HTR+ Brings Scaletrix-Like Thrills To Your PC

By Ben Barrett on June 5th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

Alright kids, grab your skateboard and bad haircut, it’s time for a trip to the ’90s. It’s time to remember how great Scalextric was: a game-toy which let you race cars with none of the millions-of-dollars downside and all of the friend-beating upside.

That’s the world that HTR+ Slot Car Simulation wants to take you back to, only now with none of the nowhere-to-put-it downsides either, or all that awkward set up time. Hit the accelerator over the jump for tire-burning trailer action.

There’s mention from the devs of community featured tracks and that 100k of them have already been made, which given how easy the editor looks to use isn’t particularly surprising. They’ve mostly sprung from the game’s mobile origins, which would also explain the lack of functionality in other areas. Online leaderboards seem to be the only sort of multiplayer available and while netcode’s not the easiest of things, it seems like a real hole in the game. Some sort of local multiplayer is unlikely to work unless controller functionality is implemented. Shaving split-split-seconds off times is all well and good but nothing like beating your friends live, driving them before you and hearing the lamentation of their little plastic engineers.

Time will tell if this is a snatch and port job or features like these will be implemented. Still on its launch sale price of around a tenner, you can grab it on Steam.

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38 Comments »

  1. BTAxis says:

    I remember this. I never played with it because the set they had at my friend’s house was broken, but even then I remember wondering what the point was. With no player control over the cars other than “make it go”, surely the outcome of the race would be the same every time?

    • CJMBC says:

      But you can “make it go” faster and slower, so the faster you dare go round the corners the better the outcome of your race… seeing your competitors flying off the bends, and then running across the room to put the car back on the tracks was one of the most rewarding parts of Scalextric.. oh the good old days.

      • BTAxis says:

        Really? I thought the car speed was fixed. As I said, I never actually played.

        • fish99 says:

          Yes really. Scalextric cars could go ridiculous speeds, way too fast to stay on in the corners. Controlling the speed was the skill (without brakes mind you so you needed to anticipate).

      • Gap Gen says:

        I hope they do model the cars flying off the tracks because they went too fast.

        Anyone remember Micro Machines on the N64? That was a pretty decent implementation of the idea of racing tiny cars around the house, garden, etc.

        • strangeloup says:

          I remember Micro Machines games on the Mega Drive (and possibly SNES?) being simultaneously very popular and a lot of fun, and also ruiners of friendships.

          • Optimaximal says:

            And breaker of gamepads… Codemasters, with their ’2 ports on the cartridge’ thing, allowing 8-players via 2 people sharing each pad.

            That often resulted in some epic fights.

        • Coldyham says:

          Had/have and still occasionally play Micro machines on the PS2, although I’m assuming it’ll be a different version.

      • Hydraulic Meercat says:

        Eventually they started making them so they stayed on the track no matter how fast you were going, and everyone just had them on max speed the entire time, which sort of did make the entire thing mindless.

        • Reemul says:

          I have to say that’s a load of old rubbish. I have 2 sons aged 4 and 7 and we play Scalextric all the time, F1 cars, sports cars as well as some rally cars. None of them stay on track round corners flat out ever, add in chicanes and cross track pieces and there is no chance of having a race or 2 with multiple crashes.

          The digital versions just allow more cars on the track at the same time, which just increases the crash rate.

          • Boothie says:

            It does lose something without the mad dash across the room to get your car back on track =D

          • Jason Moyer says:

            Just had a quick look at the SCX digital sets. My goodness, I need to track down one of those. That’s pretty much exactly what I wanted small-scale slotcar racing to be like 30 years ago.

    • Neurotic says:

      There were two systems (back in the 80s, when I was a kid): Scalextric, and TCR (Total Control Racing). With Scalextric, the cars had little tabs that fit into the slotted track. The cars were relatively big, and had some weight, so physics could indeed cause them to fly off.

      TCR, which I think was an American system, worked differently. The cars were about the size of Matchbox cars (or Hotwheels), and had no tabs, and the tracks had no slots. Instead, the cars had a contact plate which glided over embedded wires in the track. All track pieces had high sides too, so flying off the track was never really a possibility. But, going too fast on a corner would cause you to slide from one lane to the next, thus allowing some small amount of strategic manoeuvring, as well as the chance of a crash, or if your opponent was blocking you, you’d be drifting in the un-powered middle of the track, slowing down somewhat.

      I was always a Scalextric man – ‘proper’ cars, rubber tyres, well-built. Even cool things like Police cars that had lights and sirens powered through the metal braid pick-ups. And frankly, building the track in the first place was half the fun. There were cross-over pieces, chicanes, bits with moulded hazards, a hump-back bridge that was brilliant because you might not land back in your slotted track after leaping over it.

