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64 Racing Games in
Shock Horror Stunna

A scan of Zzap!64 letter of the month issue 50, june 1989

Dear Lloyd,

I really agree with Leo Landmeter in the December issue when he says that there hasn't been any good racing games the last few years.

But I would like to go even further and say that there never have been any good ones available for the 64. It’s a simple fact and I’m sure most people would agree. After all these years Atarisoft’s conversion of Pole Position and Elite’s conversion of Buggy Boy (which I don't consider a real racing game) still must be regarded as the best racing games available.

Sure, a lot of people seem to think that Pitstop 2 and Supercycle are very good games, but I wouldn't go along with that, not at all.

They are both very polished and good looking games. But, and this is the crucial point, the track stays in the centre all the time without changing perspective as the car turns. If it does, it doesn’t matter what the update is like (in this case extremely smooth).

If the 3D in a racing game will be convincing the perspective of the track just has to change. This is a very basic fact to say the least. Just imagine what the coin op version of Outrun would have looked like if the track stayed in the centre all the time.

The lack of good racing games for the 64 is even more irritating when you consider the flood of them in the arcades, most of which are excellent. But instead of getting good conversions we get some of the worst games ever to appear on the 64. Roadblasters for instance was just incredibly worthless.

Hopes were however higher for Wec Le Mans as Ocean were going to convert it. Ocean, which is among the best software houses around for the 64 might do a much more professional job. But instead to everybody's great disappointment, they failed to a stunning degree. And what really disgusted me was the hype your magazine created in an utterly silly article in the January issue. I have to say, though, that it was very much unlike you.

The question we now have to face is whether it really is possible to make a good racing game for the 64. It certainly begins to seem as if they were doomed. But even the Amiga is yet devoid of a decent racing game, strangely enough Spectrum and Nintendo have good ones though.

What would be most interesting to see is what some really clever people could do. People who put in a professional effort and take pride in what they do.

Ideally a competition could be arranged by a magazine like yours, perhaps in cooperation with some other ones. A challenge to all the leading software houses and programming teams to create a good racing game for the C-64 (let's give Ocean another chance to show what they can do). All contributions could then be sold in a large compilation which I'm sure would sell extraordinarily well. And, most important, it would give a much needed facelift to the most underdeveloped genre among 64-games.

But maybe that is an utopian idea. Maybe the companies just don't care about the quality of their games. In any case, I sure hope you do.

Ola Hansson, 24 March 1989

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