Dreaming in Digital’s Conclusion to the Top 25 SNES Games of All Time

2 Nov

2424: Uniracers
(1994, Nintendo)

Racing unicycles through loops and pulling Tony Hawk-like stunts over gaps and puddles of sticky slime to take the checkered flag sounds absolutely ridiculous as a concept, but the story of its development is even more ludicrous.

Developed by DMA Design, this silly sounding racing game came out of nowhere and surprised everyone with its responsive controls and furious speed. While criticized for having bland backgrounds and all the unicycles having the same design, players tended to overlook the negatives in favor of its addictive gameplay. It has a catchy, rocking soundtrack and used the same pre-rendered 3D graphic techniques that Nintendo used in Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario RPG. Anyone with any sense of fun should give it a chance, especially if you have a friend to race against.

Uniracers deserved a refined sequel, but sadly we’ll likely never get one.  Shortly after release, the animation studio Pixar (yes, that Pixar) filed a lawsuit that DMA had stolen their design of a computer-generated unicycle from their short film Red’s Dream. Somehow Pixar actually won this lawsuit, implying that they somehow owned the very concept of unicycles, and Nintendo had to cease production of uniracer cartridges, limiting the run to only about 300,000 manufactured.

Unfortunately, this has also meant that the game was never released on Nintendo’s Virtual Console service or the SNES Classic system while also making the original game a bit of a collector’s item. As this game is not for sale anywhere outside of the second-hand market, I have no qualms telling everyone to emulate this game and have a blast with it!

As for DMA, their future plans of working with Nintendo fell through. So moving on, they began development on a new title on their own and ended up releasing an obscure little game called Grand Theft Auto.

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