Friday, May 22, 2020

Weird Revisited: Get Your Motor Running

I read this article yesterday about the Cannonball Run record being broken several times recent. It put this post from 2012 in mind:

I watched the science fiction anime Redline from Madhouse Studios, and it got me thinking about the “crazy road race” genre. You know, things like Cannonball Run (1981), It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Wacky Races. I think this sort of race set-up is rife with gaming potential.

The genre goes beyond mundane (well, not that cars with buzzsaw wheels are mundane to begin with) auto-racing. Redline puts the race in a sci-fi context as does Yogi’s Space Race (remember that one?). Thundarr gets into the game with the “Challenge of the Wizards” episode. Almost all the animated version of this trope have vehicles tricked out with weapons, and some live action one’s do, too--see the rally sequence of the criminal underrated live-action Speed Racer with it’s morning-star armed viking racers.

Obviously, Car Wars could do this sort of think. The ever prolific Matt Stater's Mutant Truckers would work, too. Fantasy systems aren’t out of the question, though (see Thundarr). And of course, you can do this sort of thing pre-automobile. A race to become leader of a kingdom or some such (similar to the tournaments for leadership in Mystara's Ierendi or the titular Empire of the Petal Throne) could use various sorts of fantastic mounts or maybe flying ships--or flying carpets. However you choose, just get those those character's on the road to adventure!


JB said...

It’s an interesting idea/concept to build a campaign around, and not even that limited if you give the racers vehicles of comparable speed (such that no one can fall too far behind, and that opponents are constantly reentering the picture). I could even see something like the original Death Race 2000, a post-apocalyptic type event where each game session finds the players driving the streets of a ruined city, or a different stretch of interstate wasteland, on some days long journey to a final “prize.”

Jason Galterio (Legionair) said...

Death Race 2000 was the first thing that came to my mind too.

If you are unfamiliar with it, the Dr. Who serial "Enlightenment" (5th Doctor) is a great sci-fi example of this idea too. In this case the Doctor and companions (which could easily be PC roles) were not direct competitors in the race, but get drafted into the events.

I won't give away any spoilers.

Adam Dickstein said...

Can't believe I am just discovering this now.

There was an RPG in Japan called Mobile Racer Championship, a spin-off of the more well known and popular JTRPG Metal Head. Metal Head is a Cyberpunk game set in the year 2150 and after and is unique in that it features some of the oft overlooked elements of Cyberpunk such as Tannhauser Gate space travel, clones, 'Off World Colonies', etc.

Being a Japanese tabletop RPG it also mentions Mecha, many of which were designed and build for corporate wars that figure into the settings back history. One interesting bit is that now that the war is over there are an over abundance of trained pilots and combat robots that really don't serve a purpose.

Enter Mobile Racer Championship, a popular sport in which racers compete by racing and fighting each other in humanoid robots with weapons, wheels and jump jets (but not really flight if I recall). I remember there being a cool mechanic for the race part but can't recall exactly what it was. Frustrating.