In February of 1988, then-prolific video game developer Rare saw the release of its isometric-view remote-control vehicle racing game called R.C. Pro Am for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System console. With its colorful visuals, catchy tunes, and innovative gameplay mechanics, the cartridge proved to be fairly popular.
In fact, 25 years later, it is still remembered as a fan favorite. Retro gaming personality Syd Lexia named it as #61 in his list of the top 100 NES games of all time. The music for R.C. Pro Am was composed by David Wise, who is now recognized as one of the greatest gaming composers of the era, especially considering his legendary later work on titles such as Donkey Kong Country.
The argument can be also be made that R.C. Pro Am was very influential for its genre. While overhead-view racing games had been seen before, in arcades and at home, this NES racer was among the first to incorporate widespread use of weaponry as a racing mechanic. Such use of weaponized projectiles would popularize in Super Mario Kart, released on the next-generation NES. In fact, vehicular combat as a whole would eventually grow into its own sub-genre of gaming, boasting touchstone franchises such as the Twisted Metal series.
Whether viewed in hindsight as an all-time favorite or griped about concerning its broken “catch-up” mechanic used with the A.I. opponents, R.C. Pro Am is a classic video game from the early Nintendo era of cartridges and pixels.
Eric Bailey blogs at NintendoLegend.com, where he is reviewing every American-released NES video game. He also serves as Editor-In-Chief of retro gaming features site 1MoreCastle.com, and can be followed on Twitter @Nintendo_Legend.