A brief postcard from the game centre this week: a well-known classic in the wild. I just like seeing Ridge Racer machines still in arcades and still getting played. Racing games have always provided the right limitations on player movement and perspective to coax the most impressive visuals out of whatever is the latest technology. Virtua Racing was Sega’s first 3D hit, Mario Kart proved the potential of Mode 7, and Ridge Racer on the PlayStation was probably the smartest looking of its cool, arcade-in-the-home launch games.

Ridge Racer, launching alongside Battle Arena Toshinden, and soon joined by WipEout and Tomb Raider, represented a promise that gaming would be cool from now on. The fact that those aren’t cool ideas now proves they bull’s-eyed the fickleness of fashion. But the fact that Ridge Racer’s still around — still getting updated and still getting an audience — proves we didn’t need that promise anyway. It’s a true hall-of-famer.

Next week, octopus.

(See all postcards from the game centre here.)




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