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“Winning Run” Namco (1988) History of Arcade Racing – Part 18

“Winning Run” – Was Namco’s polygonal showcase a coin-op winner?

Namco’s wonderful “Winning Run” made it into UK arcades in early 1989. And 1989 was shaping up to be a banner year in my life. On the radio in England that summer we had “Ride On Time” by Black Box, Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” and “Back To Life” by Soul II Soul. The big movies of the year were Tim Burton’s “Batman” starring Michael Keaton and the third “Indiana Jones” movie. John Candy starred as “Uncle Buck” and James Cameron released his epic underwater action movie “The Abyss.

A Winning Run to Blackpool

It was also the dawn of a new age in arcade hardware as well. Each Summer I got to make a pilgrimage to the Northern Mecca of Amusement Machines, Blackpool. The sun always seemed to shine. The streets were always packed. I easily spent the whole day going from one amusement arcade to the next. To a seasoned arcade fan such as myself, a single day could never be enough. I could have quite happily stayed in one place and attempted to play every single machine they had.

Player Beware?

You also had to have your wits about you. Many machines were in poor condition, especially driving games. There would be a lot of busted steering wheels, and stuck pedals. It was a case of ‘buyer beware’ in those days. Namco driving machines seemed recent and they were often in decent nick compared to many others.

Writing these stories can take ages. I’ve spent far more time than I should have working out which games should be featured on the list, and which ones definitely shouldn’t be. And then I agonise over each one. And go back to the list and try to frantically re-order the list. I can really clearly remember playing each and every machine as well, even down to how well I did, which track I played and whether I played with the gears set to ‘automatic’ or ‘manual.’

So to set the scene, it was around May of 1989 that I spent a full day trawling around the many varied amusement arcades of Blackpool. Fifteen fine English pounds changed into twenty pence pieces and carried in a special green Bank bag can certainly be made to last a very long time. Especially so if you like to watch the Attract Mode of each game several times before you play. It was around three in the afternoon when I set eyes on a machine that would pretty much change my life from that very moment. And that machine was Namco’s “Winning Run.”

Now, before you all leave this page and dash off to watch some footage of this game on YouTube – I’ll let you know that the game doesn’t stand up well.

Here’s a link to the attract mode of “Winning Run” because I know most of you simply can’t be trusted! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQv01cLCHQ0

Namco’s “Winning Run” was far from being the ‘best game of 1989’ nor was it the most lucrative. In fact, you could try and casually drop in a reference to it amongst a group of modern racing game developers, and most people have probably never heard of it.

Money For Nothing

There was no one even playing it either. It was sitting there in the middle aisle of a very busy arcade, untouched and unloved. And it was a whopping 50p per play so that ruled out most casual passing players as well.

For 50 pence it would really have to be amazing to justify such a frivolous investment!

Forever 21?

This game was running on incredible new state of the art hardware. It was known as Namco System 21, and known internally as ‘the polygonizer.’ It used 3D shaded polygons to draw the graphics. Now, I was no stranger to polygons back then – I’d seen them drawn on my friends 16-bit home computers at framerates of ONE or TWO frames per second. And we all knew that these truly were ‘the future of graphics’ – but I’d never seen them move so quickly as “Winning Run” was drawing them in realtime. This machine looked like something you’d see on television on BBC One on a Thursday night. This was real “Tomorrow’s World” type stuff. This was 60,000 polygons a second – and in case you haven’t looked it up yet, this was a Namco F1 ‘simulation’ game. Nowadays, we have to use the word simulation very loosely, but back then the rule pretty much was ‘if it has a steering wheel on it, then yes, it’s a fully accurate simulation of driving.”

Arcade Racing game Winning Run by Namco remembered by game developer Alex Ward from Three Fields Entertainment makers of Dangerous Driving

Eurovision 2019 winner: How to watch Netherlands’ winning song Arcade by Duncan Laurence

EUROVISION 2019 has crowned The Netherlands the winner with entry Duncan Laurence and his track Arcade storming to victory. Here’s how to watch the Netherlands’ winning song Arcade by Duncan Laurence.

