Fire Truck
Arcade flyer
Developer(s)Atari, Inc.
Designer(s)Howard Delman (programming)
John Ray (hardware engineer)[3]
Mode(s)Single-player, co-op

Fire Truck is a black-and-white 1978 arcade game developed and published by Atari, Inc.[4] According to GamesRadar, it was the earliest video game with cooperative gameplay where two players have to work together.[5][6] Fire Truck is built on the multi-directional scrolling technology created for Atari's Super Bug released the previous year.[7]

A single-player version was released as Smokey Joe.[8][9] It is internally identical to Fire Truck.[7] Both games were programmed by Howard Delman.[10] Fire Truck was distributed in Japan by Namco.[1]



Players must cooperate to drive the truck through traffic as far as possible without crashing, avoiding parked cars and oil slicks. While the game can be played with one player, it was primarily designed for two. The front player steers the tractor of the truck sitting down, controlling the gas and brakes, while the rear player stands and steers the tiller for the rear wheels, controlling the swing of the trailer. If playing with only one player, the computer controls either the front or the back accordingly.[11]

Flashing arrows appear on the course to indicate correct turns at intersections. The amount of time left in a play session is indicated by the amount of fuel left. Players can select from an easy or hard course.[11] Along with their scores, players are given a driver rating out of "Sorry", "So-So", "Good" or "Ace".[4][12]

The cabinet also provides the players with bells and horns, although these have no use in the actual game.[13]


Fire Truck was built on the technology of Super Bug, the first arcade game to feature a scrolling playfield. John Ray adapted the hardware, and Howard Delman enhanced the software. To allow for solo play, Delman needed to create a computer intelligence that could drive either the front or the back of the fire truck, which he said "took a lot of tweaking to get something that would feel okay without feeling over controlling."[7]


In the United States, RePlay magazine listed Smokey Joe as the ninth highest-grossing arcade game of 1978 and the original Fire Truck as the year's 12th highest-grossing title.[14]


  1. ^ a b c "Fire Truck". Media Arts Database. Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Production Numbers" (PDF). Atari Games. August 31, 1999. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  3. ^ "Fire Truck". Gaming-History. Archived from the original on 12 September 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Fire Truck - Overview". allgame. Archived from the original on 2014-12-10. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  5. ^ "Gaming's most important evolutions, Xbox 360 Features". GamesRadar. 2010-10-08. Archived from the original on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-10-24.
  6. ^ "Atari. The investment". Play Meter. Vol. 4, no. 11. 15 June 1978. p. 2.
  7. ^ a b c Scott Stilphen, DP Interviews Howard Delman, archived from the original on March 19, 2012, retrieved May 31, 2012
  8. ^ "Smokey Joe - Videogame by Atari". Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  9. ^ "Game Classification : Fire Truck / Smokey Joe (1978)". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  10. ^ Hague, James. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers". Archived from the original on 2019-09-26. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  11. ^ a b "Red light and sirens!". Play Meter. Vol. 4, no. 9. 15 May 1978. p. 65.
  12. ^ Atari 1978, pp. 14.
  13. ^ "Fire Truck". Museum of the Game. Archived from the original on 12 September 2023.
  14. ^ "Video Games". RePlay. November 1978.