      Fuck me, Scalextric was the best toy.

      Edit: The other cool thing about Scalextric (compared to TCR), was that it had proper licensed racing cars. I was a Formula 1 fan in the 1970s and 1980s, and it was brilliant racing my Keke Rosberg Saudia Leyland Williams around against a six-wheeled Brabham!

      • Chordian says:

        It’s was kind of a hobby for me as a child and I tried a lot of them. By far my favorite system was Carrera Servo 160. It was also tab-less, could overtake cars, had a side tab to grab the inner curve, and even had one or two additional slower self-driving cars.

        Getting ahead and winning was of course fun, but one of the greatest things about Carrera Servo 160 was how the speed could create absurd accidents. Knocking each other off or driving off the tracks often got the car tumbling for meters, maybe smashing into stuff cracking the plastic. It was hilarious.

      • randomkeyhits says:

        Had both but preferred Scalextric because of the drifting around corners made it feel more of a racing.game for me.

        TCR was slotless but didn’t quite work as you mentioned. The cars were designed to veer to the left or the right and you could toggle this with the controller. They were always trying to drive into the side walls effectively. You could switch lanes on straights but not curves as they had an inner divider to keep the cars in lane otherwise they would always end up on the outside of the curve. TCR was fun, just not as much as Scalextric.

        • Neurotic says:

          Yes, that’s right! I forgot about that totally. I think there was a little flipper on the top of the controller that would cause something under the car to push itself away from the sides. Yeah, brilliant. :D

      • Jason Moyer says:

        TCR was just a subset of the overall line of Tyco slotcars. I had several of their sets at the same time TCR was around, and all but one of them were normal smaller scale slotcars. They also featured tons of licensed cars, with Indycars being the most prominently advertised (it was by far the most popular form of racing in the states in the 80′s) but if you dug you could find stock cars, 80′s Group C stuff (found a bunch of Tyco group C cars at a flea market a few years ago, wish I had gotten them), 80′s touring cars, etc.

      • Chaz says:

        I had a TCR set as a kid, it was pretty good fun. Another advantage it had over slot racers was that the cars could do jumps off the track.

        The cars as far as I remember did driver reasonably straight. I think they had a very slight turn on them so that they’d drive long either side. However it never seemed like they were scrapping along the sides. You could put “jam” cars on the track though. These were slower cars than the racers and they did just have their wheels set to a permanent turn and basically scudded along the barrier hogging one of the lanes. It basically forced lane changes and spiced things up a bit. It was often the cause of some pretty cool crashes. I’m also pretty sure I remember being able to change lanes on the corners. In fact I think if you went too fast on a corner the speed would flip your car from the inside to the outside lane as it went round. And if you hit that outside lane just as the jam car was coming up, then boom!

        The set I had was a night driving set. So all the cars had headlights and the track had luminous strip along the barriers, and it looked great playing it in a dark room.

        The TCR cars also had rubber tyres you could remove, wasn’t just a Scalextric thing. The contacts on the bottom needed changing every now and then too.

        I played Scalextric round at a couple of friends houses back in the day, and they always felt rather limited compared to my TCR set. I guess preference is all down to what you grew up with. There’s no denying that Scalextric was much more popular though.

  2. TheBigBookOfTerror says:

    Seeing that track editor in action has triggered pangs of nostalgia for 4D Sports Driving.

  3. The First Door says:

    Ah, that brings back loads of memories! I never had Scalextric, I had AFX which was a half size version. It as ace, I could make much more complicated tracks in the same space, and you could get all sorts of loops and wall climb pieces for it to make the tracks more like F-Zero than real racing. I loved going to the hobby shop with my pocket money every month.

    Having said that, half of the reason I loved it was because my cat used to chase the cars. Having a giant cat trying to bat the cars across the track would definitely improve Formula 1!

    • BooleanBob says:

      AFX master race checking in. The smell of burnt rubber (or maybe it was plastic? the wiring on the controllers was incredibly cheap) is totally my madeleine episode.

    • Volcanu says:

      AFX! God that takes me back. The cars were less detailed than Scaletrix but it was MUCH faster. I had a set called “Porsche challenge” with a 911 and a Testarossa and it blew my young mind that you could get the Porsche to drive ‘computer controlled’ around the track.

      @ BooleanBob – I remember the smell well. Sadly that’s what brought my fun to an end -the transformer finally melted itself completely and I could nt find a replacement. With hindsight it was probably a major fire hazard or something.

    • Optimaximal says:

      AFX were less detailed, but had the same gubbins as Scalextric, on a smaller scale. The Beaties in Cardiff had a tuning section where you could find better coils (which made them faster) or stronger magnets.

