Rewind: 30 Years Before 'GTAV,' There Was Atari's 'Pole Position'

Classic Car Game Was the Highest Grossing of 1983 and Marketed on MTV

By Published on .

"Hey! You look like a real jerk!"

It's safe to say that any commercial that opens with that line is going to be an insta-classic. And that's just how this 30-year-old ad for Atari video game "Pole Position" opens. At a time when "Grand Theft Auto's" fifth version is a masterpiece of beautiful images, complex plot lines and all sorts of inside jokes -- like ads for fake brands that hit pretty close to home -- it's hard to image that this pixelly race-car game was the top of the charts.

But Pole Position was an arcade obsession in 1983, grossing more than any other U.S. arcade game and inspiring copycats, sequels and even a Saturday morning cartoon.

Part of its success came from the over-the-top way it was marketed to teens. The spot above was part of a string of ads created specifically for MTV. It shows a preppy family of four out for a leisurely Sunday drive when suddenly they are interrupted by a giant hand that breaks out of the skies and picks up their car. The family is shook violently out of the car, and Mom, Dad and kids fall through the air, transported to a Formula One racetrack where they must compete.

What ensues is a lot of screaming, unsafe driving with little protection and fiery crashes.

Give you a hankering to play one of those old-school games? These days you could find a used copy (assuming it still works decades later) for as little as $1.99 on EBay.

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