Pole Position!

Matt Barton's picture

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?

Comments

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
It'll bust your crank and

It'll bust your crank and leave skidmarks on your soul!!!

:) Well, geez, somebody had to say it.

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Racing Game elements
Quote:

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?

Games with racing games as mini-games or secondary game elements don't count as racing games. I think there is the germ of a very good point in there, though. Many designers think they can just throw in a driving segment in their game, like it's nothing. Of course like we discussed in the GTA III chapter, it's not that easy to make a good racing game as a secondary part of a main game.



Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

n/a
yakumo9275
yakumo9275's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2006
Ivan Ironman Stewarts

Ivan Ironman Stewarts Offroad Racing! that rocked. and Stunts..

streetrod was too simple and I never liked test drive. test drive 3 was interesting when it went '3d'. I dont know if it counts but stun runner was awesome :)

Pole Position sure did set the 'road' scene with the alternating lines, that persisted for.. years and years.

outrun with its 'splash' theme.

aah memories...

a lot of arcades I went to always had the 'track and field' cabinet next to the pole position cabinet.. I dont know why but its something I remember :)

-- Stu --

n/a
Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
Street Rod, simple?? I beg

Street Rod, simple?? I beg to differ. It's one of the most complex racing games of its era. Not only could you race all sorts of different cars, you could even swap out their engine--even parts of their engine, like carburetors, manifolds, transmissions, etc. It really taught me a lot about cars.

n/a
yakumo9275
yakumo9275's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2006
I'd argue street rod was

I'd argue street rod was simple, you'd buy a car, cut fenders, lower tires, tighten bolts, etc You knew which cars were fast and not, it was a very basic game. I found it very easy to beat. It got a little boring all the grinding you had to do tho. The aqueduct racing in SRII was aweful.

-- Stu --

n/a
Mark Vergeer
Mark Vergeer's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
Super Cycle - c64

Pitstop I, II and Pole Position where my first introductions to 8 bit racing. Of course No1 videopac too. Then there's Spy Hunter and Burnin Rubber also on the c64. The Last V8 is another great 'racing' title. Super Cycle is solid 8 bit racing game as well. Test Drive on the c64 was something amazing too, especially the graphics displaying the technical characteristics of the cars and the way the car drove off the screen is something I vividly remember.



Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc.
www.markvergeer.nl

n/a
Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
More discussion
Mark Vergeer wrote:

Pitstop I, II and Pole Position where my first introductions to 8 bit racing. Of course No1 videopac too. Then there's Spy Hunter and Burnin Rubber also on the c64. The Last V8 is another great 'racing' title. Super Cycle is solid 8 bit racing game as well. Test Drive on the c64 was something amazing too, especially the graphics displaying the technical characteristics of the cars and the way the car drove off the screen is something I vividly remember.

I have to disagree aggressively with The Last V8. While the speech synthesis is cool, I've found it an overly difficult race against the clock with spotty control. I own the C-64 version in the cool Mastertronic plastic folder, and I'm aware of the Atari 800 version (it may even be on the other side of the disk), and the Europe-only C-128 version.

Burnin' Rubber is great, though that and Bump n' Jump are essentially the same great. Great games, but probably not true racing games. It's probably among the earliest destruction derby style games, of which there have been a handful over the years (Hot Wheels on the C-64 had a destruction derby mini-game, the Psygnosis PS1 games, the one on the Dreamcast, etc.).

Test Drive on the C-64 for cool and it also had cool opening speech synthesis, but I never cared much for the control. Like most of Accolade's games though, it pushed the C-64's technical abilities well. I've rarely liked the Test Drive series, though it's still going today, so obviously someone likes it. It's even more long running than the Need for Speed series, which has a long lineage as well, starting with the 3DO version.

Pitstop I and II I enjoyed a greal deal. I was excited to eventually get the ColecoVision version since it supports the steering wheel, though I played I and II tons on the C-64.

I also don't consider Spy Hunter a racing game in any way. It has elements similar to Bump and Jump, but essentially it's a car combat game, which to me is a very different beast.



Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

n/a
yakumo9275
yakumo9275's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2006
I remember playing the heck

I remember playing the heck out of pitstop ii and be all like '1 corner to go and the pixel on my tire is going red!!!!' and trying to make it without blowing a tire. :)

its a shame moon patrol doesnt count as a racing game ;)

-- Stu --

n/a
Calibrator
Offline
Joined: 10/25/2006
Pitstop II
yakumo9275 wrote:

I remember playing the heck out of pitstop ii and be all like '1 corner to go and the pixel on my tire is going red!!!!' and trying to make it without blowing a tire. :)

Exactly my thoughts - the tires were a really great feature at that time.
Together with the pitstops it made racing tactics possible.

take care,
Calibrator

n/a
Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
I think we'll need to

I think we'll need to distinguish between true racing games and games that just happen to give you a vehicle to control instead of a person. I agree with Bill, Spy Hunter seems like a different beast than Pit Stop. I'm not sure how to classify games like Destruction Derby, though. Should we just limit this to first-person or "behind the car" perspective (Pole Position, etc.)?

What about something like Action Biker?

n/a

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.