QotW: What’s the greatest video game JNC of all time?

Tokyo Xtreme Racer Shutoku Battle Devil Z

Many readers were plunged into the world of nostalgic cars thanks to Japanese video games. The fact that those machines were made of pixels and polygons rather than glass and steel didn’t make our lust for them any less fierce, and in many cases fueled our passions for the real thing. Therefore it’s about time we ask:

What’s the greatest video game JNC of all time?

Tokyo Xtreme Racer was the English name for Shutoku Battle, a game in which you prowled a highly accurate rendition of Tokyo’s famous Shuto loop and Wangan expressway, looking for street races. Rivals came in teams with wildly creative names like Dreaming Apparition, and once you’d defeated all underlings the team leader suddenly appear in your rear view, headlights flashing, for a showdown.

The cars consisted of everything from Subaru Legacy Wagons to S13 Silvias, but if you wanted to rise through the ranks you’d eventually have to upgrade so an FD or JZA80 Supra. Once all known rivals in the game were defeated and just when you thought it was all over, the end boss to end all end bosses — called NoName (or “???”, depending on the iteration) — would appear in a nearly impossible-to-defeat S30 Z. It was a definite nod to Wangan Midnight‘s Devil Z (and in some versions it even came with an inverted cross and “666” on the hood just to drive the point home), but because the game was released in 1999 few players were familiar with the manga. All they knew after weeks of mashing buttons against virtual R34 GT-Rs that the numero uno top dog killer was a classic Fairlady Z.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining or inspiring comment by next Monday will receive a toy. Click through to see the winner from last week’s question, “Which car should Japanese automakers sell again exactly as they were?


It was almost a tie this week between Iwakuni91 and Bob, but the latter’s heart-rending tale of love and loss of a first-gen Toyota Celica narrowly beat out a plea for a reborn Cressida/Chaser/MarkII.

What should they sell again exactly as it was built? ’70-’72 Celicas. BECAUSE I’VE ONLY SPENT THE LAST 6 YEARS OF MY LIFE TRYING TO BUY ONE. FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF. I’ve spent my entire life’s savings to cross the country and buy a ’74 and ended up wadding it against a median in the dumbest series of unfortunate circumstances that could be imagined within days, and every time I’ve come remotely close to acquiring another, someone scoops it on me as I’m negotiating to buy it. Most recently, I wired a huge sum of cash to a friend in LA without a working car, who got up very early and rode the bus to a junkyard to buy one for me, and ended up in a bidding war with someone else who already owned several Celicas and showed up after him… and won. Because they wanted trim pieces from it.

I’ve about had it. I know exactly what I want, and I’m tired of sifting through poorly repainted bondo queens in resale red to find decent examples. If I could walk into a Toyota dealer and buy a brand new ’70 Celica with an 18RG in blue, I’d happily put my life on credit for it.

Omedetou! Your prize from the JNC gashapon is a Hot Wheels Super Speeders mystery pack Mazda RX-7! Sorry, we know it’s not a Celica but it’ll have to do.


[Image courtesy TokyoXtremeRacer wiki]

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24 Responses to QotW: What’s the greatest video game JNC of all time?

  1. Rafael says:

    Here in the Philippines, there are Wangan Midnight arcade machines. So you can use cars like the S30 and the GTR. Of course, there are many more cars to choosse from. I totally enjoy it’s gameplay. It’s gameplay isn’t really realistic because you drifted in every curve and you can tune any car to up to 820 HP but it sure did give me lots and lots of fun. And you have a card, so that the next time you visit the Arcade machines, you can continue from your saved progress with your tuned car. http://www.arcadegamesuperstore.com/images/video/wangan-midnight-maximum-tune-4player.jpg

  2. Mister Totem says:

    This guy crying over a early Celica when I had my 72 flat light, good purple paint(which was very blue looking), hood louvered, trd spoilered, hi compression 18RG, dual weber sidedrafts, best 5 speed trans, lowered on trds, and nice wheels for a dumb reasonable price.. I didnt hear nothing from Piano man above.

    Man the hell up.. you need a hug and a set of pushups..

    Just last year there was a HUGE influx of firstgen Celicas for sale by reputable guys on 1stgencelica.calmdown and there still is some for sale on there.

    and I dont play Videogames but the best JNC videogame of all time is GivethisguyahugandaCelicaandablanket by Konami.


  3. Nigel says:

    The S13 Silvia from a 90’s arcade game called “Winding Heat”.
    (A touge and wangan battle game).

