Back at the end of 2020, UNIS showed off a brief video of a new arcade concept called Rowing Champs. What was notable about it was that it would have been a river rafting game similar to Namco’s old Rapid River. Likely due to the pandemic however, the concept stayed just that and we never saw more about it.
Fast forward to last year and one of their competitors, Wahlap, liked the idea enough that they created and finished Crazy Rafting. While I had seen a few photos of it at Chinese tradeshows, there wasn’t anything to indicate a Western release until today, where the game is now listed on the Sega Amusements website. This also fits with a tip I’d recently received about the game being spotted on test in the UK, although it was in the background of a photo about something else (this pic below is from the AAA 2021 tradeshow):
Ignite your sense of adventure with Crazy Rafting. Hop into the two-player raft and go on a white water rafting journey that will take you through six insane worlds. The reliable multi-airbag motion seat will immerse you into the crazy rafting experience. Huge 55” monitor and rich sound brings all the action to life, while the air canon blows wind in your hair so you can experience a thrilling ride. The realistic paddle controllers make the gameplay intuitive and fun – quicker you paddle the faster you go.
The unique cabinet features a raft seat, paddle controllers, vivid colour-changing lighting and artwork to attract players to the game.
Explore six thrilling environments such as a forest, desert, volcano, snowy mountain, ice field, and an alien world. Look out for the giant dinosaurs, mammoths, and other alien creatures as you explore their worlds.
A unique feature of the game is it shows calories burned at the end of each game. This inspires adult players to see the game as a fun exercise and encourages them to play again.
So while this still fits the bill as a Rapid River-type game, with the control setup appearing to be exactly the same, let me highlight some of the differences:
- The motion is based on modern air bladder tech instead of the older pneumatic system
- 55″ modern LCD instead of the 50″ projection screen
- Air blower for a simulated wind effect
- Crazy Rafting has a seat belt
Crazy Rafting touts six areas to play through; It isn’t clear if it mimics the OutRun-style branching system that RR also used or not. Interestingly enough, this is the second new game by Wahlap that involves water; The other one is Jet Blaster, which Sega has been selling since last September. Jet Blaster has an OutRun-style branching system, so I’d be surprised (and it would be strange) if this doesn’t use it.
Both games are exclusive to arcades which is nice for operators, although any port would certainly lose the appeal of the oar controller. Where it is listed on Sega’s site along with dimensions, it looks like it is available now for locations interested in getting one. What are your thoughts about it?