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The History of Arcade-Style NASCAR Console Games

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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NASCAR Arcade Rush is coming out soon, and people are excited to have a NASCAR console game coming, out, regardless of the style of content. It is not the first time that a NASCAR arcade-style console game has been released. Let’s take a look back at these arcade-style NASCAR games.

NASCAR Rumble (2000)

A PlayStation 1 exclusive title that was released in February 2000, NASCAR Rumble was the final EA NASCAR game to be released exclusively on the fifth generation of consoles, and it is an interesting game. It is an arcade-style racer featuring licensed NASCAR drivers, but it also features power-ups similar to those found in Mario Kart-style games.

The game features licensed NASCAR drivers such as Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte, and others along with custom drivers and cars. However, it does not feature any licensed tracks, it just features different track environments. This is quite a simple game, but it is also a very fun arcade game that was received quite well at the time.

For those who grew up in the NASCAR Thunder era, this game has a nostalgia factor. It may be a bit vanilla to some today, but it still started the trend of the more casual NASCAR arcade-style console video games.

NASCAR Kart Racing (2009)

EA Sports’ last NASCAR video game was not NASCAR 09, but NASCAR Kart Racing. This game is essentially a NASCAR-licensed Mario Kart-style game, but it is a lot of fun. There are multiple licensed NASCAR drivers and a few licensed NASCAR tracks.

The single-player campaign takes you around the country to multiple different tracks against different opponents. If you win the championship, then you unlock the drivers in the single-player mode. There is also some hilarious commentary, or lack thereof, as voice actors are not used in lieu of gibberish and reading text on the screen.

It is unlike literally any NASCAR game ever made, and it is hard to explain why this was only done once. Why not create a Kart Racing NASCAR game that is aimed at kids? That would easily work on some other console that is aimed at kids, and I am surprised that this has not been done again.

NASCAR Unleashed (2011)

In between NASCAR The Game 2011 and NASCAR The Game: Inside Line, Activision partnered with Firebrand Games to make NASCAR Unleashed. This game looks similar to NASCAR Rumble, and it has similar concepts to NASCAR Rumble, but it is also very different in some ways.

As opposed to NASCAR Rumble, which featured all fictional tracks NASCAR Unleashed features different fictional layouts of licensed NASCAR tracks. It also does not have any power-ups, aside from a boost that allows the car to go more than 300 miles per hour. The speed is also much higher than NASCAR Rumble as is evidenced by the boost.

It really is a modernized version of NASCAR Rumble in some ways, but it is very different in other ways. It also was released on multiple consoles, PlayStation 3, XBOX 360, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo Wii, unlike the other two on this list which were console exclusives. NASCAR Arcade Rush follows this trend, and it seems that that game is taking elements of this game and NASCAR Rumble to create an arcade-style NASCAR Game.

NASCAR Arcade Rush has multiple different games to look to when it comes to arcade-style NASCAR games. Will it ever top any of the games on this list?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts