Tag Archives: racing games

Atari ST A to Z: Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge

There are some games that, when they release, you just know they’re going to be all-time greats, forever regarded as classics.

Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge from Gremlin Graphics was definitely one of those games. It pushed the “vanishing point” racer formula massively with its split-screen two-player action and its variety of interesting courses, and its presentation and gameplay were immaculate.

It would go on to form the basis of the widely beloved Top Gear for Super NES, which would go on to inspire more recent works such as Horizon Chase Turbo. And it still plays like a dream today. So please put your hands together and give it up for a true racing legend.

Atari A to Z

Horizon Chase Turbo: Top Gear Returns

Many people assumed that the advent of the true 3D polygonal racer spelled the death of the traditional, “vanishing point” racer.

After all, why would you ever want to play a technologically limited game where you simply slide from side to side on a track without actually turning when you can spin your car around, go the wrong way and attempt to cause as many head-on collisions as possible? Or race in “true 3D” too, I suppose.

Well… you know… because it’s fun. And thankfully a number of developers in recent years have remembered that. And so we’ve ended up with loving homages to the past such as the Kickstarter-funded Slipstreamand the subject of today’s article: Horizon Chase Turbo. Let’s take a look.

Continue reading Horizon Chase Turbo: Top Gear Returns

Atari A to Z: Rally Speedway

Today’s game is a well-regarded top-down racer from back in the day: it’s John Anderson’s Rally Speedway.

Rally Speedway became well-known for its high-speed, smooth scrolling gameplay — and perhaps more significantly, for its strong amount of customisation. Not only could you tweak the game’s performance and difficulty to your liking, you could even make your own tracks for you and your friends to take on.

How well does it hold up next to more modern attempts to do something similar, though? Let’s find out!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

The MoeGamer 2019 Awards: The Vanishing Point Award

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards I’ve devised in collaboration with the community to celebrate the sorts of things that never get celebrated in end-of-year roundups! Find out more here — and feel free to leave a suggestion on that post if you have any good ideas!

I love a good “vanishing point” racer, as is doubtless evidenced by our podcast episode on this very subject. But have any in particular caught my attention this year?

For the uninitiated, a vanishing point racer is an arcade-style driving game that, rather than unfolding in true 3D, makes use of graphical trickery involving converging lines to simulate driving “into” the screen. As a result, in a vanishing point racer, you tend to move from side to side rather than actually turning, and the emphasis is on skilfully avoiding obstacles rather than handling your car in a realistic manner.

For this award, I’m deliberately celebrating a less obvious choice, despite having covered the excellent Switch version of OutRun earlier this year. Not that OutRun doesn’t deserve love, mind you — but because everyone already knows OutRun is good. With that in mind…

And the winner is…

Continue reading The MoeGamer 2019 Awards: The Vanishing Point Award

Atari ST A to Z: Fast Lane

The “sim racer” has very much become its own distinct thing over the course of the last 20 years or so.

Back in the 16-bit home computer era, the lines between arcade racers and more simulation-like affairs were a little more blurred thanks to the limitations of the technology of the time. And that’s where games like Fast Lane come in, combining old-school “vanishing point” racing with an arcade feel and more simulation-style aspects such as damage, wear and tear and realistic pit stops.

Praised by several publications around the time of its original release, Fast Lane holds up surprisingly well today… although its lack of save functionality means you’d better set a whole day aside if you want to run that whole championship!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Wreckfest: This One’s A Right Banger

I’ve been following Wreckfest on and off for what feels like a very long time now.

Originally announced by Finnish developer Bugbear (creators of the vastly underappreciated Ridge Racer Unbounded) as Next Car Game back in 2013, Wreckfest was designed as a spiritual successor to the company’s cult hit FlatOut series, as well as a natural evolution of older titles such as Psygnosis’ Destruction Derby series, popularised in the PS1 era, and the even more venerable home computer title Street Rod from Logical Design Works and California Dreams.

After more than four years of early access on Windows PC and another year of getting the console versions up to snuff, Wreckfest is now available in all its glory for home computers, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. So let’s get our hands dirty!

Continue reading Wreckfest: This One’s A Right Banger

Racer Essentials: S.T.U.N. Runner

After checking out the not-very-good-but-I-still-like-it Atari ST version on Atari A to Z earlier this week, I thought it was worth taking a closer look at the arcade original of S.T.U.N. Runner.

It’s an interesting game, for sure; although Sega is widely credited with popularising the polygonal racer in arcades thanks to its excellent Virtua Racing, Atari Games had actually been experimenting with filled 3D racers for some years previously.

Probably the most well-known of these is Hard Drivin’, a game that took itself a little too seriously — to date it’s still the only arcade racer I know of with a clutch pedal — but the futuristic bobsled run that is S.T.U.N. Runner was also innovative in its own way.

Continue reading Racer Essentials: S.T.U.N. Runner

Atari ST A to Z: S.T.U.N. Runner

The futuristic racer subgenre tends to mostly be attributed to Nintendo’s F-Zero series these days, but there were a number of other companies experimenting with the formula too.

One such company was Atari Games, who put out the arcade version of S.T.U.N. Runner in 1989, a good year before F-Zero hit the Super NES. Running on a variation of the Hard Drivin’ hardware, its polygonal graphics and blistering speed impressed anyone who was lucky to come across a machine.

Its home ports… well, they did their best, and despite the ST version being what can politely be called “barely passable” I had a surprising amount of fun with it…

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 26 – Vanishing Point

Humblest greetings to you, Internet denizen, and a hearty welcome to another episode of The MoeGamer Podcast, featuring my good self and a spicy pepper-chomping Mr Chris Caskie of MrGilderPixels.

The MoeGamer Podcast is available in several places. You can subscribe to my channel on YouTube to stay up to date with both the video versions of the podcast and my weekly videos (including the Atari A to Z retro gaming series); you can follow on Soundcloud for the audio-only version of the podcast; you can subscribe via RSS to get the audio-only version of the podcast in your favourite podcast app; or you can subscribe via iTunes. Please do at least one of these if you can; it really helps us out!

Or you can hit the jump to watch or listen to today’s episode right here on MoeGamer.

Continue reading The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 26 – Vanishing Point

Atari A to Z Flashback: Super Bug

While a bit different from what we know today as the “arcade racer”, Atari’s early attempts in this regard were all rather enjoyable.

Of the three included in the Atari Flashback Classics collection, Super Bug was the earliest and, consequently, the simplest. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time, however — if anything it makes it a great place to start!

Drive until you can’t drive any more: that’s all you need to do. But as we’ve seen countless times on this series already, sometimes it’s the simplest concepts that make for the most addictive games…

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.