Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
30 October 2006
Ridge Racer series revealed: a sequence of tech demos
Today Gamasutra ran an interview with two Namco Bandai people: Hideo Teramoto (Ridge Racer 7 designer) and Hirofumi Inagaki (chief producer of Gundam). Brandon Sheffield is the interviewer (who has appended a comment to this post you might want to read). On the very first page, we find out that the Ridge Racer series has a very functional role at Namco Bandai:
GS: And what is the thinking behind having a Ridge Racer at every console launch?

HT: Well, my team likes to work on new hardware a lot. We're kind of hardware nerds, I guess. Any time something new comes out, we want to mess with it.
Well, there you have it. Namco Bandai essentially recreates the classic 1995 drift racer as an exercise to get used to the hardware. When they're done, they sell the resulting tech demo as a launch title.

Already this has been done for the PlayStation 2 (Ridge Racer V, the game I actually bought on launch day), the PSP (Ridge Racer was my third PSP game), and the Xbox 360 (Ridge Racer 6). Now Ridge Racer 7 will be a launch game tech demo for the PlayStation 3.

Whenever someone starts hacking a new piece of hardware, be it a digital camera or a console, one of the first things that gets ported is DooM. This is sort of the same thing, only it gets sold for $60 at your local store.

Unrelated to the above point: Is it just me or are the questions in this interview kind of lame? This exchange in particular was painful:
GS: I liked the Wonderswan version of Klonoa a lot.

HT: Well, I didn't work on it!

GS: That's ok, I liked it anyway.

Labels: ,

--Matt Matthews at 22:08
Comment [ 8 ]

Comments on this post:

Well, given how the versions that aren't tech demos play, I'll stick with the tech demos. At least until SEGA revives Daytona.

By Blogger Jeremy, at 31 October, 2006 08:29  

Whoa whoa whoa. Are you saying Rage Racer wasn't a great game?

Don't get me wrong: I played Ridge Racer (PSP) a ton, but ultimately it felt like a huge number of races just thrown together at random. With Rage Racer (and the previous games, I believe) there was a structure providing a monotonic increasing difficulty with decided more exotic vehicles available with successive wins. That flow was missing from Ridge Racer (PSP).

And Ridge Racer V was embarrassingly short and soulless. It is one of the very, very few games I have been disenchanted enough with to trade it in.

As for Ridge Racer 6, I haven't played it. And Ridge Racer 2 (PSP) doesn't show anything in the demo that makes it worth getting over the first PSP outing.

I never got very deep into Daytona, although I did race Ruffin over the Netlink a couple of times. That's gotta count for some geek points, no?

By Blogger jvm, at 31 October, 2006 09:19  

I like RR6. I should note that I'm not to be trusted on the subject of Namco racing games because I don't play games on Sony platforms.

Therefore, my comments are restricted to a very limited number of RR titles, nearly all of which were crap :)

By Blogger Jeremy, at 31 October, 2006 10:40  

We're tackling this from different directions then. I don't play games on Microsoft platforms. ;^)

By Blogger jvm, at 31 October, 2006 11:01  

I was pointed to this by simon, who reads everything on the internet ever. I think he has an RSS feed in his brain.

Anyway - a couple things about that interview - for one I did this on the show floor, and had to think up questions on the fly, as I didn't know who I was interviewing til I got to bandai's booth, so no time to background check and find interesting things to ask the fellow. They didn't have interviews set up properly, and I kept having to say I wasn't there for a booth tour. Especially tough was the gundam fellow - he was simply offered up after I arrived! I've never even watched a Gundam show, but what the hell. It was the worst of my interviews, but uhhhh, I kind of lost the rest in a hardware whipe. Really shitty. It was also quite loud in there, so I had to keep my questions simple. I cut out all the 'WHAT?' for the benefit of all.

Lastly, I like the Wonderswan. I'll mention it wherever I can! Haters can go uhhhhh play Ridge Racer on the PS3, or something.

By Anonymous brandon, at 01 November, 2006 12:56  

Brandon, thanks for stopping by. The interview questions seemed out-of-character poor, considering that I thought you did a good job on the Rule of Rose interview much better a while back. (See here. I appreciate a good follow-up question!) The context helps me understand why, so thanks.

I've not ever played a Wonderswan, but I hope to someday. I simply wonder if the interview might not have been better without that exchange altogether (esp. with no context in the intro about how/where the questions were asked).

By Blogger jvm, at 01 November, 2006 13:05  

Well, you would wonder correctly. However, from my perspective, I thought it was one of my weakest interviews in quite a while, so why not? The interview is already mediocre, low on info, and won't get links (I was a bit wrong about that, thanks to the riiiiidge racer! question), so why not pimp the Wonderswan.

And to note, the Wonderswan *isn't* actually great. I just like it because it's an underdog handheld with some wacky stuff on it, and I just can't help it. I still post on a neo geo pocket forum, years after the fact. Heh.

Thanks for pointing to the praise for the RoR interview - yeah, as they say...'can't win em all!'

To sum up, I'm definitely not disagreeing with your assertion - just adding context and saying hi!

God, I wish I could post the Reo Yonaga (Q Enterteinment) and Yojiro Ogawa (Sega) interviews...they were truly nice. They're lost forever! It's a karma thing, maybe.

By Anonymous brandon, at 01 November, 2006 13:22  

P.S. if you really want something to curmudge about (I made up a word conjugation!), try, if you dare, to read IGN UK.

This is what happens when British people are well aware of their local humor conventions, but have neither the intelligence nor the skill to use them.

By Anonymous brandon, at 01 November, 2006 13:44  

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