Mouse-controlled Super Mario Kart clone for classic Macintosh

It doesn’t get much more Japanese Macintosh than this!

There were only two mentions of this game on Google at the time of writing, and only one screenshot. So I felt it was worthwhile documenting the game in some detail.

My copy of the game, version 1.0, came on CD-ROM MacLife No. 161. This disc was included with the January 2002 issue of the Japanese magazine MacLife. This specific issue was released 9 months after the launch of OS X, so it’s interesting to see the magazine staff providing content - a folder labelled “Vintage” — for users of the older Mac OS, whether that was using the Classic environment of OS X or on legacy hardware.

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HyperKart?

えもらのカート (Emora Kart) is a racing game created in June 1994 by OYU!-san (土屋 悦男). It is named after the lead character, a somewhat dinosaur-like creature called Emora, who would go on to star in further releases by the author.

The game starts with a short qualifying course, which doubles as a tutorial. Finishing first on this course will unlock four further courses that are substantially bigger and more challenging. Finishing first on all courses unlocks a special course. Whilst the speed of the game is limited by the performance of the host computer you should be able to find a speed that is neither too slow nor too fast and have an enjoyable time with the game.

Your character automatically accelerates and you use the mouse to influence its direction. If the mouse pointer is too far away then it will have no effect, so it’s better if you trail the mouse pointer in front of the character at a short distance — a bit like a carrot on a stick - which gives the feeling that you’re almost pulling them around the track. The player can only move in straight lines and at 45-degrees which affects possible driving lines. And just like in Super Mario Kart there are coins littered around the track and they can be collected, not only by driving over them but also by clicking on them with the mouse pointer.

It’s interesting to note that this type of pointer control feels very much like a Wii game, which was a nice surprise. In particular I’m thinking of the way you guide your player in Pro Evolution Soccer, and the way you pick up things with the pointer in Super Mario Galaxy.

Fastest lap times are recorded and you need to make sure you do proper laps for them to register properly - cheating and shortcuts are discouraged! Driving off-road will cause you player to slow down and it will take time for them to accelerate back up to cruising speed once they are back on the track. Hitting track side obstacles will cause you to spin out and slow down. If your player stops completely, you’ll need to click on it to get it moving.

Features:

  • 1-bit monochrome graphics
  • Created using HyperCard
  • Inspired by Super Mario Kart
  • Mouse-controlled aiming/steering
  • CPU-controlled opponent
  • 6 characters with different stats
  • 6 tracks of varying complexity
  • Construction guide included

The construction guide is really interesting addition. It’s an illustrated document that details how the game can be comprehensively modded using nothing but the game itself running inside HyperCard.

Where did this come from?

I found this game in my collection of Japanese Macintosh Magazine CD-ROMs, which at the time of writing consists of over 120 discs and almost 500,000 files. It’s a real treasure trove of old software that has many more secrets waiting to be rediscovered! You can help me preserve more lost software by joining my Patreon.

How can I play this game?

You can play the game in your web browser at https://archive.org/details/emora-kart though be warned it runs very slowly in this emulator.

Alternatively, you can download it to play on your real Macintosh or in a different emulator.

Shifting perspective

A sequel of sorts was made a couple of years later, in 1996. えもらのバギー (Emora Buggy) which shifted the camera to behind the player and featured simultaneous 2-player operation. Controls are now via keyboard, the window is much smaller, and the courses are shorter. The vibe is a mix of Out Run and Micro Machines and quite different to the first game.

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Comments: @gingerbeardman