Remembering classic games: Ridge Racer (1993)


Remembering classic games: Ridge Racer (1993)

Brightly coloured 3D polygons, silky smooth motion and… tyre-torturing slides

Mike ChannellPublished: 24 Mar 2023  External link to Top Gear Magazine Subscription – 5 issues for £5Skip 1 photos in the image carousel and continue reading

Careening into arcades in 1993, Ridge Racer had everything: brightly coloured 3D polygons, silky smooth motion and at least one bona fide ridge on which to race. Usually found parked cheek by jowl with Sega’s Daytona USA machine, these two spectacular racing games vied for your precious pocket money throughout the Nineties.

Of the two, Ridge Racer was arguably the more shallow experience, with a more simplistic handling model and, at least in this first incarnation, no multiplayer. If you were a 10-year-old who could barely reach the pedals in the arcade cabinet though, this meant it was far easier to pick up and play. A mere stab of the brake pedal and yank of the wheel would initiate an enormous, tyre-torturing slide. The only bigger drift is continental drift.

Advertisement – Page continues below

While there was only a single circuit to master in this first game, with a couple of layouts, the track was a highly compressed roadtrip that took in a densely packed metropolis, a dramatic canyon suspension bridge and an idyllic beachside resort.

Two years later, the PlayStation release of the game was a respectable conversion, earning Ridge a whole new legion of fans. It probably helped that the notoriously awful Sega Saturn version of Daytona, which arrived around the same time, was about as faithful as a Love Island contestant.

You might like

HiPhi X review: China’s gullwing-doored electric SUV

Meet the man who collects old Subarus in an underground car park in Japan

Remembering classic games: Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec (2001)

Fortnite blames UK V-Bucks price hike on inflation

Neither of these were the ideal way to play Ridge Racer, though. That honour went to the vanishingly rare Ridge Racer Full Scale arcade machine, which allowed you to play the game on an enormous 10-foot screen from behind the wheel of a full-sized Mazda MX-5, complete with working ignition key and gauges. Apparently one of those set-ups would have cost you around £150,000 back in 1993, close to twice that in today’s money. And then you’d have to work out how to fit it through the front door…

Advertisement – Page continues below

Top Gear

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.



Next article

MotorsportMotorsport world mourns young driver killed at Spa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *