Fun fact: I have the manual for the original Atari Lynx version of Checkered Flag framed in my toilet.
For a certain period during the Lynx’s lifetime, Atari eschewed booklet-style manuals in favour of posters for the games with the instructions on the back. My wife liked the art on Checkered Flag’s instructions sheet — which I somehow still had despite having not owned a Lynx for a good ten years or so — and so we put it up on the wall. Consequently, every time I’m having a poo I get to read those instructions for the umpteenth time.
Believe me, I am now intimately familiar with how to play Checkered Flag effectively — helpful now that it’s been rereleased as part of the Atari Lynx Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade — and the fact that, in Atari’s own words, the winner of each race is rewarded with “a trophy and a big hug”. And, in a surprisingly progressive, inclusive step for a video game on a failed console from 1991, the manual also takes care to note that said big hug is “where the driver’s gender becomes important”. Oh, also there’s some racing game action in there, too, I suppose; let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Checkered Flag: Where the Driver’s Gender Becomes Important
As you’ll know if you’ve listened to our episode of The MoeGamer Podcast on the subject, I love me a good arcade racer.
One of my recent discoveries in this genre was Fuel, a game developed by Asobo Studio and published by Codemasters. If Asobo Studio’s name sounds familiar, it’s because they’re the developers behind the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator. Turns out they’ve been making spectacularly huge, fully explorable open worlds for quite a long time now — although Fuel “only” offers a play area roughly the size of Connecticut rather than the whole Earth.
Check out the action in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
I love a good racing game. And, while the definition of “good racing game” may vary from person to person, in my case that means “ridiculous, physically improbable and probably fatal things happening in realistic-looking environments”.
I have no interest in an accurate simulation of what it’s like to drive a Rover Metro around Donington Park circa 1987, but present me with the opportunity to fling myself off the side of a quarry on a motorbike going over 200 miles per hour while I admire the ruins of ancient Greece passing majestically by beneath me, and I am 100% there.
As you may have surmised, nail’d falls very comfortably and firmly into this latter category.
Continue reading nail’d: Look Out Below
“Which Mario Kart is best?” is one of those questions that can start bitter, terrible arguments. Or at the very least, send you into an endless cycle of analysis paralysis as you contemplate which one actually is the “best”.
Do you prefer Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s “best of everything” approach, blending brand new tracks with classics from yesteryear with a twist? How about Double Dash’s team-based mechanics? 64’s early attempts to move the series into true 3D?
For everyone, the answer is different, and I can’t even give you a definitive answer on my own preferences. But one thing we can hopefully all agree on is that even if Super Mario Kart for Super NES isn’t your favourite Mario Kart, it’s probably the most important.
Continue reading Super Mario Kart: Defining a Genre
Stunt Race FX — or Wild Trax, as it was known in Japan — is not a game that gets talked about nearly as much as many of its contemporaries.
There are a number of reasons for this, chief among which was that it released in 1994, when excitement for Sony’s PlayStation — originally intended to be a CD-ROM-based add-on for the Super NES, lest we forget — was reaching a fever pitch; the 32-bit system would release later that very year, wowing everyone with its smooth, texture-mapped polygonal graphics, high-quality audio and impressive arcade ports.
As with many things that got overshadowed at their time of original release, however, Stunt Race FX remains a fascinating piece of Nintendo history that remains worth exploring.
Continue reading Stunt Race FX: A Last Hurrah
One of the most commonly cited reasons for enjoying video games is allowing oneself to realise fantasies of various descriptions.
Frequently, these fantasies are heroic in nature, casting us into a world that is not our own and throwing us into conflict against a powerful foe that is nonetheless possible to overcome with enough determination. Sometimes they’re emotional, allowing us to engage with characters who are very different from people we encounter in reality. They might even be sexual, giving us the opportunity to explore a side of ourselves we find difficult to bring up even with people we know and love.
Or sometimes they might just be wondering what it would be like if your childhood toy cars could actually power themselves and race around an improvised circuit constructed of whatever happened to be on hand at the time. Enter the extravagantly titled Table Top Racing World Tour Nitro Edition, a game that can most certainly help with that last one, even if it won’t assist with your throbbing libido in the slightest. Unless you’re really into tiny cars.
Continue reading Table Top Racing World Tour Nitro Edition: Less is More
Back before makers of arcade games figured out how to do a vaguely convincing 3D effect, racing games tended to be strictly top-down affairs.
Sprint 2, developed by Kee Games (actually Atari in disguise so as to get around contractual obligations) was one of several examples from this early era. Pitting either one player against a computer-controlled car or two friends against one another over twelve different tracks, it helped define the early days of a genre that has grown and changed significantly over the ages.
The oldies can still be goodies, though, and I still have a lot of time for Sprint 2, as simplistic as it is!
Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.
One of the most interesting success stories of the last couple of console generations is the series of Sonic-themed racing games.
While the blue blur’s mainline adventures have had a somewhat mixed reception over the years, Sumo Digital’s Sonic Racing series (to date consisting of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed and Team Sonic Racing) has been very positively received by press and public alike.
So how is the latest installment? Let’s take a look!
Continue reading Team Sonic Racing: Always Better Together
With my Sunday Driving playthrough of Black Rock Studio’s excellent Split/Second now at an end, it’s time to take a final, summative look back at one of my favourite racers of all time.
Split/Second, like its contemporary and rival Blur, was a victim of a combination of factors: poor marketing, arrogant publishers and an overall gaming landscape that was somewhat in flux. As such, while those who took a chance on it back in the day tend to look back on it rather fondly now, it doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves.
Let’s change all that, shall we?
Continue reading Racer Essentials: Split/Second
Here’s one I vividly remember from back in the day… but for which there’s a surprising lack of information about online!
Fire Chief was developed by Tim Huntington and released through English Software, who we’ve already seen a couple of times on Atari A to Z. Beyond the fact it was included on one of English Software’s Atari Smash Hits compilations (number 4, to be precise), there’s not a lot more that can be said from a historical perspective — even its original box art (and/or if it was ever released as a standalone title!) remains seemingly lost to time.
Oh well. We’d better just take a good hard look at how it plays then, huh? Hold on to your hats, this one goes like the clappers!
Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.