Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Possibly the greatest Arcade Racer ever

Not me personally.

I'm talking about Daytona USA (wiki), created by Sega in 1993 and 1994, and still in the arcades after 17 years, which is like a bajillion in videogame years. The game was so good it remained popular despite a supposedly superior successor being produced. There were single seat units produced, but the linked pair cabinets were much more popular, and could be linked to others, enabling easy multiplayer mayhem (the most I personally saw linked was 8 players, but I'm not sure what the upper limit was).

And a while back, I was quite good at it (car racing games kinda being my thing arcade wise). I used to play a lot, before movies, if I had time to kill, or just for its own sake. I spent a lot of time (and admittedly coin) behind the wheel of one of these, and found this video of my favourite track (the 'Expert' one) on youtube the other day. Despite the awesomely bad video quality, I quickly got back into it (after thinking initially it was sped up, then remembering it wasn't).

And noted that I was faster than the player on screen (his technique is good, but he spends too much time on the grass), which was heartening in an 'I love me' sort of way (from memory for the record, my fastest opening lap was somewhere around 1:38, my fastest flyer around 1:33). I was quick, and still am when I venture back in the saddle (without using the later cop-out 'Turbo' tweak which could make any player temporarily competitive), but not as warp factoring wow fast as this guy:

Even on my best days I could never pull out laps like that (while I drive exactly the same as him on most of the circuit, he would absolutely nail me on a couple of corners. I never quite got the hang of drifting in 4th gear like he does).

I still have a lap occasionally, but not like I used to. Still a great game, and still capable of entertaining and generating a rush for the player.

Prior to Daytona, I got into its immediate predecessor, Virtua Racing (wiki), which not only looks vastly more dated than its only slightly younger sibling, also perversely had a 'Medium' track that was harder than the 'Hard' track to negotiate. Some cabinets of this game had inflatable air bladders that would push you around the cockpit.

Also played a lot back in the day was Sega Rally Championship (wiki), another game that proved more respected than its successor. This vid brought back a lot of memories. This is the same player as the the first Daytona vid, and like that one I am slightly faster in this game as well, and again not as fast as some. Also interesting that we share the same camera preferences; in Daytona I liked the cam behind the car, but for Sega Rally preferred the bumper cam.

Honourable mentions also to the Outrunners (Sega again), Cruising USA and Cruising World, and San Francisco Rush in the driving entertainment genre.

They could be plenty frustrating at times, but I had a lot of fun wasting a lot of time on these things :)

No comments: