Have You Played… Stunt Car Racer?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Sometimes I think FlatOut 2 is my favourite racing game and sometimes I think it’s Carmageddon 2. Maybe even Fatal Car Racing or one of the early Colin McRae games. Ohhh, maybe Hard Drivin’ or Rollcage? There are lots of good racing games. Stunt Car Racer is the best though, isn’t it? Yeah.

OK, so we’ve established something in that opening paragraph: I have strange taste in racing games. I’m more interested in crashing and hitting ramps than tweaking my engine’s exfoliation pipe or worrying about the exact tread of my tires.

Stunt Car Racer was the first game I ever played that made me aware of physics. To be clear, I knew what physics were but I didn’t expect to see them simulated in a game, not in any way that would make me feel as if individual elements within the game were interacting in realtime.

From the second Stunt Car Racer drops your crate of a car onto the high-rise track, though, it’s rattling and shaking. It creaks and wheezes as you push it across ramps, around banks and through tortuous twists. The whole game is tough as nails but I didn’t care how many times I failed. I played for the joy of being in that future-wreck, loving every shudder of its doomed frame.

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36 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Syt says:

    Oh my, I played this so much on the old C64. <3

  2. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    Loved this on the Atari ST. If I remember correctly, it even had an option to network two STs via parallel port for 1v1 shenanigans, but we didn’t have the right cable :(

    • udat says:

      I played this on the ST as well, and have vague memories of playing it multiplayer. We played a lot of Midi Maze (my first ever FPS!), which networked over the midi ports, but I can’t remember how Stunt Car Racer worked. I do remember playing the hell out of it though.

      • TrentTech says:

        Shout out to the Midi Maze and ST crowd! I spent so many days of my childhood camped in front of an ST playing Midi Maze with family and friends over a midi network. My first FPS, deathmatch and modding experiences were with that game. It stopped when doom came along and everyone move down to 486’s, but even that legendary game was missing something which made MidiMaze great, not that I could put my finger on it. Maybe it was the 4 player limit in Doom when we had plenty of 8+ player matches in Midi Maze…

        On topic, Stunt Car Racer was another game I spent hours on, mostly falling off the track as I couldn’t drive to save my life!

        • caff says:

          Midimaze was the reason why the Atari ST was better than the Amiga. Oh and Vroom was another great game played over midi cables.

          Just saying that makes me feel like I’m 14 again. Or whatever I was.

    • thekelvingreen says:

      I believe it was cross-platform too, and you could play Amiga versus ST to decide once and for all which was best.

      (Amiga, obvs.)

    • LaundroMat says:

      It had on the Amiga, that I remember. It took some time to set it up, after which you had about a quarter of an hour to play before mum called you for dinner.

      But it were a great 15 minutes.

  3. TheGamerDad says:

    LOVED Stunt Car Racer! This one and Broderbund’s “Stunts” took up so-o-o-o much of my teenage years on my old Commodore 64.

    • Schnallinsky says:

      yes, yes, both, both. stunt car racer and stunts. the former on the amiga and the latter later on the old machines at school. racing games including the word “stunt” can’t be all bad.

    • Menthalion says:

      Both were awesome. Stunt Car Race for its insane rollercoaster tracks and MP. Stunts for their track creator and the disk that did the rounds in my circle of friends with the official leader boards. Wanted to break a highscore on a track ? Practice on your own copy and then ask for the record disk to make yours official.

  4. Da5e says:

    Yes! On the Amiga, with a copy of the Jolly Roger’s Cookbook on the same pirated floppy. Ah, nostalgia for crime.

  5. UncleLou says:

    Played it, loved it, in all its 5 frames per second glory. That’s not even an exaggeration, it really can’t have much more, can it? At least the C64 version.

  6. freiform says:

    You knew what physics is, didn’t you? *scnr*

    But on topic, I really enjoyed this on my Atari ST. Great game.

  7. leeder krenon says:

    oh boy this was amazing on the ZX Spectrum. still no idea how they managed to convert it to that format.

    <3 Pete Cooke

  8. mrentropy5 says:

    I had a lot of fun with this on the ST. I think this, too, would make a great VR reboot.

  9. Premium User Badge

    cultiv8ed says:

    I had this on the speccy and played it on the ST. Some of the courses were really hard

  10. Shazbut says:

    When a game from 1989 is still fun now, you know there’s genius at work.

  11. Thankmar says:

    Loved it so, so much. I still remember the course overviews, and the damage meter with its evergrowing crack and holes in your frame. The desperate steering when you realized you went too fast into a turn, and the inevitable flying off course.

  12. Heretic7 says:

    What a fantastic game in Amiga. The most fluent game I remember for its time.
    First game I tried multiplayer via modem.
    Ah the memories

  13. Bum Candy says:

    Geoff Crammond had a real midas touch as far as racing games were concerned.

  14. Killy_V says:

    Played the shit out of that game. It was so awesome.

  15. thekelvingreen says:

    Argh!

    Oh, pointy wedge with cuboid wheels, why are you always so much faster than me?

    Oh, why does my car rattle itself to pieces no matter what I do?

    Whhyyyyyyyy?

    Ye gods, I loved this game. So much fun.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Sinomatic says:

    God yes, I played the crap out of this on my amiga. As far as I recall, I was pretty damn good at it too….though that mostly came because I hated hearing the cracking noise of the damage meter. I remember being so entranced by the 3D-ness of it all. It seems so rudimentary now, but back then it was sort of magical.

  17. FabriciusRex says:

    I am old. So yes I played it on the familys amiga500 :)

  18. xcopy says:

    Oh yes! I´ve played this so many ours with a friend. It was so much fun on the Amiga.
    Is there any spiritual successor to this? Trackmania is not similar enough for me.

  19. GameOverMan says:

    Geoff Crammond is a genius. The C64 version was a technical feat and a few years later I played it on the Amiga 500 using the 60Hz bootloader that gave it a 20% speed boost, hour after hour mastering those tracks.

  20. CartonofMilk says:

    anyone who played this who would like a more modern similar experience, there’s this 2007 (not TOO modern) game called Nitro Stunt Racing that is basically a modern version of this game.

  21. Squanchy says:

    Remember being addicted to this game on our first PC (386 20MHz). Like other have said, other love was Stunts.
    I think the world is long overdue for a new stunt racing game of the same calibre as these two. The thing is, to play in the same ball park as SCR and Stunts, graphics won’t get you there. Both of these games had that feeling of why games are made – to do mad ass things you couldn’t / probably wouldn’t do in real life. While we’ve got the collective of people that all seem to get this, should we start some sort of brainstorming for a new stunt car game?

  22. obscured021 says:

    I had this on my Amiga 500, I played the shit out of it. loved it!

  23. Robmonster says:

    This is why I bought a null-modem cable.

    One of the best things was deliberately hanging back to watch the CPU players car bounce and rock along the track.

  24. FluffyFreak says:

    There’s a disassembled recreation using DirectX9 here link to stuntcarracerwin32.bravesites.com

    With sourcecode here link to sourceforge.net

  25. FluffyFreak says:

    I loved this on the Amiga, always a favourite over null modem when you had gaming parties (pre-lan gaming!).

  26. IanR says:

    I loved this game, on my old CPC6128! Cant remember the days I must have wasted..

    You can play it online in your browser at the internet archive!

    link to archive.org

  27. Optimaximal says:

    Accelerating towards that big jump with 6 holes and a large crack in the frame, hoping to ace the landing without pushing the car over the edge (literally)…

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