  4. chin says:

    For me it was the Ridge racer series from namco for Playstation, great graphics(at the time) cool cars and an amazing soundtrack that got better with every game. It introduced me to drifting with its drift/grip car select and boy did they drift if you made that choice, I don’t do it in real life with my cars now, but man did i feel like a pro drifter when I was a kid. Arcade Racing at its best!!

    • Nigel says:

      Ridge Racer, twenty years old this year.
      The arcade version was better than any racing/driving game out at the time.

    • cesariojpn says:

      Problem is, Ridge Racer has no real life cars in it. Sure there are lookalikes, but it’s all proprietary cars they’ve made to avoid paying the licensing fees to the car companies. The closest they’ve come to using a real life car is the arcade version that used an actual Eunos Roadster/Mazda MX-5/Mazda Miata.

      Here is footage of it irl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eyUOBsrjDY

  5. dankan says:

    The Hakosuka from Gran Turismo 2. The right sounds, the right speed and it handled great. There was no better introduction to nostalgia than going right to the Ur-legend.

  6. Mike says:

    The best JNC is the 240ZG in Capcom’s Auto Modellista on PS2. The only game where you can drift your Z up and down Akagi Touge in cartoonish awesomeness, to fulfill all of your Initial D fantasies.

  7. Max says:

    In today’s world, video game developers think they can just throw in a KPGC10, AE86, 2000gt, maybe some others. (I’m looking at you Forza 4.) I think the best representation of JNC awesomeness would have to come from the highly underrated Sega GT 2002. Some of you original X-Box owners might remember this as the free game that came with the system for quite some time. Perhaps you’ve dismissed it. I urge you to pull it out, because you will find cars like a Kenmeri, Hakosuka (stock and race-works), 240z, 240zg, Z432r, 240z (works), TA-22 Celica (stock and works), 2000gt and AE86 (of course), TE-27 (my personal fav), MR2’s (AW11, SW20, AND 222D), Honda S600, Early Lancers, Starion, Mazda Cosmo Sport, Subaru Alcyone (normal and SVX), not to mention early Alfas, Mercedes, Lotus’, etc. The physics engine might be pretty crappy, and the tracks are nothing special, but damn this game has a heap of representation for old Japanese cars. If nothing else, the game disk also had Jet Set Future on it, a game whose sole purpose is to ride around a futuristic Japanese urban setting on rollerblades, and put graffiti on walls. How much did this heap of entertainment cost me last year on Amazon? Under 5 bucks with shipping.

  8. Gregore says:

    it is only PS game or for PC too?

  9. Brandon says:

    There isn’t anything more Japanese than tokyo xtreme racer drift 2 on the ps2 . It was a huge step up from the first one and included a vast amount of cars. It probably has more nostalgics than the gran turismo series. From sa22c rx7s to daihatsu midgets, this game is the ultimate game for fans of any Japanese cars. The game is pretty much entirely touge roads as well along with a gymkhana course. The physics weren’t too bad either. It is a fun game for any fan of Japanese automobiles.

    • AndyB says:

      I totally agree! I loved Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero, it was just an awesome underground street racing game! I liked the overall game play over Tokyo Xtreme Racer Drift 2, but it didn’t have hardly any real old school JDM. TXRD2 had lots of great models from several generations, recreated quite well to their real-life dimensions.

      My favorite memory of playing TXRD2 was when I finally spotted a Celica XX 2800GT in the ‘Used Car Lot”. Thinking I could drive my real-life car (albeit, the JDM version) on the twisty (digitally recreated) mountain roads of Japan brought a huge smile to my face!

      Hunting for rare models in the game became a fun side interest for me. Being able to buy, tune, and drive cool classics like the First Gen Fairlady Z and Renault 5 Turbo 2 put this game on top of the rest!
      Too bad my real-life garage will never be graced by such beauties.. 🙁

  10. Knoonz says:

    I have all of the Tokyo Xtreme Racer games for PS2 (4 or 5 in total?) and they are by far the best Japanese car games I’ve played. The racing engine is horrible and the game play is super repetitive, but I’ve still logged countless hours on all of them. I love how all of your rivals have customized cars and the car selections/modifications in TXR Zero and Three are massive. I think I’m gonna go fire up the PS2 now, thanks for the reminder ^-^

  11. Expulsion says:

    Thank you very much for this thread. I now have Tokyo Extreme Racer: Zero, Tokyo Extreme Drift 2 and Auto Modellista arriving in 7-15 days.

    As far as my favorite japanese nostalgic, I have to nominate the Dome Zero in Gran Turismo 4. While this is a later game in the series, it was the first game that I played when I started really getting into cars.

