Hindsight : Hot Rod
Cart: Hot Rod
Cab: Arcade / C64 / Amiga
Hot Rod is a 4-player birds eye view racing game. It was originally released in 1988 for arcades and 1990 for consoles. I first encountered Hot Rod as a young child in an arcade that was located on the old Martello caravan park in Walton-on-the-Naze, England. The date must have been around the mid-90’s.
This particular arcade machine did not look like many others, as it had multiple steering wheels attached to a base while the game was displayed on a single screen. The version I played had four steering wheels attached, each with their own pedal. But there were versions which had two or three steering wheels. Sound strange? I bet it does. The concept was unique but it was one that worked well.
Now the gameplay: all four opponents would start off with a certain amount of gas, which declined as the game went on. You were able to collect a flashing letter ‘G’ that would add an additional 20 gas to your total. If you ran out of gas before reaching the goal the game would end for that player, with the total carrying over to the next race for the others.
After the race had finished, you entered a shop where you were able to buy upgrades such as new engines, specialised tires such as spiked or speed, bumpers and so on. I think it was the first arcade racing game I played that allowed you to upgrade your car with money.
Hot Rod was not overly popular at my old arcade. It was housed right next to a Street Fighter 2 machine, which was the arcade’s biggest asset. It’s still a game that has been etched into my memory, even though I have never seen it anywhere outside of that particular arcade.
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It saddens me to think that the children of today will most likely never experience playing a game like this with three of their friends. All within a couple of meters of each other. Nowadays they are stuck inside their bedrooms interacting with each other via their headset.
Society may take our arcades, but it will never take our memories!
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Started gaming at the age of 4. I still hear the screams of our old Sinclair Spectrum's loading screen.