720 Degrees, or 720°, is a 1986 arcade game by Atari Games. 720°, a skateboarding game, is notable in that along with BMX Simulator, it is one of the first extreme sports video games, and has a unique timed structure that requires the player score points in order to keep the game going. The game's name comes from the "ultimate" trick, turning a full 720° (two complete circles) in the air after jumping off a ramp. 720° has the player controlling a skateboarder ripping around a middle-class neighborhood. By doing jumps and tricks, the player can eventually acquire enough points to compete at a skate park.
From official materials: "It's just you, your trusty skateboard, and a hundred bucks as you skate, jump, slide, spin and move through four levels of difficulty, picking up loose cash, earning money through events, and finally, earning a ticket to one of the big skate parks! If you're lucky, you'll get to buy some rad equipment to make you the coolest skateboarder alive."
The game begins with the player controlling a skateboarder skating around a middle-class neighborhood using common objects as ramps for jumps.
The player begins with a number of "tickets," each of which granting admission to one of four skate parks, or "events," in Skate City, the "hub" between the parks. When a park is entered, one ticket is expended. The player gains additional tickets from earning points. Whenever the player isn't in an event, a bar counts down the time remaining until the arrival of deadly, skateboarder-hungry killer bees. Once the bees arrive the player still has a small amount of time with which to get to a park, but the longer the player delays this the faster the bees become, until they are unavoidable. Getting caught by the bees ends the game, though on default settings the player may elect to continue his game by inserting more money. Reaching a park with a ticket gives the player the chance to earn points, medals and money with which to upgrade his equipment, and resets the timer.
The player is constantly racing to perform stunts, both in the events and in the park itself, in order to earn the points needed to acquire tickets. Thus, the player’s score is directly tied to the amount of time he has to play the game. In order to win, the player must complete a total of sixteen events through four hubs, a difficult task.
The cabinet for this game is unique. The speakers for the game are mounted atop the cabinet in a structure resembling a boom box, in line with the game's skate-rat theme. The display is larger than that for a typical arcade game and very high resolution (similar to that used for Paperboy). The main control is also unique. This joystick moves in a circular fashion, instead of in compass directions like standard joysticks. The game also contains two buttons, one for "kicking" (which refers not to actual "kicking", but refers to pushing the skate board with a foot for speed) and the other for jumping. The game supported up to two players, alternating play.
This game uses a spinner control, right? The original controller for 720 Degrees was a joystick that was hardware-limited to only travel along the outermost edges in a circle. The internal mechanism for reading this control was similar to a spinner except that it had the additional benefit of knowing which direction the joystick was pointing. Because this knowledge is an important aspect of the game, the current emulation of the controller maps an analog joystick to the underlying controls instead of a spinner.