Video Game History Wiki

Badlands is a 1989 arcade game published by Atari Games. It was later ported by Domark under the Tengen label to a number of home computers. It is set in the aftermath of a nuclear war and races around abandoned wastelands with many hazards. Three gun-armed cars race around to win prizes.


Badlands is effectively the spiritual successor to Atari's previous racing games Super Sprint and Championship Sprint. Similarly to the Sprint titles, Badlands pits three cars against each other in a three lap race around a small, single-screen circuit. Bonuses are present in the form of wrenches which can be traded for goods such as extra speed, extra acceleration or better tires

Unlike the Sprint games, Badlands expands upon the formula, taking place in a post-apocalyptic environment and equipping each of the players with cannons. In reality, the cannons do little except to slow cars down by repeatedly shooting at them, but the shop between levels offers the possibility of arming the car with missiles which will destroy the target car, placing it at a severe disadvantage as a replacement is brought onto the track, taking a few seconds.

The tracks also featured a number of new obstacles, including mines and retractable barricades.


The home computer versions of the game were released by Domark under the Tengen label. Development was carried out by Teque under the leadership of Matt Furniss. All of the versions were accurate in gameplay terms, with graphical compromises being necessary depending on the system. The Amiga and Atari ST versions of the game were the most faithful to the original, although the C64 version was graphically very similar, in spite of more blocky graphics.

The Spectrum and Amstrad CPC versions were virtually identical as a result of direct porting.