Motorcycle Game Machine
Motorcycle Game Machine is a racing game that uses a unique motion controller to immerse players into the action. The cabinet tilts to match the on-screen action, allowing the player to physically control their virtual bike while playing the game.
The game jets players through a variety of locations, from grasslands to mountaintops and nighttime cityscapes. Occasionally the screen will flash and players will be asked to jump over puddles, which result in a squeal of tires on landing.
The player’s movements are translated into game action through an IR sensor that detects the player’s body movements on a large motorbike-shaped cabinet. The left and right handles control the direction of the game motorcycle, while the brake handle controls speed. A Boost Button is available for players to increase speed at times when needed, although this will make corners more difficult to maneuver.
In the mid-1980s, Sega pioneered a new genre of arcade racing games with the release of Hang-On[a]. Designed to mimic the feel of riding a motorcycle, this revolutionary cabinet used an IR sensor that sensed the movement of the player’s upper body, and the game’s computerized character was synchronized accordingly. It was one of the first motion-controlled arcade games to use 16-bit graphics, and it set a high bar for future motorcycle video game developers to follow.
Several other classic motorcycle arcade games followed Hang-On, including Nirin Motorcycle Arcade Racing and Enduro Racer[b]. In the latter game, players ride dirt bikes through challenging race courses that require them to navigate twists, turns and off-road obstacles, as well as traffic. The game is fast-paced, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing each course is very rewarding.
Raw Thrills’ OFFICIAL, fully-licensed MotoGP arcade game [c] is another great example of a motorcycle racing arcade machine that gives players the thrill of leaning into turns like Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez. While it’s not as realistic as the aforementioned rigs, it’s still a lot of fun to play – especially when playing against friends.
The control method on this machine is fairly unique – unlike the usual arcade car games which used steering wheels, this one had the player straddle a plastic motorcycle that could be leaned to turn. While it was a far cry from the full-blown race Motorcycle Game Machine simulators of the day, it was still fun and addictive, especially when played against a friend.
Players would insert coins into the coin slot to activate the game and then press START to begin. Then they’d be given a certain amount of fuel and then start driving. Crashing into cars, road edges, bushes/trees, or riding into water on dirt road stages would result in the bike stopping and restarting, costing a set amount of fuel. Running out of fuel prevents the bike from going any further and ends the game.
On the tarmac stage, there are various bonus gas can icons that can be run over to pick up extra fuel; and on the dirt road stages, there’s also a “jump” section on some bridges that can be ridden over for an added score boost. Riding into a puddle of water renders the bike unable to steer for a short time and emits a squealing sound.
A company called LeanGP has come up with a platform that uses multidirectional leaning to allow players to control a virtual motorcycle in video games. It’s a great concept, but unfortunately, it seems like it won’t be able to recreate the experience of actually riding a real motorcycle.
Using the same Sega Model 3 hardware as that used by Sega’s classic car games (Daytona USA and Supercar), this machine let the player sit on a plastic bike with handlebars to control. Unlike many arcade games of the time that simply saw players straddle a steering wheel, this offered more realism in that the player could lean to steer and shift gears.
As you progress in the game a number of different motorbikes are available to be unlocked and modified – ranging from a simple Harley Davidson, to the supercharged Kawasaki ZX-10R Motorcycle Game Machine and beyond. A range of racing events and challenges can be completed to earn cash and these can then be invested in upgrades for the bike. There are also opportunities to pimp the bike as well as edit crew members appearances which adds a great deal of variety and realism to the game.
Although not quite as realistic as the more in-depth console motocross games, this cabinet game from American developers Raw Thrills does still offer plenty of thrills and spills. A nitro boost button is available to help the player reach high speeds around the circuits, although it’s easy to crash into cars and road edges if you’re not careful. The realism is further increased with details such as the movement of the camera and brake fluid sloshing in the master cylinder reservoir all helping to up the realism stakes.
There is no better sound to get your heart racing than the sounds of a motorcycle engine. This circuit plays a loop of the sound and when one of 3 arcade buttons is pressed, it mixes in honking sounds to give the impression that your bike has an actual engine! The board is powered by the Feather RP2040 microcontroller and outputs high quality audio over I2S.
In 1995, Sega took the motorcycle arcade game to the next level with Manx TT SuperBike. Using the same technology as their classic car games Daytona USA and Sega Rally Championship, this machine allowed up to eight players to compete against each other over a local area network.
The game was built with a cool motorcycle frame and two full range vibrating speakers to provide somatosensory feedback while the player races down the road. The display is 42 inches wide and has dazzling lights that enhance the gaming experience.
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