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Exploring Level Design: Ridge Racer 1993



OK, so here is another point in Games Design I want to make. Ridge Racer, 1993, and how it created a realistic, almost fully functional city in just 1993.

So almost everyone remembers the game Ridge Racer, released in the Arcades in 1993, the game was like Wipeout, marketed towards an audience of Boy Racers, Tuners and Club Culture. The game featured club music samples from the likes of The Prodigy, Kraftwerk and even Fatboy Slim's basic mix tapes.  But here is something very special I want to tell you about Ridge Racer.

It was pretty much one of the first games in history to have a realistic city environment that was also semi-functional. The game had a fully functioning starting light system(in the arcade version at least), an electronic checkpoint system, and a city that looks straight out of the future, with a replica of the Renaissance Center in the middle of it, also with a screen that acts as a live scoreboard. This means that the game's levels were way ahead of their time. And that it also featured a construction site with diggers creating what appears to be a new Hotel while the Airport is still functioning.

And that's what I want to say that's even more interesting about the Level Design. Over the years, Ridge City was from a small coastal city to a massive power-house, and evolved into a massive Metropolis by the time Ridge Racer V came out. The original 1993 game also included planes that flew above, helicopters that also apparently had a suspicious looking "SEGA" logo on them. And of course a highway and a second road that functioned with Lorries and Cars.

The game's level design though, is so brilliant, and the handling easily accessible, that here is what it's like to see the game in action.

And this is what the game appears as, notice the awesome Level Design and everything, the cheer of the crowds, and the Ridge Racer theme playing. Michael G's voice booming.


It's such an awesome game, with equally awesome level design. And just an example that sometimes Racing Games have the best level design.

I am considering next doing Kingdom Hearts or Petscop, even though Petscop technically isn't a video game. I may be able to do some analysis into the level design. Any levels with fully functioning elements though, are my favourites.


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The contrast with Sega Rally's "High Technology vs Down and Dirty environments" is also a subject I will talk about later.

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