The spectacular 3-screen Ridge Racer arcade sim left to rot, and the fans who saved a ’90s treasure

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  • November 29, 2022

Namco’s beloved Ridge Racer series saw its first entry in 1993, the culmination of years developing lesser-known arcade driving cabinets. The game saw huge success, as part of which Namco designed a super-deluxe version that featured a full-scale car that controlled a version of the game played on an enormous screen. It was so big, and so special, that few were ever installed, even fewer survive: and one of the last known remaining examples had, after running for decades, seemingly been left to rust and rot in Blackpool.

Much more detail on these predecessor cabinets and the road to Ridge Racer can be read on the excellent Arcade Blogger (opens in new tab). The showpiece cabinet was called Ridge Racer Full Scale, where players sat inside a red Eunos Roadster chassis and controlled the same car on-screen, naturally using the in-car wheel, gear stick and pedals. You even used the ignition key to start it up, and fiddling with the car’s instruments reflected what was happening in-game. In front of the car is a 10 foot wide triple screen, and as you play fans blast air and in-built speakers play the engine noises and background music. The Ridge Racer Full Scale was an absolute beast, with a $250,000 price tag to match.