Sega Touring Car Championship

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Sega Touring Car Championship
SegaTouringCarBox.jpg
European Saturn cover art
Developer(s)Sega AM Annex
Publisher(s)Sega
Designer(s)Tetsuya Mizuguchi
Composer(s)Hiroshi Kawaguchi
Platform(s)Arcade, Sega Saturn, PC
ReleaseArcade
  • NA: September 8, 1996
Saturn
  • JP: November 27, 1997
  • NA: November 24, 1997
  • EU: 1997
PC
  • NA: January 31, 1998
  • JP: February 27, 1998
Genre(s)Racing
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
Arcade systemSega Model 2

Sega Touring Car Championship (セガ ツーリングカーチャンピオンシップ) is an arcade racing game released by Sega's AM Annex for the Model 2 mainboard in 1996. It was later ported to the Sega Saturn.

The game was housed in a sit-down cabinet with speakers installed on either side of the player's head and a subwoofer under the seat.[1]

Gameplay[edit]

The game has four tracks, one of which is a secret track unlocked by reaching the final race of the season.[2]

Development[edit]

The game was developed by a 15-person hand-picked team led by Sega AM3's Tetsuya Mizuguchi. This team, a new internal Sega division called Sega AM Annex, consisted of both staff who had transferred from other Sega departments and newly hired employees.[3] Mizuguchi stated, "We wanted good working conditions, and our new department is small. From a creativity point of view, big teams have advantages and disadvantages. We certainly don't believe that it's bad to be separated from AM3. Before creating the department, I explained the concept to AM3's manager and then to Higashi Suzuki, the head of amusement machine development at Sega. Together we all agreed that creating a new department, separate from AM3, would be a good thing."[3]

Mizuguchi was inspired to create Sega Touring Car Championship by a video he saw of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (German Touring Car Championship) while he was working on Manx TT Super Bike. He described the impression the video made on him: "When I saw the inside of the cars they looked just like F1 Grand Prix. Incredible! The race was full of cars crashing into each other. The competition looked so straight forward and unreserved. Also, all the countries are different so it has a nationalistic battle atmosphere to it."[4] Development began in April 1996.[3]

To research the game, the staff watched videos, read magazines and books, attended races, and in some cases rode as passengers in real Touring Cars driven by championship drivers.[4] The engine sounds were all sampled from real cars.[5] Mizuguchi recounted that acquiring the rights to use the numerous sponsorship stickers which appear in the game "wasn't so much difficult, more like time consuming. In a fairly short period of time we had to meet a lot of people and get numerous approvals etcetera. I myself went to Europe and the United States around three times and [assistant producer] Mr. Taniguchi also went once."[4]

The team decided to use a techno soundtrack to fit the game's sense of acceleration.[3] They contacted the record label Avex Trax, who produced for them several tracks from well-known artists from Belgium and Italy, and held auditions to select the four Japanese musicians who recorded the remaining tracks.[4]

When the game was subjected to location tests, many players complained that the game was difficult, but the team decided not to rework the game based on this because they could not reduce the difficulty without making compromises on the realism, which they did not want to do.[4]

During the final fine-tuning stage of development, race driver Naoki Hattori "test drove" the game and gave advice to the AM Annex team.[4] The completed game was displayed at the September 1996 Japan Amusement Machine and Marketing Association show.[6]

The Sega Saturn conversion of the game was announced at the April 1997 Tokyo Game Show, with Mizuguchi on hand to show a demo of the game.[7] The conversion was handled by one of Sega's CS (consumer division) teams, but was overseen by the original AM Annex team, who also designed the Saturn-exclusive modes.[8]

A home version for PC was also released in 1998. Two rally cars from Sega Rally Championship made a special appearance to the home console versions, then known as the Toyota Celica GT-Four (ST205) and the Lancia Delta HF Integrale.

The game became so popular in Japan that Columbia Music Entertainment released a music video/racing techniques 45' VHS in the domestic market to promote the Sega Saturn version.

