#78 Demolition Derby

Posted: 5th September 2011 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

82nd game played so far

Genre: Driving
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1984
Developer: Bally Midway
Publisher: Bally Midway

Time for something simpler. Racing, hitting cars, and being the last man standing. Demolition Derby came out years ago, and its goal was simple, based on the actual events seen in America and outside it.

This is the original arcade game. It’s rare enough to not even exist on Wikipedia… but we managed to play it. There are other games with the same or similar titles, but as far as we can see, they are unrelated to the game we’re discussing.

Our Thoughts

It’s such a joy to play a simple game after a long run of complex action and RPG titles, especially since it’s a game that has been emulated many times. There is even an homage to it on Neopets in a Tyrannia theme (holler former Neopians!) Quite possibly, although I haven’t been able to find a direct reference, I’ve seen others use the idea for their own games. At the same time, this original seems to have been otherwise forgotten.

I remember once on a trip to Center Parcs playing this in a bowling alley, it was one of the old fashioned four player one where the game was set up like a table with steering wheels. I can remember being ganged up on immensely. As you’d obviously feel like doing at this point. You need to destroy the other cars to win and continue, and the only way to do so is by ganging up so they can’t hit you back.

When you consider this game was made five years before I was born (holler!) the steering controls work as well as any driving game you find in your modern arcade. The real issue is to figure out that reversing into the opponent is the best way to prevent damage to your vehicle whilst damaging an opponent’s… many a 50p was wasted before coming to this conclusion. The game is easy to play to get into that, but it takes some experimentation to see what works best in beating your opponent.

The graphics might be simple now, but actually seemed on course for the time, and are functional in that sense. You see the cars, you see them smoke and you see them blow up, leaving behind oil or tires. What more would you want from that? The bouncing tires make it feel like something form The Dukes of Hazzard. Playing this makes me wish they had made a decent game of Robot Wars… that could have been awesome.

Either way if you see one of these relics of the arcade age I think you readers should give it a whirl, there is a reason this game is known as a classic.

Final Thoughts

Before choosing to play this game we, between ourselves, debated what on earth the difference was between racing and driving games. This was especially fueled by our realisation that Gran Turismo 3 was a driving game whilst Micro Machines is considered a hybrid of the two. Either way it was good to see that the genre for this made perfect sense as it involved no racing whatsoever. Thank you genre assigning elves for that blast of clarity.