NASCAR Racing (lost builds of cancelled R-Zone and racing games; mid 1990s-2000)

From The Lost Media Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

NASCAR Racing promoted in the 1999 Tiger Electronics' Toy Fair catalogue, alongside the also-cancelled port of Metal Gear Solid.

Status: R-Zone version - Existence Unconfirmed version - Lost

NASCAR Racing was a 3D racing game series developed by Papyrus Design Group, who primarily published them for the DOS, Macintosh and Windows. The series' commercial success prompted the development of a handheld version for the Tiger Electronics' console, which would have marked the only portable console title in the series' history. Intended for release in January 2000, the game was marketed as a realistic simulation of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Alas, it was cancelled among many others due to the's commercial failure. Rumours also persist that a build was also developed for Tiger's R-Zone.


Prior to the's production, a few NASCAR-licenced titles had been released on pre-existing Tiger consoles.[1] For example, Dale Earnhardt Winner’s Circle Pacesetter Game allowed players to drive Dale Earnhardt's #3 car and harness the Intimidator's ability to barge through other cars for victory.[2][3][1] Meanwhile, Papyrus Design Group achieved success with its NASCAR Racing series, which was first published for PCs in 1994.[4][5] The game's realistic gameplay was highly praised by critics like PC Gamer, who even coined it "the best racing game ever created".[6] It prompted several sequels and a 1996 port for the PlayStation.[7][5] It was reported in March 1998 by Gamecenter that NASCAR Racing and 1996 sequel NASCAR Racing 2 had been sold a combined total of 2 million units.[5]

Thus, the series became sought after by Tiger Electronics, presumably to further capitalise on the NASCAR licence and release the inaugural portable NASCAR Racing game.[8][9] Supposedly, a build was in development for Tiger's first cartridge-based console, the R-Zone.[10][1][8] Little is known about this title, which alongside other alleged cancelled games Star Trek and Waterworld, is frequently included on lists of R-Zone games by various websites.[11][8][10][1] Its first mention came in September 1999 by Digital Press, which was unable to determine its proposed release date.[10] If development had indeed commenced, the game likely ended up unfinished because of the R-Zone's commercial failure.[12][8] Produced from 1995 to 1997, the R-Zone was promoted as an affordable virtual reality-based console.[8][12][1] However, just like the more infamous and expensive Nintendo Virtual Boy, it was panned for causing eye strain and its unappealing games library which hardly capitalised on the VR concept.[13][14][12][8] More conventional R-Zone consoles were later produced, but these did little to appease either consumers or critics.[8][12]

While the R-Zone version's existence is unconfirmed,[8] a NASCAR Racing build was definitely made for Tiger's subsequent console, the[15][16] A NASCAR game was first announced in a Tiger press release on 13th May 1999, as part of its E3 presentation.[16] It alongside many other upcoming titles like WCW/nWo Whiplash and a Metal Gear Solid port were showcased in Tiger's 1999 Toy Fair catalogue.[9] Marketed as a realistic-for-handhelds racing game, only two screenshots were ever unveiled.[9] One was of its title screen while another presented its top-down gameplay.[9] The press release and catalogue initially titled the game as NASCAR,[16][9] but subsequent reports refer to it as NASCAR Racing.[17][18] According to the July 1999 issue of GamePro, NASCAR Racing was originally intended for a release later that year.[17] However, its November preview of R-Zone games planned for late 1999 did not include the title.[19] Correspondence between Tiger and GameSpot confirmed the game had been pushed back to January 2000.[18]

Ultimately, NASCAR Racing's release never transpired.[20][15] Even during its E3 showcase, Tiger was already concerned about the's poor commercial reception, having sought to produce a follow-up model called the Pocket Pro.[21][17][16] Alas, while its touchscreen was considered innovative for its time, the console suffered from an unappealing games library and lacked key features like a sufficient quality screen, colour and a backlight.[15][14] While the Pocket Pro attempted to overcome these initial criticisms,[21][14][17] the remained a commercial failure, having sold fewer than 300,000 units since its 1997 inception.[15] Tiger opted to discontinue the console in 2000, rendering the development of unreleased games like NASCAR Racing an unprofitable endeavour.[15][20] The game's cancellation meant Indy 500 was the's only published racing title.[15]


The alleged R-Zone version of NASCAR Racing, as noted by The Video Game Kraken,[8] has never been verified beyond a few mentions on websites like Digital Press and IGN.[10][11][1] No screenshots, builds or any other concrete proof has ever been publicly showcased.[8] One AtariAge forum user discussed playing NASCAR Racing; however they mentioned features like forty cars, three difficulty settings and gearbox modes, which very much resemble the R-Zone port of Sega's Daytona USA.[22][23] Notably, the game's instructions note Daytona USA was licenced from NASCAR.[23] This suggests the possibility that NASCAR Racing was merely a working title for the port rather than an actual standalone title, but no confirmation has yet been achieved on this.

In contrast, the's version's existence has been proven thanks to the Toy Fair screenshots.[9] It is unclear how far the game went into development prior to cancellation.[20][15] Ultimately, whereas a prototype of the cancelled Castlevania: Symphony of the Night port has since been publicly dumped,[24] NASCAR Racing is among the majority of unreleased titles to remain inaccessible to the public.[20]

See Also


Tiger Electronics Media


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Geeky Hobbies listing several NASCAR-related Tiger Electronics handheld games, including Dale Earnhardt Winner’s Circle Pacesetter Game, and listing NASCAR Racing among R-Zone titles. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  2. Instructions for Dale Earnhardt Winner’s Circle Pacesetter Game. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  3. Essentially Sports summarising Earnhardt and his Intimidator nickname. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  4. GameSpot on the history of Papyrus and its NASCAR Racing series. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Archived Gamecenter noting the first two NASCAR Racing games sold a combined 2 million units by March 1998. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  6. March 1995 issue of PC Gamer declaring NASCAR Racing as "the best racing game ever created" (found on Imgur). Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  7. PSX Datacenter page on the PlayStation port of NASCAR Racing. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 The Video Game Kraken summarising the R-Zone and its commercial failure, while noting NASCAR Racing's existence has never been proven. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Tiger Electronics' 1999 toy fair catalogue containing promotions for games including NASCAR Racing. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Digital Press listing NASCAR Racing among other R-Zone titles in September 1999. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  11. 11.0 11.1 IGN listing NASCAR Racing in its R-Zone games page. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 DualShockers detailing the R-Zone's history and its failed attempt to capitalise on the Virtual Boy's initial hype. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  13. 28th November 1995 issue of the Chicago Tribune panning the R-Zone. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Vice summary of the R-Zone and Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 Bad Game Hall of Fame detailing the and its commercial failure, and summarising NASCAR Racing. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 13th May 1999 Tiger Electronics press release announcing NASCAR among other upcoming titles for the Pocket Pro. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 July 1999 issue of GamePro previewing the Pocket Pro and listing NASCAR Racing among its upcoming games with a 1999 release date. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  18. 18.0 18.1 GameSpot reporting that NASCAR Racing was planned for a January 2000 release. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  19. November 1999 issue of GamePro previewing the upcoming Pocket Pro games, but notably not listing NASCAR Racing among the planned releases. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Diskman including the game among the unreleased games. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  21. 21.0 21.1 Diskman summarising the and its various models. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  22. AtariAge post where one user discusses playing NASCAR Racing. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  23. 23.0 23.1 Instructions for the R-Zone port of Daytona USA. Retrieved 27th Jan '24
  24. Diskman summarising the Castlevania: Symphony of the Night port. Retrieved 27th Jan '24