While not every system’s quality hangs in the balance from their Pack-In-Title, especially given that they are such a rarity in today’s market, keep in mind this is 1987. At the time you could still get an NES Action Set with Super Mario Brothers *and* Duck Hunt, along with two controllers and a light gun. The 7800 came packaged with two “Pro-Line” joysticks and a copy of Pole Position II, which immediately showed the system’s weaknesses right on display.
Pole Position II isn’t even a terrible game by any means, it looks close *enough* to the genuine article; the car as well as the background are similar enough to the arcade cabinet, but with the 7800’s awful sound chip, you won’t be hearing the memorable piece of music that plays before and after races, or the speech for that matter.
The control takes a big hit, just from the awful “pro-line” sticks. These joysticks are literally good for nothing, the joystick auto-resets decently enough, but with a hardly ergonomic design and buttons that constantly stick, it’s easy to see why even the pros would stay away from these joysticks.
Chances are if you purchase a 7800, it will come with this game, as most of the NTSC units sold in the late 80s and early 90s had PPII as the pack-in title. That being said, the game is also ridiculously cheap and easy to find now; even in places where Atari 7800 games are hard to find, there’s probably a copy of Pole Position II sitting in your nearest indie game shop’s Atari 2600 section: that’s how common it is.
That being said, purchase it if you can find it for less than a couple of bucks, otherwise skip this unfortunate launch pack-in. What was meant to be an example of the 7800’s processing power turned into an embarrassing look at the system’s most vulnerable spots: audio and control.