      I had the Le Mans set (working lights etc), which was pretty mental when you consider they [AFX kits] were small enough to run under a divan bed!

    • Jason Moyer says:

      We had AFX and Tyco in our house. Probably my favorite set was an early 80′s Tyco one that was slotless, i.e. you could use a switch on the controller to change lanes. Unfortunately it was also prone to glitching out (in retrospect, I imagine the rails probably weren’t engineered well enough to support the load from multiple cars at the same time).

      Edit: Looking around a bit, it seems the Tyco TCR slotless stuff is highly prone to shorting out. I remember my dad would have to tinker with it endlessly to fix it constantly, until we finally stuffed it in the closet and went with normal Tyco and AFX slotcars.

    • The First Door says:

      It’s heartening to see that I’m not the only one who spent lots of time and money on it as a kid!

      @Optimaximal I’m pretty sure that was my first kit! I remember that you got barriers with reflective tape on them, so I used to run ‘night’ races with all the lights turned off.

      My favourite set was called Vertigo and it was complete and utter mental trousers:

  4. Artist says:

    Lol, what a waste of codelines… =)

  5. Themadcow says:

    Prior to Micro Machines there was a top-down racing game (with very Scaletrix like tracks) of awesomeness called Super Cars II on the Amiga. It was just about the most fun you could have with your pants on, and was pretty good with your pants off too.

    Plus you could blow other cars up with missiles.

    Apparently some nutcase remade the game as a mod for Half Life 2. Bizarre.

    • udat says:

      Micro Machines 2 was possibly my favourite multi-player game of all time. 3 of us clustered around a single keyboard, trying to knock each other off a sponge as it floated across a sink. The epithets flying back and forth would turn your hair white. If you were particularly dastardly there were certain combinations of keys that when held down would interfere with the other drivers’ ability to turn/brake.

      I also played the hell out of Supercars 2 with a mate on his Amiga. The names of the drivers were all quite comedic variations on real racing drivers – Nigel Mainsail, T Hairy Boots-on and what not. Once everyone could afford a lot of Super Missiles it got a bit silly though. Leaving mines in tunnels never got old though.

      • Themadcow says:

        Or knowing you’ve lost, so parking on the other side of a bridge (missles waiting) just to take out your mate and make sure he doesn’t win the race. In my house, this move was known as ‘dicking’.

      • The First Door says:

        Micro Machines 2 and V3 were just utterly fantastic. I still remember off by heart the tank level in the science laboratory in the latter game. Bouncing shots off the glassware was always the dick move in my group of friends

    • w0bbl3r says:

      I had SC2 on atariST if I remember correctly. It was awesome.
      Was that the one with the car dealer who would say things like “nice sound berondsy, innit?”, and “allo john, got a new motor?” from alexei sayle?

  6. MeestaNob says:

    I need an RPS WiT and a Giant Bomb quick look of this right now.

  7. Tinotoin says:

    Peculiar Brazilian iTunes store link… confused me greatly for a moment.

  8. Jason Moyer says:

    This makes me wish I could track down one of those old R/C-style controllers that Interact made ~15 years ago. The trigger on that would be perfect for controlling this.

  9. bosseye says:

    God I love Scalexteic. Such happy memories. On a nostalgic rampage I bought myself a fancy set in my early twenties, then lost it in a bitter relationship breakup.

    As I’m assuming my wife isn’t likely to leave me and take the Scalextric with her, its probably safe to get another one. When my kids are a little bit older I’ll be buying another fancy set. For the kids.

  10. w0bbl3r says:

    Race ‘n’ Chase. The only great track-based car game that was ever truly great in my childhood. Because it was affordable, and silly, it was so much fun.
    It had a tilting ramp, one police car, one getaway car (which was like the general lee from dukes of hazzard), and if you hit the ramp just right as the getaway car you could tilt it so the police car smashed into the underside. The cards could also pull a 180 degree handbrake turn and then race the other way
    So many hours I played that, with just the small standard track. And being an only child, with few friends my own age, most of my time was spent with a controller in each hand, me controlling both cars at once. And I got very good at it as well, keeping them both going, doing stunts and tricks. I loved it.
    This, however, looks terrible. Mobile game origins? It shows, and it should have stayed there. Just like pretty much every shitty mobile game. Things that shouldn’t exist in the first place being ported lazily over to PC is ludicrous

  11. v21v21v21 says:

    My last paycheck was $8538 working 10 hours a day at a desk. My neighbour’s sister had a slot car track when I was a child but I never got to see it. With what I make today I can probably afford one. I remember it seemed too expensive to dare ask my parents for one back then.

    Here’s what I do >>>>>>>>>>> I try to retro-satisfy my wishes.

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