Chicago Coin’s Demolition Derby was configured for one or two players – with a steering wheel, accelerator pedal and two-position gear shift lever (forward and reverse) for each – and allowed players to run mad in a rectangular arena.
Two computer-controlled drone cars entered the fray at a time, daring players to try to ram into them. In a rare move for the time, Chicago Coin programmed the drone cars to react to player moves, making it appear that the drones were actually evading the players’ assaults.
As the computer’s cars got smashed, new ones entered the arena, always maintaining the two-drone balance. Those that had already been destroyed left their metal husks on the floor, creating an obstacle-filled course as the game went on.
Awarding one point per drone smashed, the game was a race to score more points than your opponent before time ran out.
Simple in design and almost primal in appeal, Demolition Derby let the road rager in every human being out for a brief run of mayhem.
Chicago Coin never produced a follow-up, but in 1984, Bally Midway produced its own Demolition Derby, including a four-player version, and the fender-bending continued.