One of the three formats of game genre that is ever-green for amusement - the driving format - benefits from the creation of a realistic driving cockpit to experience the thrills of high-speed action within. No matter how much console developers manufacturer force-feed-back steering wheels to play consumer games, they are left in the cold compared to the latest fully stocked arcade driving cockpit.
The creation of high-octane arcade driving action has seen some impressive newcomers in recent months. American developer Raw Thrills, headed by industry supreme, Eugene Jarvis, has released its third sequel of the motion picture license with The Fast and the Furious: Drift
; the encapsulates the fundamentals of what makes successful arcade racing. Raw Thrills has bottled the fast, frantic and fun requirements of drivers in this market.
The developer added physicality to this list with a super-bike variant on the theme The Fast And The Furious: Super Bikes
players riding a stylized bike interface. All the games in this series have super-stylized graphics and intense race and crash action; offering a compelling multi-player race experience, but also increasing the longevity of the title by a unique player password system allowing customised vehicles to be stored and reloaded by players.
The need for intense street race action, in a familiar package saw another American developer take the popular Electronic Arts driving property and licensed it for amusement application. Global VR has released onto the market Need For Speed Underground
? and a update of this based on the new Carbon
consumer release is expected next year. In this case the player is able not only to compete in conventional multi-player races, but also undertake a career-mode saving their progression through the ranks and car customisations ? using a player VIP Card (memory cards that retain player data).
The hardcore arcade underground players have been reveling in intense customised street car action, in this case based on two highly popular Japanese manga series. The SEGA title, Initial D4
, the latest version of the sleeper hit, offers players a chance to compete in a highly technical driving experience round the deserted streets of Tokyo and its suburbs. The game offers an ever increasing battle against fellow racers challenging to rule the streets.
The arcade game enables the player to store their achievements on a special memory card. A memory card is also used on the Namco Bandai Games street racer Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3
. Again based on a popular manga, and again based on gruelling street combat on deserted Tokyo streets, this version offers a less highly technical, and more fast pace arcade racing experience ? this level of amusement driving is a unique genre without a true consumer equivalent.
Namco Bandai Games has also used this cabinet and memory card platform for its much softer Mario Kart: Arcade GP 2
, a driving game that borrows all from the console game series. Aimed at a much younger audience, the ability to save game progression and vehicle customization is a growing trend in titles for the market.
More conventional arcade street racing has been supplied recently by Konami Digital Entertainment with Crazy Streets: Thrill Drive
. This game offers a wide selection of different vehicles to undertake a cross-country endurance race, with the ability to collect special feature to beat the opposition along the route. This title is the third in the Thrill Drive
series, earlier versions claimed to be the inspiration for the Climax?s BurnOut
series of console race and wreck games. The recent need for a game that offers a fast-pace driving experience in the arcade has seen veteran amusement developer, Taito, revisit its popular police chase driving experience with the sequel Chase HQ 2
The creation of a compelling experience can also see the fundamentals of arcade drivers supercharged. SEGA has recently released OutRun 2 SP Special Attraction
, which takes the highly popular Ferrari car-fest and encapsulates it in a highly specialised motion cabinet eight-player attraction. The players in four motion capsule have twin driving positions, their cars controlled alternatively depending on driving skill ? this highly frenetic experience provides a new level of amusement thrill that marks the future for the sector. About the author: Kevin Williams is founder and director of the out-of-home leisure entertainment consultancy KWP Limited. His extensive years in the global video amusement and hi-tech attractions industry includes top management and design posts, with special focus on new technology development and applications. A well-known speaker on the industry and its technology, he pens an extensive number of articles. Founder and publisher of The Stinger Report - a popular industry e-Newsletter and web-based information service.