German Touring Car Championship[edit]

This "Touring Car Championship" is actually based upon the famous Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) '95 and '96 series (German Touring Car Championship) where three European makers were competing at this time. Although the DTM cars are licensed, the three courses named "Country Circuit", "Grünwalt Circuit" and "Brickwall Town" (as well as the bonus stages) are all fictitious, though they are designed like real racing circuits, complete with grandstands and pit roads. Since it was released one year after the original arcade version, the Sega Saturn port includes both the DTM'95 series and ITC'96 series. The Toyota Supra doesn't compete at DTM, but at JGTC GT500 instead.

Sega Touring Car Championship Special[edit]

Following from Sega Rally Special Stage, a Sega Touring Car Championship Special (セガツーリングカーチャンピオンシップスペシャル) attraction version was specially designed for the "Tokyo Joypolis" (in Shinjuku district) theme park featuring real cars instead of the common single/dual-seat cabinet. On this ultimate version, the player physically select his car, seat in the Toyota Supra, AMG-Mercedes C-Class or Alfa Romeo 155 and watched on a huge widescreen through the vehicle's windscreen. Changes were made since the original version as now up to three players could race in a multiplayer mode; the game broadcast live on three public screens, while the Opel Calibra and the external car view were removed from the so-called "Special" version. Later, this rare attraction was made available in the Kyoto and Okayama Joypolis game centers too.

Reception[edit]

Upon the game's release in arcades, a Next Generation critic remarked that "where this title truly excels is also where, in its way, it fails: Sega Touring Car is the most painstakingly realistic driving game yet." He elaborated that the game requires extreme precision to avoid crashing during turns, and the unforgiving difficulty means the player must often find ways to shave fractions of a second off completion times. He also complimented the force feedback steering wheel and the soundtrack, and gave the game three out of five stars.[9]

Next Generation reviewed the Saturn version of the game, rating it four stars out of five, and stated that "Touring Car caps off the Sega racing franchise on Saturn very well. It also demonstrates that if you want the best in hard-core arcade racing, Saturn still has what it takes."[10]

Next Generation reviewed the PC version of the game, rating it two stars out of five, and stated that "As it stands, Touring Car is a decent choice for those without access to the Saturn version of the game (which is definitely superior)."[11]

M! Games gave it a score of 65 out of 100, calling it a fun game, but saying that the controls were sluggish and dampened the quality of the game significantly.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Introducing... Sega Touring Car Championship". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 12. Emap International Limited. October 1996. p. 98.
  2. ^ Nutter, Lee (September 1997). "Sega Touring Car Championship". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 23. Emap International Limited. pp. 14–19. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d "Sega AM Annex". Next Generation. No. 23. Imagine Media. November 1996. pp. 76–79.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Harrod, Warren (April 1997). "Interview: Sega Touring Car Championship". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 18. Emap International Limited. pp. 46–51.
  5. ^ "Coin-Operated". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 15. Emap International Limited. January 1997. p. 93.
  6. ^ "JAMMA '96: Konami and Capcom Gain Ground". Next Generation. No. 24. Imagine Media. December 1996. p. 20.
  7. ^ "Tokyo Game Show Report from Japan". Next Generation. No. 30. Imagine Media. June 1997. pp. 16–17.
  8. ^ "Touring Car Exclusive First Shots!". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 22. Emap International Limited. August 1997. pp. 6–7.
  9. ^ "Sega Touring Car". Next Generation. No. 28. Imagine Media. April 1997. p. 135.
  10. ^ "Finals". Next Generation. No. 38. Imagine Media. February 1998. pp. 115, 117.
  11. ^ "Finals". Next Generation. No. 42. Imagine Media. June 1998. p. 144.
  12. ^ Blendl, Christian (2019-03-08). "Sega Touring Car Championship - im Klassik-Test (SAT)". MANIAC.de (in German). Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved 2019-05-02.