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Matt Barton's picture

Pole Position!

First off, I outdid myself with the title of this chapter. I'm not going to spoil the surprise, but I really had an inspiration. ;)

Anyway, the chapter is about racing simulations. I've been thinking about the game, and see several subjects worth bringing up. First, this would be a great chance to talk about special arcade cabinets. There were many enclosures made for Pole Position, but even to this day racing games really stand out for their unique cabinets that are far too expensive to buy for home use. This is a clear case of where the home versions just couldn't compete with the arcade. It's a shame we don't have more time, because I know Bill could have a great time talking about all the different steering wheel/pedal combos available for all the consoles.

Modern racing games seem to pride themselves on physical realism. I wonder how good the steering wheel and gas pedals have gotten for modern platforms? I assume most people just use controllers with analog sticks. Nothing comparable to the full-motion cabs you get in the arcades these days, where the whole thing rumbles with you.

My favorite racing games growing up were Pole Position, Test Drive, Buggy Boy, and Stunt Car Racer. I also really enjoyed Street Rod for the Commodore 64. Other than that, I played some PC racing games--one was pretty wacky, but I can never remember the name of it...Overdrive, or something like that. I later picked up a Loony Tunes racer type game for Dreamcast that was fun. I oddly never really cared for Mario Kart, though my wife loved it. I hated Outrun; just too damn hard to be any fun, though I loved the music.

I liked the wackier racers like Buggy Boy and Stunt Car Racer because just making laps gets boring really fast.

A few things to think about...Where does something like Spy Hunter fit in? Is it a racing game, or something else? Seems more like a hybrid shoot'em up to me. Same thing with a game like TechnoCop. Seems a little simplistic to call it a racing game. Do you remember how hard it was to drive around in Police Quest?

Okay, back to work. Current song: "Kill with Power" by Manowar.

P.S. Mark, if you get a chance, can you design a generic arcade cabinet icon for this sort of thing?

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