Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nintendo Mach Rider (マッハライダー, 1972)

For most people, Mach Rider by Nintendo will conjure up memories of play sessions on the Famicom or NES in the 80s. However, this 8-bit motorcycle video game is not the first creation by the Kyoto game giant to sport this name.

Nintendo Mach Rider (1972)

Nintendo already released a game called Mach Rider (マッハライダー) in 1972. Mach Rider was produced and marketed by Nintendo in Japan, but it was based on an American toy created by Hasbro. The title of Hasbro's original version was Yellow Tail Funny Car.


The action, speed and thrill jump from the front of the box.


Mach Rider was sold for ¥2,500. The box art contained a stylized hand with gearshift, indicating the player to be in control of the car.


The box contained a stock-car type caring car, a launching pad and a jumping ramp.


Also included was a sheet with stickers. These stickers are great examples of 70s design style. They could be used to customize your car. As the game was released in 1972, the number "73" clearly refers to the car being next year's model. Of special note are a Porsche and Volkswagen logo.

Sticker sheet included with Mach Rider

The instructions are included on the inside of the box top.


The launching pad contains a motor used to propel the car. It runs on 4 D-cells.

Bottom side of launching pad - insert batteries here

The white axle which connects the motor to the car is clearly visible in the middle of the launching pad.


Two clamps in the bottom of the launching pad hold the car in place before it is released.


The white connector in the middle of the car's right rear wheel connects to the axle in the launching pad.


The red car is decked out with cool blue and yellow strips. An impressive V8 engine is mounted in the middle.


The bottom of the car shows the copyright notice and indication that it is manufactured by Nintendo.


Underneath the car, between two rear wheels, a large, heavy metal flying-wheel is placed. It is this flying wheel which is brought to great speed by the motor in the launching pad.


The car is put in place on the launching pad.


At this point, the two white axle connectors - on launching pad and car - connect.


The two clamps lift the car, so the flying-wheel can start spinning while the car remains in place.


With the gearshift set to neutral, the motor is still switched off. Putting the gearshift in first gear will start the motor. This will spin the flying-wheel in the car.


Shifting through to second and third gear will make the flying-wheel reach maximum speed (the motor does not actually start running faster between first, second and third gear - but it does not require a lot of imagination to pretend here).


When the gearshift is placed in fourth gear, the axle which connects the motor to the car is withdrawn and at the same time the clamps which kept the car stationary are lowered.

At this moment, the violently spinning flying-wheel suddenly hits the ground and the Mach Rider shoots out of the launching pad. It quickly reaches an impressive speed and performs a nice jump when it reaches the the end of the ramp.


The Mach Rider came in three different colors: red, yellow and blue. It was not clear from the outside of the box which color version was in it, as the box art always featured the red car.

All three Mach Rider versions: red, yellow and blue

The speed achieved by the Mach Rider is quite spectacular. I don't expect it will have disappointed Japanese boys in 70s. To this day, it is fun to play with. You may want to make sure no pets are around when it is launching time.

Another Hasbro toy licensed by Nintendo is Shotracer.

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