Amazing '70s arcade games use real model motorcycles

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This is going on the list of the reasons why I wish I’d been a teenager in the ’70s, right after long hair actually being fashionable. These two restored arcade games — Sega Moto Champ and Bally Hill Climb — use actual model motorcycles instead of the pixelated versions that became technically feasible a few years later. It’s kind of like how your mom thinks your computer works; levers and cables control the movement of the bikes and, in the case of Bally Hill Climb, the bike actually has a motor driving the rear wheel that, in turn, spins the drum that serves as an obstacle course.
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We’ll let Kevin Keinert, who restored these two games and many others, tell you about it.


Sega Moto Champ

This is a 1973 Sega Moto Champ that I restored in 2008. The four
opponent’s motorcycles are held, by magnets, to an elaborate motion
sequencing mechanism located under the roadway. This video does show
the mechanism that moves the bikes while the race is underway. The
player’s motorcycle is attached to a rod, which leads back to a motor,
that your handle bars control. The object of the game is to maneuver
your bike in-between the random motion of the other bikes and finish
the race in first place. If you succeed, you win one free replay. As
you twist the throttle handle to accelerate, you pull ahead of the
other bikes and the roadway appears to move faster. This game however,
unlike the Kasco Untouchable discussed below, does not use a large
moving treadmill for the roadway. The road scene is projected from a
rotating drum and lamp assembly that is mounted in the head board.


Bally Hill Climb

Here we have a 1972 Bally Hill Climp game that I restored in 2007. The
player steers a minibike up a steep hill and tries to cover as much
ground as possible without popping a wheelie. Any wheelies will stop
the bike and cause the player to loose valuable time. An electric motor
which is mounted inside the bike actually powers the rear tire to make
the bike go. Except the bike doesn’t go anywhere. Instead, the hillside
scenery is caused to move beneath the bike by the rotation of the rear
tire. I was fortunate enough to get this game in trade for my labor
cost of restoring another Hill Climb. The customer sent me two games. I
got to keep one and I restored the other for his collection.

via Kevin Keinert

Thanks for the tip, Alistair.

  • Charlie

    Great piece. Thanks for the post Wes.

  • area_educator

    Fantastic!

  • http://www.motorsportretro.com rich

    The hill climb game looks completely awesome!