5 of our top racing games on Evercade
Racing games have been a staple of the video games medium since the very early days. Initially unfolding on static screens showing the overview of an entire course at once, the genre quickly became more ambitious. And to this day, racing games remain one of the best ways to show off the capabilities of new gaming hardware!
Evercade plays host to a wide variety of racing games from throughout gaming history, ranging from some of the very earliest titles up until later, more realistic efforts. Today we’re going to look at a selection of five of them that, between them, show plenty of variety in this consistently interesting and longstanding genre of video games.
As always, our picks for today are simply a showcase of a small selection of games from the complete Evercade library, so be sure to explore the other racing games available for yourself. And if you’ve discovered some of your own favourites, feel free to share them with us on our social channels — links at the end of this article.
Start your engines, then — it’s time to get racing!
Motor Psycho (Atari Collection 1)
An oft-overlooked title originally released on an oft-overlooked console (and now available to enjoy on Atari Collection 1), 1990’s Motor Psycho is the Atari 7800’s answer to old-school “vanishing point” racers such as Namco’s classic Pole Position. Indeed, it has a lot in common with Pole Position — right down to how the game is as much about scoring points as it is about attaining good times, and the way your bike explodes in a fiery ball of death if you so much as clip any obstacles.
Motor Psycho originally had a somewhat troubled development cycle, which was not at all unusual for Atari 7800 games. Indeed, anyone who knows the story behind the release of the Atari 7800 in general will know that the entire system was blighted with what can politely be called “troubles”, beginning with how it was delayed from its originally intended release date of 1984 to 1986.
Motor Psycho was originally known during its early stages of development as Super Stunt Cycle, and indeed you can see the remnants of this original theme with the jump ramps and ability to press a button to leap into the air. The “edgier” theming was added somewhat later, presumably in an attempt to give it a touch of early ’90s attitude, but the game remains an obscurity and an interesting historical curiosity thanks to how most gamers had moved on to other, more popular platforms by the time 1990 rolled around.
Burnin’ Rubber (Data East Collection 1)
I’m sure there are some out there who would debate whether or not Data East’s top-down avoid ’em up Burnin’ Rubber is a racing game, but for the purposes of today, we’re assuming it is. You drive a car, you avoid things, you attempt to reach a finish line — that sounds like a race to us!
Burnin’ Rubber has its origins in the arcade, where it is more commonly known in the west as Bump ‘n’ Jump. The 8-bit home console version on Data East Collection 1 actually deviates quite a bit from the arcade original, however — so much so that some actually consider it to be more of a sequel than a port.
Whether or not you believe Burnin’ Rubber to truly be a racing game, it’s an oft-cited favourite from the Evercade library thanks to its enjoyably addictive gameplay and its inordinately catchy soundtrack.
Top Racer (Piko Interactive Collection 1)
Beloved the world over, Top Racer is an all-time classic racing game that holds up extraordinarily well to this day thanks to its high-speed action, enjoyable split-screen two-player mode and wide variety of tracks. Plus that soundtrack by Barry Leitch is an all-time classic — even if those who enjoyed a certain rather similar licensed racing game series on classic home computers will find it rather familiar!
Although often regarded as a port of the licensed racer in question — albeit without the licensed vehicles — developer Gremlin has stated several times over the years that Top Racer was developed as its own distinct project. And, indeed, it has garnered its own following over the years too, with it proving particularly popular in Brazil, where it was a big hit in the public gaming cafés known as “locadoras”.
Indeed, such was the longstanding appeal of Top Racer in Brazil that many of today’s Brazilian indie developers working on racing games specifically cite it as an inspiration for their own work; just give modern games like Slipstream and Horizon Chase Turbo a go and Top Racer’s influence will be readily apparent. And if you want to enjoy the original classic, it’s waiting for you on Piko Interactive Collection 1.
Hardcore 4×4 (Gremlin Collection 1)
The most modern game on today’s list, 1996’s Hardcore 4×4 on Gremlin Collection 1 is a 32-bit polygonal racer that was noteworthy on its original release for the way in which it modelled all four wheels of its vehicles as separate entities, rather than the vehicle simply being considered as one large object. This made it stand out as being surprisingly realistic, even though at heart the game is still very much an arcade racer rather than a simulation.
Hardcore 4×4 has plenty of variety thanks to its different tracks and the range of conditions in which you can race them. The same course can have a very different feel depending on the weather and time — you might say the difference can be night and day. And when you’re racing in low visibility, you’ll come to notice that Hardcore 4×4’s tracks are all actually designed quite considerately — there are plenty of visual cues to look out for, even in the fog or the dead of night, so you’ll rarely run into a blind corner!
Plus if you ever get tired of racing, you can always take out your stress on the development team; just start a time trial game, enter your name as DUTCHMAN, then back out and view the credits from the game’s options menu for a special surprise…
Motocross (Intellivision Collection 2)
Unfolding from an isometric quasi-3D overhead viewpoint rather than a third- or first-person perspective, 1983’s Motocross on Intellivision Collection 2 may not seem as fast and frantic as some other racing games in the Evercade library, but it’s historically noteworthy nonetheless. Plus, with its custom track designer, it has potentially limitless replayability, particularly as the Evercade’s Save Game feature allows you to permanently store your creations — something that wasn’t possible on the original Intellivision version!
Developed as an early attempt to incorporate realistic physics into a video game, Motocross is a game that rewards careful driving and an understanding of the way your bike handles. Developer Rick Koenig supposedly enjoyed playing tricks on testers by setting the game’s internal gravity value to zero, then watching and laughing as confused players saw their bikes sail up and away off the top of the screen after hitting a ramp!
If Motocross feels quite familiar to fans of classic 8-bit home computers and their games, that’s not a coincidence — Koenig, along with fellow former Intellivision game designers Connie Goldman and David Warhol, would later go on to make the highly customisable isometric racer Racing Destruction Set in 1985.
So those are our top picks for our favourite racing games on Evercade! Now it’s over to you — what are your favourite racing games on Evercade? Stop by on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or Discord and come tell us all about your top picks!
With over 260 games available