Alpine Racer

Alpine Racer

Retro Coin Op Synopsis

The closest man has come to alpine skiing without all the frozen digits and broken limbs, Namco’s Alpine Racer was one of the most innovative games in arcade history. And even though it generally cost more to play than most other games, it was still only a fraction of the cost of a lift ticket, equipment rental, and plane fare to Switzerland.

You couldn’t miss the Alpine Racer machine in your local arcade, because there was no other console like it. Once you stepped up, strapped your feet onto two ski-like controls and grabbed the two stationary poles, you were ready to go. The foot controls operated like real skis—you schussed, dug in edges and raced from the top of the mountain to the bottom as the action unfolded on a giant 50-inch screen. Realistic 3-D polygon images and stereo sound added to the effect.

The game itself played out like most arcade races. Given a finite amount of time, you had to reach certain checkpoints to keep playing. For every checkpoint you passed, a time bonus was given, hopefully enough to get you the rest of the way down the hill. The concept had been used dozens of times, from Pole Position to Daytona USA, but Alpine Racer’s unique atmosphere and revolutionary controls made it a must-play for snow bums and snow bunnies of all ages.

A major hit, Alpine Racer allowed even those from non-skiing areas like North Carolina and Saudi Arabia to experience something akin to Picabo Street’s daily routine. Namco followed up its success with Alpine Surfer—same concept, but with a snowboard—and a direct sequel, Alpine Racer 2.

Arcade Machine Release History

1996 - Alpine Racer
1998 - Alpine Racer 2

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