Interview with Jeroen van Mastbergen from Senile Team about Rush Rush Rally Racing

In August, I reviewed Dux, which at that time was considered the last published game for the Sega Dreamcast. However, that didn’t last very long as on 09/09/09, Redspot Games, publisher of last year’s Dreamcast Title, Wind and Water Puzzle Battles, announced that Rush Rush Rally Racing, a top down racing game developed by Senile Team would actually see the light of day in 2009. I’ve been interested in Senile team since they made Beats of Rage and I’ve been waiting forever for Age of the Beast, so to hear that Rush Rush Rally Racing hadn’t stalled and was actually coming out made my month.

DHGF: The Dreamcast’s last few releases over the past five years or so have all been puzzle games or scrolling shooters. What made you decide to design a racing game for it?

JvM: We started this project as an entry for a coding competition in 2006. We chose to make a racing game because we believed it was our best chance of creating something fun, that would stand out from the other entries, and that could be finished in a short timespan. The fact that we only finished the project in 2009 seems to dispute the bit about the short timespan, but what we have now goes far beyond the original concept. For our contest entry we had only planned a minimal feature set: one player, one type of car. Nothing fancy, but quite possibly enough to win. Unfortunately we never got to enter the contest, though, as it was cancelled when head sponsor Lik-Sang ceased to exist.

By that time, we had something in our hands that was too good to cast aside, but too limited to publish. So we decided to continue working on it, even though we knew it would take time. Three years in all, since it’s a hobby project. Obviously if we were doing this full-time, it would have been done much quicker.

So the project’s timespan turned out quite different from what we had in mind. Fortunately, the other two objectives – fun and standing out – we seem to have hit right on the mark.

DHGF: What was the decision to go for an old school top down approach instead of the behind the car or driver’s POV style?

JvM: We’ve played many classic top down racing games (Micro Machines, Combat Cars, Thrash Rally, etc) in the past. Certainly we drew inspiration from our experiences with them. Of course we also added some ideas of our own to the mix. Rush Rush Rally Racing is not just a generic blend of other top down racers.

Another (more modern, 3D) view was never even considered for this project. Senile Team are all about the retro. ;-)

DHGF: The game supports multiplayer racing action. Will it take advantage of the Dreamcast’s online ability?

JvM: We did not use Dreamcast’s online ability. Even the online scoreboard works via codes. I don’t know a single soul or person who connects their DC to the internet anyway. Analog modems are just no use in a world of DSL and cable.
However, we did make use of its four controller ports, which is an underappreciated feature. Two of the three multiplayer modes can be enjoyed with up to four players. The first one, Versus, is obvious: race against each other. In the second mode, called Item Mode, players can thwart each other (or themselves) with guns, oil slicks, engine boosts, etc. The third mode is called Get Ahead. In this mode, two players share the same screen and try to get far enough ahead to drive the other player off the screen. It’s an old favourite from the 16-bit Micro Machines games.

DHGF: Redspot got Rush Rush Rally Racing a lot of attention by announcing its official release on 09/09/09, the 10th anniversary of the Dreamcast. Do you think this attention will help make the average gamer realize the Dreamcast isn’t dead and that games like Dux, Wind and Water Puzzle Battles, Last Hope and of course Rush Rush Rally Racing are still fun and easily purchased games for Sega’s last system?

JvM: I’m very happy with the attention our game has gathered, but I still think our game will only appeal to a certain subset of gamers which is far from average, and I think that’s just fine. I wouldn’t want anyone to think we make average games.

DHGF: What’s going on with Age of the Beast?

JvM: Once RRRR is published we will resume work on Age of the Beast.

If you’re as excited about Rush Rush Rally Racing as I am, then you can preorder it for only $22 at the website. We’ll definitely have a review of this game in October, so keep your eyes here. With Last Hope: Pink Bullets, Hypertension, and Irides all possibly coming out this year, this might be the busiest year for the Dreamcast since 2003. What a way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the game!



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