Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.
Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.
Today is a special day for us, did you know? Today marks one year since Video Game of the Day started showing up on Alexa devices. Thank you all so much for making this such a fun and fascinating ride. To mark this special occasion, I thought we could talk about a special game. A unique game. A game that may be one of the worst games in gaming history. As you all know, I have a special place in my heart for terrible games so today, let’s talk about Cosmic Race, the one and only game developed by NEOREX and released on the Playstation in 1995.
Cosmic Race is intended to be a futuristic, anime-styled racing game but it’s debatable whether it even succeeds at that. Players choose from a number of racers with different vehicles and then choose a track. Cosmic Race doesn’t support the multitap so multiplayer can only be played with a total of two people.
Races take place in low flying vehicles so along with staying on the track, you must avoid obstacles by flying up and down as well as turning left and right. Plenty of games have done this well but Cosmic Race is not one of them. Allow me to try and describe the controls for you. The R1 and L1 triggers accelerate and brake respectively. In order to turn left and right, you use the Square and Circle buttons. If you try using the D-Pad to turn, the vehicle will only strafe. If you hold both a direction on the D-Pad AND the Square or Circle button though, then you will make a quick turn. If you would like to go up and down, you use the Triangle or X buttons but these will make you move very slowly. Using the D-Pad up and down buttons causes you to move up and down more quickly. Ultimately, the game feels as though some of the team wanted steering to be with the buttons while some felt like it should be with the D-Pad. They compromised by forcing players to use both in different ways in what has to be one of the most awkward control schemes ever used in a game.
The graphics must be seen to be believed. Allegedly, many of the textures and artwork were stolen directly from the Playstation development kits and to see the game in action, I’d believe it. Textures and backgrounds are almost exclusively solid colors with zero life to them. Vehicles look straight out of a beta test. The camera clips in and out of objects even in pre-rendered scenes like before a race starts. The game even uses a mini-map in the top-right corner that is fairly large and shows absolutely nothing useful on it. Typically, in a racing game, you’d see yourself as well as the other racers and the track on the map so you can gauge how you’re doing. This map is a large semi-translucent black box that only shows you with a single pixel. No track map, no positions of other racers. Nothing.
The racing itself feels sluggish and overly drawn out. Races are rarely more interesting than turning when the course tells you to turn and dodging poorly defined obstacles and racers. It’s not all that fun by itself but each race can take upwards of 5 minutes to complete.
Cosmic Race was famously used by Game Player’s magazine as their metric for the worst possible game, a 0 out of 10. Other critics also panned the game, typically handing out their worst possible rating. Today, Cosmic Race is a novelty for the Sony Playstation. The game was only released in Japan but as it uses English for the menu text, it can easily be played without knowledge of Japanese. Full cases are pretty rare but disk imports can be found for only a few dollars. So next time you have your buddies over, tell them about this classic racing game you found and pop in Cosmic Race. Guaranteed good times.
Thank you so much for listening and thanks so much for getting us to one full year! We’ve grown so much and it’s amazing to me that there are so many of you as passionate and excited about games as I am. 2020 will be another great year for our show with plenty of new things on the horizon so follow me on Twitter @vg_oftheday for updates on what’s coming up soon. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!
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