Namco's F-1 (1976) electro-mechanical arcade racing game bears such strong resemblance to a "modern" video game that I'm wondering if it should be considered on-topic. The game itself is certainly likely to appeal to video game players, and was also made by a company now famous for "true" racing video games. The only major difference between this game and games like Pole Position and Ridge Racer is that F-1 generates its screen output through a set of lights, mirrors, gears, and physical props rather than by sending an electronic video output signal to a display.

Is F-1 enough of a video game to qualify as in-scope for this site, or does a game need to have a "true" video output signal to qualify?

I know that we have a Meta question about pinball machines, with the current vote tallies being barely in favor of off-topicality, but electro-mechanical racing games are (IMHO) much closer in look and feel to today's video games than their electro-mechanical pinball cousins are.

One argument could be that this game is too simplistic to be worthy of the label of video game. The scenery repeats after only a few seconds, and there is no level progression. My response to that is that it is no less complex than Pong (1972), and Pong is unquestionably on-topic.

1 Answer 1


I personally think its On topic.

You have a bunch of controls that will affect a screen you are looking at. Thats enough of a game to me.

Pinball is also, IMO, but I can see it as further into the gray zone because Pinball is a physical game, where the only screen you interact with is for whatever your score is.

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    I disagree pinball is on topic. I'm also weirdly on the fence about this Namco F1 thing. I marvel at its ingenuity, but its more mechanical than it is electronic it seems - drawing more similarities to something like pinball than a video game or other "games" you'd find at Arcades like a coin pusher (not the best comparison but I couldn't think of another example). That screen you speak of is really a projection from what I can tell of the circular disc that spins around in the machine, blown up to a larger size presumably by the witchcraft magic of mirrors (I am assuming).
    – Timmy Jim Mod
    May 13, 2022 at 13:13
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    I wont deny that both are in a gray zone and thus, your mileage may vary. Personally, I would consider most of the things that are in arcades to be video games. But I know that falls apart because technically, UFO machines and coin pushers would be video games, in my definition. And they definitely are not.
    – Fredy31 Mod
    May 13, 2022 at 15:25
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    Games like this, which are in some ways comparable to a carnival stand, like, say, shooting rubber ducks and such, surely deserve a place to live. But they're fairly specialized and niche. It seems like they'd be ok here as a dedicated stack exchange site is unlikely. May 17, 2022 at 19:21

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