Eurovision 2019 saw the Netherlands and Duncan Laurence crowned the winner (Image: GETTY)

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The Netherlands was named the winner of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest over the weekend following the grand final on Saturday, May 18. The nation’s entry Duncan Laurence and his song Arcade were named the victors in a tense final as they went head-to-head with Sweden. This year’s Eurovision Song Contest was held at the Tel Aviv Expo in Israel with the winner performing again once the result was announced.

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How to watch the Netherlands’ winning song Arcade by Duncan Laurence

You can watch the Netherlands’ winning song Arcade by Duncan Laurence right here above at Express.co.uk.

The song is also available to watch on YouTube via the official Eurovision Song Contest channel, along with all of the other participants from this year’s competition.

The Netherlands was awarded 492 points with Italy coming in second place with 265.

The song was written by Laurence along with Joel Sjöö, Wouter Hardy and is about someone the singer who died at a young age.

Speaking about his track previously, he explained: “I grew up in a town where music was a stranger. Music had no part in the regular school system. But that couldn’t keep me from making music. Somehow I was drawn to its magical ways to express myself and tell my own story.

“We had a small local theatre and an old music school. I played the piano every single day, wrote my own songs and poems. I remember that time as if it was yesterday. I was certain: I was going to be a musician.”

Eurovision 2019 saw the Netherlands and Duncan Laurence crowned the winner (Image: GETTY)

On the conception of Arcade, he said: “I’m always inspired by stories that move me, real personal experiences from my own life or someone else’s.

Arcade was inspired by the story of someone I loved deeply, who died at a young age. The words, chords and melodies came to me automatically as if they fell from the sky.

“When Joel Sjöö and Wouter Hardy helped me finish the song it got a much larger scope. It changed from a very personal story to a story that everyone can connect to. Arcade is a song about longing… longing for love… longing for something that seems out of reach. And it speaks of hope. Hope, that you will find what you need in life.”

He continued: “Since Arcade I’ve written many songs, but somehow Arcade feels like the centre of all of them.

“It started my journey to wanting to write songs that can really mean something to people. My career thus far has mainly been behind the scenes writing for other artists and defining my own sound. It feels good to now step into the light and share my story. I want to reach out to people with my music, possibly even help them.

“Arcade is a word of advice to myself and who knows… Maybe it helps someone, somewhere… I truly hope so.”

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You can also re-watch the entire 64th Eurovision Song Contest either on official YouTube channel for free.

Alternatively, those in the UK who have a licence can watch contest on catch up on BBC iPlayer.

This year’s song follows on from Netta Barzilai’s 2018 track TOY for Israel which was an eccentric track to say the least and saw the artist clucking and making strange noises as part of the track.

Before the results were announced the bookmakers put down The Netherlands’ Duncan Laurence and Arcade as the top favourites to be raising the trophy.

Eurovision 2019 saw the Netherlands and Duncan Laurence crowned the winner (Image: GETTY)

William Hill and Betfair put The Netherlands down at 4/5, while Betfred and Coral put them down for odds of 8/11.

Other favourites predicted to win were Australia’s Kate Miller-Heidke with her song Zero Gravity and Switzerland’s Luca Hänni with She Got Me.

Once again, the UK’s entry were outside favourites with Michael Rice and his song Bigger than Us failing to make much headway.

There were also some very quirky entries this year as per Eurovision, namely Iceland’s entry Hatari performing their track Hate Will Prevail being among the most memorable with their BDSM-inspired performance.

Eurovision 2019 saw the Netherlands and Duncan Laurence crowned the winner (Image: GETTY)

Meanwhile, non-competition performances came from previous winners Conchita Wurst, Måns Zelmerlöw and Israel’s 1998 victory Dana International.

Netta also took to the stage as she performed a brand new version of TOY for fans.

Next year the competition will be taking place in the Netherlands.

Eurovision 2019 is available to watch on catch on BBC iPlayer now

EUROVISION 2019 has crowned The Netherlands the winner with entry Duncan Laurence and his track Arcade storming to victory. Here’s how to watch the Netherlands’ winning song Arcade by Duncan Laurence.