Of the games I had been hoping to catch at ASI this year was Sanguozhi War 3 by Sega. It had been tested in Chicago but had since disappeared on the US scene. The reason why I wanted to see it was because it’s the first game I know of that was going to attempt bringing the “player card” controlled video game to arcades in the US. Japan has seen several games come along with this new concept including Square Enixs’ Lord of Vermilion, the aforementioned Sanguozhi War by Sega and now Horse Riders by Konami which has been released today in Japan.
One thing that makes Horse Riders interesting is that until now the card controlled games have been used primarily for fantasy-RPG style games and while this does seem to use the RPG element to the game it focuses on a real world sport instead – you can train your horse as a jockey and there are 400 horses to choose from, all based upon actual racing horses from the past and present. The race tracks you race on are also based upon real world tracks and to top it off you can race against other players online. Also it looks really, really good from the screencaps. While card controlled games are obviously geared towards hardcore players due to their complexity, the fact that a large number of people still play non-video game based card games (Magic: The Gathering among many, many others) shows that there is a market to combine their hobby with video games (which they usually enjoy as well).
Unless Konami wants to take the plunge with the card concept, it probably won’t come out in international markets but Konami was among the first to try out new concepts in arcades before with their MoCap games so maybe they’ll take a stab at this concept in other markets. Images via Dengeki Online.