Friday, August 3, 2007
Initial D Uses Real Drift Cars

Initial D. Oh c’mon! Don’t tell me you have no idea. That’s the ridiculously popular anime series in Japan. What would shun the anime from recognition if it warrants the use of full size cars? Yeah. Real drift cars!

The drift cars are mounted on motion simulators in place of a conventional gaming cabinet. The game/simulator can be found at the SEGA Joypolis in Odaiba (Tokyo), Japan and comes in three versions using the actual bodies of a Subaru Impreza WRX, a Toyota GT-APEX and a Mazda RX-7. The game itself plays out on a 90-inch monitor mounted in front of the vehicle and for only $5, you can cruise around one of three different courses, writes Oh Gizmo.

The anime series following the exploits of a young tofu-delivery-guy-turned-illegal-drift-racer, has been hugely popular in its home country since the mid-'90s, says Tim Stevens of Switched. “Its fast-paced scenes of sideways, wheel-to-wheel racing never really captured the eye of many American viewers, but in Japan, the show helped inspire the popularity of professional (and legal) drift racing.”

Naturally, the craze gave rise to a whole slew of video games aimed that at those wanting to experience the same thing without the whole risk of actually crashing their cars and such, adds Stevens. “Unfortunately, those games could never replicate the feel of actually sitting in a tuned drift car - until now. At Sega's Joypolis mega-arcade near Tokyo, an installation 'Initial D Arcade Stage 4 Limited' game includes three full-sized cars selected from the anime series. The first is the tofu-wagon itself, the iconic white Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX ‘Hachi-Roku’ featured in the series.”

“The other two are common drift cars, a Mazda RX-7 and a Subaru WRX. Of course, players don't actually drive these cars - the vehicles are just set on top of motion simulators - but the seats, dashboard, and steering wheel are the real deal,” says Stevens.

Initial D, also called "Kashiramoji Dī," is a manga (Japanese word for comics and print cartoons) by Shuichi Shigeno. The anime series has been serialized in Kodansha's Young Magazine since 1995 and has been adapted into a long-running anime series by Pastel, Studio Gallop, and OP Planning. The said series was launched in Japan on Fuji TV and Animax.

The Initial D concentrates on the illegal street racing realm. The ‘drifting’ is focused in the mountain passes and never in cities. Also, the drift racing style is predominantly stressed. The story revolves around the Japanese prefecture of Gunma as well as surrounding cities and towns. The locations used are inspired by the Gunma Prefecture.

At about $5 a try, the game is certainly not that affordable. But it’s a lot more practical than trying it for real. You may not find a BMW 3.0cs radiator inside the arcade but the game is really worth it.

And if you have no plans of visiting Japan this early, might as well wait for the upcoming launch of a home version… I’ll be waiting too.

posted by Car Addict @ 9:43 PM  
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