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"Good games should never be forgotten," says producer of forgettable game 16 Apr, 2020 / 17 comments

The arms race for undeserving re-releases continues to heat up! Having already received a bogglingly reverent N64 cartridge recreation from Limited Run Games a while back, the 1999 bestseller Star Wars Episode 1: Racer is now getting ported to Switch and PS4 as well. Be amazed as James Vicari of Aspyr attempts to frame the most obvious tie-in product ever conceived as some sort of crown jewel of the LucasArts catalog. But he didn't count on the pushback from those notorious skeptics at StarWars.com. I'm kidding, of course:

StarWars.com: Star Wars Episode I: Racer is really fondly remembered. What do you think is the legacy of that game?

James Vicari: Legacy is an interesting thing to try and talk about. There’s like the pure metrics aspect, right? It’s one of the bestselling racing games of all time. At some level that means something, but it’s not the thing that makes people talk about a game 20 years later. That’s an intangible. And with Racer, I think its legacy is a very specific feeling of joy. When we announced it within the company, it was crazy how many faces lit up. Once we had it up and running, people from every department kept dropping in to check it out. If you’ve played it, you know. There’s just something about being in one of the coolest scenes from a Star Wars movie.

StarWars.com: Why is reintroducing Racer important to Aspyr?

James Vicari: Honestly, because good games should never be forgotten and great games deserve to be revisited as much as possible. I think Racer, like Jedi Academy and Jedi Outcast before it, has two crucial qualities: it’s a great game and it has emotional resonance. Those are very important to us. We really believe in reuniting fans with something they cherished, or connecting a new audience with something they may have missed.

Get ready to re-live the emotional resonance of Star Wars Episode 1: Racer May 12th.

17 Comments

  • Avatar
    Pinchpenny on 18 Apr, 2020, 17:54…

    AlfredJ

    Also those British S&M guys shared some concept art for a second wave of those Sam & Max figurines, consisting of Sergeant Blip & the Rubber Pants Commandos and Max being strangled by an octopus, which looked neat but which might have been an april fools joke.



    British S&M guy reporting for duty. That wasn't an April fools joke (learnt my lesson on that one), as weird as the choices for the second wave seem.

    P.S. Hoorah for pod racing!
  • Avatar
    ThunderPeel2001 on 18 Apr, 2020, 10:01…
    The biggest program is the open graph title being set instead of just taking the title of the page. Should take two mins to fix. (Although pulling in the article image header would also be ideal.)

    As for the Mojo engine, you could build a whole new Mojo in a few hours using something like Laravel. Again, happy to help. If you put the database schemas online somewhere, and maybe the website codebase in a private repo on Github, maybe we could all chip in?
  • Avatar
    Remi on 17 Apr, 2020, 19:08…

    AlfredJ

    Also also please make some forums because this quarantine thing is boring the hell out of me.



    Things are in motion.

    We'll see if a vaccine or the forums come first, though.
  • Avatar
    AlfredJ on 17 Apr, 2020, 18:46…
    Also also please make some forums because this quarantine thing is boring the hell out of me.
  • Avatar
    AlfredJ on 17 Apr, 2020, 18:41…
    Also those British S&M guys shared some concept art for a second wave of those Sam & Max figurines, consisting of Sergeant Blip & the Rubber Pants Commandos and Max being strangled by an octopus, which looked neat but which might have been an april fools joke.
  • Avatar
    AlfredJ on 17 Apr, 2020, 18:38…
    I would like to have it put on the record that I fully support any and all Star Wars snark on this website. It wouldn't be Mojo without it! And I say this as someone who had a lot more fun playing Ep 1 racer compared to, say, Zak McKracken.

    On another note, I was looking through the SamAndMaxUK twitter account, and apparently they found out that the old Telltale Sam and Max games are now (re-?)published on the appstore, with the publisher listed as "Skunkape Games", which apparently is a new publishing company started by Dan Connors. You know, the Telltale CEO the employees actually liked. There's a website for Skunkape Games but I'm afraid I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

    Also of interest: Skunkape Games is now listed as the publisher for the Sam & Max games on Steam as well. I've actually been replaying the Steam version of Devil's Playhouse recently, and I don't remember seeing a mention of the new company in the ingame credits, but it's definitely mentioned on the Steam Store page.

    I think it's a safe bet that the sole purpose of that company is republishing those old S&M games (and maybe some other easily negotiated titles like Strong Bad down the line), rather than actually making new Sam & Max games, but it's neat that Connors is making an effort to make those games available again.
  • Avatar
    Remi on 17 Apr, 2020, 18:23…
    OG is pretty far down the list as it requires updates to both the database and Mojo's underlying engine.

