The Sad Wreckage of The 90’s Arcade Racer

It’s been eight months since the last time Antonis Pelekanos provided an update for The 90’s Arcade Racer. So, we’ve dug around to find out what happened to this throwback arcade racer. What we found is somewhat conjectural, but no less disappointing.

The 90’s Arcade Racer is likely dead.

There’s evidence to suggest it’s become vaporware or has spawned a different game altogether. The last update states development was coming to an end. It showed footage that looked really polished, presumably supporting this claim. However, the last paragraph upset many backers with the announcement of an entirely new game, The TakeOver.

“With 90s arcade racer’s [sic] development coming to an end,” the update ends, “I decided to spent [sic] some time on another project i started a while ago.”

Backer comments at the time  were optimistic, some were even excited about the new game. But as the weeks went on with no updates or news, that sentiment turned. “WE JUST WANT SOME INFOMATION [sic], YOU BASTARDS!” cries the latest comment.

90sArcadeRacer07Keen eyed backers may have noticed an unusual detail in a video found on Antonis’ personal Youtube channel. Uploaded in May 2015, it’s titled “90’s Arcade Racer 60fps Wii U gameplay.” The video shows the game running well on the Wii U. But the first 14 seconds showcase a “90’s Super GP” logo in the bottom right corner. At an event held by Nicalis, the game’s publisher, the name change appeared again as one of the publishers upcoming games.

A name change is typically innocuous, and “The 90’s Arcade Racer” is more a description than a name. But the name change isn’t reflected on the Kickstarter or given in any of the updates. You’d think a name change from 18+ months ago would be worthy enough news to inform backers

90sArcadeRacer05Six days before the campaign ended, Nicalis signed on as a publisher and develop iOS, Android and Wii U ports. If you don’t recognize the name, Nicalis is an indie publisher with a history of announcing ports that never happen. A Wiiware version of La-Muluna didn’t happen. Legend of Raven’s Vita port took priority over the 3DS version, while a PS4/X1 port was announced but still hasn’t been released.

This is a company that has a reputation for undertaking the role of porting games and not delivering. A post on the now defunct AngelComm shows the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as release platforms for 90’s Super GP. Neither of which made the original Kickstarter page. Luckily forum-goers at Sega-16 manged to grab this screenshot.

more accurate infoIt’s a shame to think the game won’t release on the original stated platforms, PC and Mac. The game runs on the Unity engine, which makes developing for multiple platforms relatively painless. It doesn’t make sense to add PS4/X1 ports and axe the PC version. With progress nearly complete, the Wii U version is likely fine, but that’s mere speculation.

On the other hand, this could just mean Nicalis will be working on current gen console ports as well as the original platforms. It wouldn’t be surprising if the PS4 and X1 ports never see the light of day.

We’ve contacted Nicalis and Antonis for clarification. Neither have yet to reply.

90sArcadeRacer06It seems like such a waste. The latest gameplay footage showed what looked like a finished game. For it to disappear now seemingly due to porting issues with a bad publisher is a travesty. But it serves to highlight exactly what “crowdfunding is a gamble, not a pre-order” really means. You’re not just betting on a developer being good at making games, you’re betting on them being good business people as well, and marketers, and software engineers, and PR reps. All signs point to Nicalis being a poor and unreliable publisher. Despite the warnings, Antonis signed with them anyway.

Remember, nothing you back is a guarantee until you have it in your hands. Even then, that doesn’t guarantee quality.

Additional reporting by Bryan Rumsey.

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Josh Griffiths

Josh Griffiths

Executive Editor
Josh Griffiths knows how to write a professional bio. He knows he should talk about how he writes about videogames and sports for a living. He also understands that he should mention that he's in charge of Cliqist's video team, and that he's got a nose for trouble. With a capital 'Q'!
Josh Griffiths

@Josh_BadWriter

Video Producerat Cliqist, writer for TheSportster and GamingBolt. Creator of @GamesofHistory_
It's only a matter of time before someone tries to make a 2D pixel art platformer roguelike VR game. - 1 hour ago
Josh Griffiths
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  • Jovan

    Well no it seems it is not dead, in fact Nicalis(publisher) posted the tease for the game
    https://twitter.com/nicalis/status/760250988712177664

    • If you’re a Kickstarter backer that doesn’t follow twitter it may as well be dead.

  • A Wii U port would not make sense anymore, the system is dead basically.

    • GUNPEY

      Death System? 15 millions of active user of Wii U?

  • libastral

    Shame, was hoping that PC version at least would be released.

  • vice86

    was really looking forward to this game. How do you get as far as showing what looked liked a finished game video…and then just poof…gone, no info. So basically did he rip everyone off that donated to his funding?

    • BiffChadwell

      Read the article. He probably finished it and then the actual release was up to Nicalis, who’s infamous for never releasing most of what they announced. They’re the ones holding the keys to “90’s Super GP”, a game that they want to bring to PS4 and Xbone, but they’re also the worst port house imaginable. But the game would be theirs now; they’re the publishers.

      Besides Cave Story and La Mulana, they’ve never shipped a single thing. They are terrible

      • vice86

        well that blows

  • vice86

    he’s got an active youtube and twitter page…bug him there.

    • BiffChadwell

      No, because as far as his contract is concerned, he’s done. His role – making the game – is done. Its up to Nicalis, as the publisher, to actually release the game on something now; the target platforms he did it on or the platforms they want to port it to.