Games you should still be playing: SEGA Rally Championship

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Hundreds of cars, dozens of tracks, and HD graphics are what you’d expect from a marquee racing title in this generation of the videogame world. This was not the case back in 1995, when SEGA Rally Championship landed in arcades across the nation. Believe it or not, the main selling point of this pivotal racing title was the fact that your vehicle reacted differently depending on what type of surface you were driving on. That’s right, SEGA wasn’t hyping HD graphics, or endless lists of the world’s fastest roadsters to get people interested, all they had to do was tell us that your car would slide when it hit gravel and grip when it nailed pavement. Gamers far and wide were blown away by the revolutionary gameplay that SRC offered, and paid good money to enjoy it.

Some of the additional features of this game included a monumental 3 cars, one of which was unlockable, as well as a huge selection of tracks… 3 to be exact. Yep, the most true to life rally experience available came with such stunning courses as “Desert”, “Mountain”, and the ever-popular “Forest”. Those might sound like pretty complicated places to race in, but fear not, as you had an in-car navigator to help you on your way. Your passenger would act as a guide and tell you what turns were coming up so you could prepare, just like in a real rally race. However, your helper never seemed to be the most intelligent person in the world, as he would often yell out “Maybe” after giving you a direction. So you’d be coming up on a sharp turn in the road and your guide would yell out, “Sharp right… maybe”, but by the time he finished his sentence you were already careening head-first into the side of the track, completely trashing your lap time.

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Ok, ok, I know what you’re thinking. I’m being awfully hard on a game that I’m suggesting you should play, right? Well these gripes are also what made the game great. It actually WAS revolutionary to have your car slide out of control when it hit gravel or mud. Gamers had very little experience changing their play style in mid-race and it was extremely challenging. The navigator was also an amazing addition at the time. Having a game possibly mislead you was very refreshing in a market where you were being held by the hand and lead through just about every other experience you had. You had to decide in a split second whether or not you trusted your navigator, just as if you were in a real rally race. It had a buttery-smooth framerate and balanced controls that made the game fun to play even if you weren’t very good. It was a stunning achievement that influenced racing games for years to come.

  • The Game: SEGA Rally Championship
  • System: Arcade, SEGA Saturn
  • Release Date: 1995
  • Rarity: Arcade – Rare / SEGA Saturn – Common
  • Average Price: Arcade $1,595USD / SEGA Saturn $5-10USD
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