    You couldn’t buy the Dome Zero: it’s cost in credits was “– — –“, meaning you couldn’t purchase it and would have to win it in a special race. Not having a guide, or really..being very good at the game, it was basically unobtainable for me. I have always adored wedge-shaped things, and loading up my Gt4 save game reveals nearly a dozen AW11 MR2’s in various stages of modification. The Zero was the lord of the wedges and the greatest of the goofy robotic looking 80’s cars. And the name: ‘Dome Zero’! It even sounded like a Gundam. It’s Blade Runner. It’s Total Recall. It’s Akira and Ghost in the Shell and Wicked City. But I never got it…

    And because of that, I think…I really got this feeling that a Japanese vehicle could be as rare and sought after as an old Ferrari or Aston Martin or something. The Toyota 2000 GT is without a doubt the ‘ultimate’ JDM collectible, but the Dome Zero was the first car that, to me, felt really, really, absurdly Japanese.

  12. goki says:

    Before Tokyo Xtreme Racer…there was a PS1 game called Tokyo Highway Battle.
    The intro movie even had Drift King driving an R33.
    Badass game…thumb blistering (from holding the accel button down for so long).

    Sega GT 2002 as mentioned above was a fantastic game where you can blow your engine and wear out your tires on all kinds of nostalgic cars….just like real life!

  13. cesariojpn says:

    Need For Speed: Underground 2 had the Toyota Corolla AE86. Before you scoff, the car was one little scrappy fighter, and in the world of highly modified econoboxes, it feels pretty gratifying to win a race in a car with the stock paint scheme and all the possible mods you could stuff into that car. But then again, one of the ways you had to beat the game was to constantly modify your car with some of the most garish modifications that would find a home in a Fast & Furious movie. Ergo, you had a “patsy” car. One of the best overall cars was the Mazda Miata in the game, where even with the shitty mods it still could beat the higher tier cars.

  14. ProTree says:

    no where near winning this as the best video game jnc of all time but I liked playing “Ironman Ivan Stewart’s Super Off Road”. the concept was simple and really addicting

  15. dickie says:

    I love the Tokyo Extreme Racer series so much that the nagging from my girlfriend about the aluminum bucket seat being left in front of the TV on several occasions has become background noise. I loved chasing the Devil Z, and building Hakos, RX3s and RX7s despite their clear limitations in-game. I bought every iteration they made for PS2. That wasn’t enough. I wanted the real thing.

    But since there are no Wangan Midnight machines in the arcades around me, I decided to buy a PS3 so I could play the version made for that system. Yeah, that’s right: I bought the system and accompanying accessories just to play one game. And I can’t understand most of the prompts because it’s all in Japanese.

    So I sit there with a rudimentary translation that allows me to navigate through the main functions so I can progress through a story that I can only interpret because I’ve read the scanlations and watched the fansubs. There’s usually about 5 minutes or less of actual driving interspersed with 5-10 minute graphic – not video – cutscenes. That is devotion.

    To answer the question for this week, my favorite JNC in this game isn’t the obvious one. It is however, an easy choice for me: Kouichi Aizawa’s Silver Twin Turbo Celica XX. The original monster machine that inspired his son’s MKIV resplendent in all its original 80’s glory. The anime barely touches on the car itself, but the story behind its driver is memorable and identifiable for anyone who has lost someone close behind the wheel, chasing their personal demons.

    I love cars with stories, and maybe it’s just the shroud of mystery around this one when compared to the provenance of the Devil Z, but I’m much more drawn to the XX. Or maybe I just have a thing for twin turbo Toyotas.

  16. ok, straight to the point, GET THIS GAME!, if you are even the slightest bit interested in street racing this is the game for you, it’s true that it doesn’t have as much cars or tracks as GT3, but thats not what this game is about, the object of this game is to buy a car, race it on the streets of Tokyo, gain money, tune up your car and race some more, the thing that makes this game so much fun is how personal it makes things, you dont race on a track with 8 other nameless opponents, you drive around, looking for your opponent, you come up behind him and flash your highbeems, he lights his hazard lights to acknowledge your challenge and the game is on, you blast through the road going 200 mph dodging traffic, and the interesting thing is although you have a somewhat limited number of opponents (a little more than 380) each of your opponents have their own personality, you can check their profile, learn about what they do for a living and why they tune their cars, then you go out looking for the ones that you wish to challenge, they’re not always driving around, the game uses the PS2’s internal realtime clock, some of the racers only go out once a week, some of them only at certain time of the day and they either drive around in a certain area or sit and wait at an on-ramp for their next opponent, it makes things so much fun and a lot more realistic, like one time i drove around for an hour hunting down some chick in a BMW M3 that ran me into the wall at the last second causing me to lose the race, you can’t help but take things personaly.

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