Introduced into arcades in 1978, Atari’s Fire Truck was a two-player, two-steering wheel cabinet designed for cooperative gameplay as two drivers worked as a team to control a hook-and-ladder fire engine.
While one player sat in front of the screen and steered the fire engine’s cab, a second player could stand behind that seat and control the truck’s trailer section with a separate wheel, piloting a large fire truck through narrow city streets lined with oil slicks and parked cars.
You could also drive solo, allowing the computer to control whichever section you didn’t.
It was a high-pressure situation, and the winding roads, mazes of obstacles and the general unpredictability of the vehicle itself made Fire Truck a tricky ride for both players, requiring expert teamwork and split-second decisions.
Though the truck never actually reached its destination, time was still a factor, and the more distance you covered within the time limit, the longer you got to play. Longer rides also meant more points, moving you up in the rankings from “Sorry” to “So-So” to “Good” to “Ace.”
With selectable levels of difficulty, realistic sound effects (squeals, skids, crashes, bells and horns, the latter two controlled by the players) and simple controls (one steering wheel per player, with an accelerator pedal for the cab driver), Fire Truck appealed to all age groups, offering challenges to both novices and experts.