward and one back would make your tank pivot. I wondered if this simple control scheme could be applied to vehicles - think how easy it would be to make rapid turns if you could pivot! Plus, driving with treads seems so much cooler, not to mention more stable, than plain old wheels.

Of course, this configuration would probably make cars heavier, more expensive, more ecologically damaging, and would almost certainly wreck roads fast. But wouldn't it be fun to make your car spin around on a dime until your passengers all got dizzy?


"Balance Of Jeffor" said...

We'll have to add skid-steering to the take-apart car you envisioned a few months ago. Then it would probably only cost $10 - 20 million a unit for someone to buy. Bruce Wayne would probably get one.

Anyway, have a look at this page: Atari has some authentic freeware versions of their classic arcade games -

Why watch some drone hack away at Battlezone on YouTube when you can play it yourself RIGHT NOW?!!!?

In fact, why aren't we setting up a little competitive charity league of Lunar Lander players who will all contribute to a pot for Sean's Bike Ride? I think I can get that itty bitty LEM smack dab on that 5X peak, and I've got $10 that says I can do it -- aw, dang, "YOU LANDED HARD. YOU ARE HOPELESSLY MAROONED. 75 POINTS".

Okay, we will establish the League of Lunar Landers (LOLLs) after I've had some more time to practise...

Sean Woods said...

I'm familiar with every game on that page, with the exception of Lunar Lander.

And now I can't stop playing Lunar Lander. So simple, yet so good.