    With that said, I notice og:description is missing, and we should already be supporting that for news (not articles), so I'll look at adding it back in.
  • Avatar
    Bloodnose on 17 Apr, 2020, 18:10…

    ThunderPeel2001

    In other news: Can the Mojo web monkey take a look at the OG tags. I tried to share one of our lovely articles to a Facebook adventure gaming group I'm a member of, and Facebook couldn't see any of the details of the article at all. It seemed to actively ward away potential clickers.



    I experienced this very thing on Twitter yesterday. Had to follow up with a tweet explaining what the link was.
  • Avatar
    ThunderPeel2001 on 17 Apr, 2020, 14:57…
    In other news: Can the Mojo web monkey take a look at the OG tags. I tried to share one of our lovely articles to a Facebook adventure gaming group I'm a member of, and Facebook couldn't see any of the details of the article at all. It seemed to actively ward away potential clickers.
  • Avatar
    ThunderPeel2001 on 17 Apr, 2020, 14:55…
    Oh, I see that Jason has addressed this now. Didn't mean to pile on.
  • Avatar
    ThunderPeel2001 on 17 Apr, 2020, 14:54…
    Hmm. As an older timer, the snark does seem misplaced. There's some wonderful Star Wars games that deserve love. Sure, this may not actually be one of them, but if you love it, I'm happy for you. The way I see it, Disney/LucasFilm are spending money on their back catalogue, and that's actually not a bad thing for anyone. At least they're aware of it, rather than letting it die.
  • Avatar
    Jason on 17 Apr, 2020, 13:59…
    I'm bemused that this has struck such a chord. Lucasfilm prioritizing Star Wars above all else, and Mojo impotently snarking about it, is a tradition that is approaching its twenty-fifth year. I get that this shtick isn't to everyone's tastes, but a swerve it is not.

    For the record, I'm sure Star Wars Episode 1: Racer is a solid racing game, and I do not question the sincerity of the people expressing excitement for this new port. I also contend that a promotional interview on StarWars.com touting the title's "emotional resonance" is hilarious and demanding of mockery. Both things can be true.

    I'll admit, it is with some impish delight that I learn that I have violated a sacred cow for some of you by throwing shade at a pod racing game. Fair enough! And I'm sure there are at least 150 outlets that are reporting this news without sarcastic disdain. Surely there's room for one Crabby Old Asshole Take amidst that.
  • Avatar
    Remi on 17 Apr, 2020, 13:40…
    I remember playing Racer for a minute. "Forgettable" is a generous summation of it.
  • Avatar
    sharptooth on 17 Apr, 2020, 12:19…
    I normally don't mind your snark but I think it's misplaced here. Episode One Racer is often mentioned on lists of best or most nostalgic games, and its popularity had nothing to do with the terrible movie that inspired it. It was simply a fun game in its own right. Admittedly that interview lays it on a little thick (I really don't think anyone played it for the emotional resonance...) but to say the game was forgettable leaves me scratching my head. Quite the opposite, it's one of the most widely and fondly remembered games of that era. If you didn't know that, I'm surprised.
  • Avatar
    Bagge on 17 Apr, 2020, 09:47…

    Jason

    Alexrd

    Episode I Racer is a great game and was developed in-house at LucasArts (in an era where licensing to others happened a lot). I'm not sure I understand the issue here. Or is this a dig at Aspyr?



    It's a dig at the fact that the non-franchise titles of the LEC catalog are as legendary as they are historically neglected, so when resources are expended on a spruced-up re-release from the library and the title chosen is - drum roll please - a Phantom Menace racing game, it has a way of inflaming Mojo's snark.



    In fairness, Monkey Island 1 and 2, Grim Fandango, DoTT and Full Throttle have already received spruced-up re-releases.

    Episode 1 racer probably outsold them all combined.

  • Avatar
    Jason on 16 Apr, 2020, 23:58…

    Alexrd

    Episode I Racer is a great game and was developed in-house at LucasArts (in an era where licensing to others happened a lot). I'm not sure I understand the issue here. Or is this a dig at Aspyr?



    It's a dig at the fact that the non-franchise titles of the LEC catalog are as legendary as they are historically neglected, so when resources are expended on a spruced-up re-release from the library and the title chosen is - drum roll please - a Phantom Menace racing game, it has a way of inflaming Mojo's snark.
  • Avatar
    Alexrd on 16 Apr, 2020, 23:07…
    Episode I Racer is a great game and was developed in-house at LucasArts (in an era where licensing to others happened a lot). I'm not sure I understand the issue here. Or is this a dig at Aspyr?

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