01.28.13

The 90s Arcade Racer is a sign that nostalgia is alive and well on Kickstarter

After a banner year, the game industry is going through something of a Kickstarter hangover right now. It was the bright and exciting new thing last February and March, but now, we’re as likely to hear about big name hail mary prayers like Gas Powered Games’ latest bid to get Wildman going, or scary moments like whatever happened to Code Hero. Consider it a welcome correction that will set the stage for brighter futures.

Then a project like the aptly-named The 90s Arcade Racer arrives on the scene, looking way, way too good to be a one-person project, and I want to believe all over again.

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Based on cheesy, colorful arcade racers of the last decade (think Daytona USA, Cruis’n USA, and so on), the project is scoped appropriately for the (apparently) one-man dev team – there will be three tracks and three playable cars, and project lead Antonis Pelekanos (Pelikan13) is asking for a relatively modest sum at £10,000. 

The fact that this project exists – and is doing well thus far - is also proof that there is a place for nostalgia from every imaginable era and genre of gaming. We might be experiencing 8 and 16-bit retro overload as much as we are Kickstarter fatigue – and this project is an example of a very different sort of retro.

We found 90s racers cheesy at the time (remember the awkward Cruis’n USA bikini girl sprite?), but now, the bright colors and admittedly shallow, instant-gratification-granting gameplay sound positively refreshing. As someone who could not tear herself away from Crazy Taxi in the Dreamcast era, I get it, and I want this to succeed so I can play it on my phone someday.

It does make me want to know what’s next in terms of the next nostalgia-genre craze. How about 90s-era 3D mascot platformers? Actually, a bunch of ex-Rare staffers are supposedly working on a Banjo-Kazooie-style game, so that may actually be next. FMV games? That particular disgraced genre is actually ripe for someone with a real creative vision (and a grasp of modern tech) to come along and make good on the promises that Sega CD couldn’t fulfill in 1994.

No matter what, I just hope Pelikan13 keeps the name “90s Arcade Racer” just the way it is for the finished project.