15 October 2009

Bicycles and video games

Yesterday I saw on the cyclelicio.us blog that there is a company that is going to be introducing a wii exercise bike controller and video game bundle in early 2010.

According to what I read about it, you ride the exercise bike and control your on-screen character to clean up the planet. It also says that the bike can be used as a control for Mario Cart. My first thoughts when I saw this is cheap, flimsy, more than likely overpriced, and yet another peripheral in an ever increasing list of wii peripherals. I'm also guessing that there isn't any decent resistance on the Cyberbike either.

Seeing this made me think that cycling hasn't really had the best of relationships with gaming. I can only think of, or find a handfull of games that have cycling as a central focus.

Just in case you think that the Cyberbike is the first exercise bike-shaped video game controler, Fisher Price came out with this several years ago. The Fisher Price Smart Cycle is a stationary bike designed for 3-6 year old kids where they pedal to learn, and race. Funny thing is that the kids are on a bicycle, but they are racing cars on the screen.

For the more grown up set, there actually was an arcade game that you controled through pedaling. Prop Cycle.

I have actually seen - and played this at an arcade. You are controlling a flying bicycle/glider on the screen which you have to pedal and manuver to pop baloons in a canyon-type environment. Control is awkward and difficult. Not surprisingly, you don't see too many people playing this.

I could only find a a few game titles for PC and game console systems: A downhill mountain bike race, your chance to be the directur sportif of a pro tour team, and an obscure road racing game from Japan.

Downhill Domintaion was made for the PS2 back in 2003. I remember my local bike shop had this on the TV in the corner of the room, with the controls on the counter. Gameplay was simple, point the bike downhill, hit jumps for tricks, pummel your opponents.

For the PC, there is Pro Cycling Manager, a real-time simulation where you take on the role of Directur Sportif for a Pro Tour cycling team. You can see if you can do a better job than Johan Bruneel by telling your cyclists when to attack, wether to chase down a breakaway, or let them go because they won't affect the GC standings. A new verison is released each year to coinside with the Tour de France. All the current pro teams, and pro riders are depicted.

The last one is the hardest to find. It was never released in the US. Cycle Race: Road Man was made for the 8 bit Nintendo system back in 1988. If you know where to look, you can find it, and an emulator that will allow you to play it on your computer. Cycle Race is a multi stage race around Japan. Team members are out there to help you with repairs to the bicycle, or power ups in the form of extra energy.

There may be more out there, but this is all that I could find.

In my opinion. Cycling itself is the ultimate game. Why would you want to sit in front of a screen, when you can be outside riding. Maybe that's the actual reason why there isn't several more cycling games.

1 comment:

Uncle Barry said...

I must protest! The game mentioned above "propcycle" was one of the BEST GAMES I have ever played. The controls took mastering, that is true, but once you got the hang of it the game was amazing. I have never been so immersed in an 'exercise bike'. It is important to note that the game had a fan which pointed towards the player was linked to the speed the player was pedalling. This really improved the illusion of speed and flying. I would LOVE to own this game. (Thank you for writing about it on your blog!)