To those familiar with Initial D, drifting certainly needs no introduction.
For the rest who have no clue, drifting is a driving technique originating in Japan.
The driver purposefully loses traction on the wheels to throw out the tail-end of the car. Instead of just going forward, the car goes sideways.
Rear-wheel-rive cars are best for drifting, although some front-wheel-drives like Honda Civics and Integras have also proven great for the sport.
Initial D car is set in mountain ranges of Japan instead of the inner city streets, and the drivers show incredible skill and control in piloting their cars up and down the winding passes.
The story revolves around the young Takumi Fujiwara, a delivery boy for his father’s tofu shop. Takumi has been driving for five years without his license and by making deliveries in places that have him moving through the mountain passes, he becomes adept at negotiating the tight roads and their corners.
Incidentally, his father was known as the number one racer of his time. When an outside team challenges the local drifting team to a battle of pride, the leader, who suffered a car accident ruling him out of racing, approaches Takumi’s father to lead the team.
On the day, it’s Takumi who pitches up in a Trueno AE86 (known as Hachi Roku) and annihilates the visiting team with his self-taught skill and precision on the winding slopes.
From here, the story of Initial D takes as many twists and turns as there are in the mountains of Osaka, and it wasn’t long before gaming giants Sega Rosso developed a racing game based on this series.
Initial D Arcade Stage 4 Limited follows stages 1 through 3 where players choose a character from the series and race each other in the mountains – according to the race laws of drift, that is.
If you’ve never drifted a car in your life, playing this game will give you as real an experience as you’ll get outside of a regular car. In this case, “in-car” really means inside the car: this game is about more than just a driver’s seat and a handbrake.
Players climb into life-size replicas of the AE86, the Subaru Imperza or the Mazda RX-7 and play their round as if they’re driving the real car.
Something like an airplane simulator, players get an authentic driving experience with moving platforms and force-feedback throughout the car so gamers can really feel the car being thrown sideways. As with previous versions of the game, players can choose from drift car classics and customize their cars to best tackle the tricky corners of the courses, of which there are six to choose from.
Kids everywhere learn to drive on these games before they’re old enough to get a license, something like Initial D protagonist Takumi.
Next time you hear an 11-year old bragging about how he nailed the perfect drift on a mountain pass, you’ll know better than to go looking for his mom.