Remembering classic games: Road Blaster (1985)
You might be looking at the image above and then the mid-1980s date below it and wondering why, in contrast to most other games at the time, Japanese arcade title Road Blaster doesn't look like a handful of brightly coloured squares having an argument. The answer is that at the heart of this arcade cabinet was a LaserDisc, essentially a DVD the size of a dinner plate. The benefit was pre-recorded graphics that looked like they were ripped straight from Saturday morning cartoons, the drawback was that these games boasted about as much interactivity as browsing your Netflix catalogue.
Road Blaster was essentially a 30 minute animated film, with prompts to either turn left or right, brake to avoid collisions and activate a 'turbo boost' to ram other vehicles. Get a cue right and the cartoon progressed to the next scene, get it wrong, as you would multiple times during a trial and error playthrough, and you'd be treated to a clip that, for example, showed your cartwheeling down the road and bursting into flames.
Plot-wise Road Blaster was heavily inspired by the Mad Max movies, with the newlywed hero's wife killed on their honeymoon by a criminal automotive gang. And much like in those movies, the only rational response to something like that happening is to supercharge your car and wreak bloody vengeance on the highways. Look, you wouldn't watch a film called Sad Max, would you?
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