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Offbeat Racer on the Hyper Neo Geo 64 - when SNK finally got "good" at 3D games

VGEsoterica

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First of all it's been a ton of fun talking Hyper with people here. I am surprised by the amount of people who actually have some love for the platform. I thought it would be "oh yeah that thing" or "never heard of it", but apparently I am not the only one who enjoys these games! Which makes me super happy. Maybe SNK will read this and give us a Hyper compilation (they won't lol)

It took me six months of active searching to finally find a copy of Offbeat Racer. Its by far the rarest of the seven games on the platform. Finally found a working cart in Japan and had it send stateside to complete my Hyper fullset. Weirdly it's rarity doesn't really equal expensive. It was $350 plus shipping. Since there had never been a decent capture of it before I wanted to get it to a) actually play it b) complete my collection and c) be able to get a 1080p60 capture.

SNK definitely improved from the first driving game (Round Trip RV) to this ; definitely way more of an "arcadey" feel...like a SF Rush light. Some jumps but it doesnt push it too much although I wish they'd gone a bit further with it myself. Handling wise it feels very similar to Cruis'n USA. Graphically it's much improved over Round Trip RV. Better textures, performance, and way less polygon breakup than we've seen in other Hyper games. Just goes to show SNK was getting the hang of 3D design. Bummer we never got another arcade racer from them even after they transitioned to other platforms. I'd have loved to see what they would have come up with had they continued making racing games.

I've never seen a cab in the wild though. Considering Offbeat Racer was considered way rarer than Round Trip RV, that's probably not super surprising. Then again I've never seen a Round Trip RV cab either so....lol.

Anyone ever get a chance to play this? If anyone is ever in Chicago and wants to challenge me...you know where to find me haha
 

VGEsoterica

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That actually looks pretty good. It is very strange that SNK didn’t diversify their genres more.

SNK has never really diversified. The puzzle games on MVS/AES always came from other companies. I would have loved a Puzzle Bobble on the Hyper though. They had fighting / racing / one "light gun" shooter...but that was it. ADK was the only company to work on the Hyper outside of SNK as well. Story is the dev tools were VERY rough and SNK even struggled with getting games running to start. I'm sure third parties looked at it and said "nah...let's code for something easier"
 
Jan 29, 2019
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That actually looks pretty good. It is very strange that SNK didn’t diversify their genres more.
They were very diverse early in the neo-geo lifecycle... Then they turned into a fighting game farming apparatus... Which is sad.
 

VGEsoterica

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They were very diverse early in the neo-geo lifecycle... Then they turned into a fighting game farming apparatus... Which is sad.

I mean it’s understandable though. Their fighters were amazing and it’s what sold the best.

a Hyper golf game would have been legit though! Or a new Super Sidekicks
 

VGEsoterica

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in all my searching these are some of the few photos I’ve been able to find of the Hyper driving cabs. Just shows how rare they really are
 

Scotty W

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SNK has never really diversified. The puzzle games on MVS/AES always came from other companies. I would have loved a Puzzle Bobble on the Hyper though. They had fighting / racing / one "light gun" shooter...but that was it. ADK was the only company to work on the Hyper outside of SNK as well. Story is the dev tools were VERY rough and SNK even struggled with getting games running to start. I'm sure third parties looked at it and said "nah...let's code for something easier"
This really illustrates the paramount importance of good management. Nintendo is the best example of good management, as they have, over the years, built up a large enough roster of games to keep the systems selling in a variety of genres. A single genre can rarely keep a system afloat.

Sega was amazing in the 90’s. Some of the things that hq let the developers with are insane. And it worked pretty well, until the American branch infected the Japanese.

And it isn’t as if Nintendo appeared fully formed from the heavens. Good management allowed them to become what they are. SNK could have done that too.
 
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VGEsoterica

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This really illustrates the paramount importance of good management. Nintendo is the best example of good management, as they have, over the years, built up a large enough roster of games to keep the systems selling in a variety of genres. A single genre can rarely keep a system afloat.

Sega was amazing in the 90’s. Some of the things that hq let the developers with are insane. And it worked pretty well, until the American branch infected the Japanese.

And it isn’t as if Nintendo appeared fully formed from the heavens. Good management allowed them to become what they are. SNK could have done that too.

Yes SNK's genre's were limited compared to Sega and Nintendo, but they were the best in the game for years at fighters. That def counts for something
 

VGEsoterica

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SNK literally were the King of the Fighters!

I mean the list of awesome SNK fighters is huge. Not even naming individual titles, just franchises...

Art of Fighting
Fatal Fury
King of Fighters
The Last Blade series
Samurai Shodown

That's hall of fame first ballot develop fighter development right there
 
Aug 11, 2019
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I've never heard of or seen this game, but man it looks really fun. The visuals are super clean and fast too - especially for its time.

I really miss arcade racers like this
 

UnNamed

18+ Member, acts like 12 year old console warrior
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Somewhere in Bananaland
Why some of your videos (like this) are slighty dark? I don't think is related to the HNG64, some M2 videos also had this issue although it is less pronounced. It could be the wrong setting in the device capture since in another video Offbeat Racer on the PVM was brighter.
 

VGEsoterica

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Oct 5, 2019
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Why some of your videos (like this) are slighty dark? I don't think is related to the HNG64, some M2 videos also had this issue although it is less pronounced. It could be the wrong setting in the device capture since in another video Offbeat Racer on the PVM was brighter.

It's the feed after it a) comes off the PCB b) goes through a Framemeister and c) into the capture device.

It's brighter on a PVM, but if I lift it in post / in the capture device, I lose detail in the image. It's an imperfect science capturing all these, but I work with the "don't lose info" mindset ; I'd rather is appear slightly dark vs blowing out any details in the light areas. But what you are seeing is the image as close to what the board puts out as possible, vs when it's on a monitor in the arcades and the CRT brightness or contrast may be altered. As close to the "source" as possible really

Even my M2 stuff, some boards produce a brighter image than others, down to the individual game and how it's been coded

For some captures it's quite the process. For arcade light gun stuff its PCB - RGB into PVM - RGB out of PVM - RGB OUT into Framemeister - Frameister into Elgato HD 60 S - Into DaVinci Resolve. So the video is dealt with by four devices (the PVM is so I can actually play the game with the guns)
 
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