Do you have a favourite horse racing game?
Back in the day before we had computer games people would play games such as Escalado, in which eight metal horses would race along a fabric track that was vibrated using a mechanical crank. Only one player would work the crank which was supposed to produce random vibrations so that each horse has an equal opportunity of winning.
You would place bets on your favourite horses generally on a winner collects all basis. Despite that it was introduced originally in 1928, the game is still available today and costs around £100 new, though you can generally find some good bargains on used games. Perhaps it’s not quite as good as it was; the old lead horses have been replaced by plastic ones which don’t move around in quite the same way.
Another great horse racing game that people used to play before computer games and is still going strong is Totopoly. This was first launched in 1938 and today you can buy one for under £20. It uses a two sided board and the movements of horses depend on the throw of a dice. The first side of the board represents the build up to the race and horses collect advantage and disadvantage points while facing the chance of being eliminated. The second side is for the race itself. You can bet on any horse. Horse movements again are controlled by dice throws and advantage and disadvantage cards are played and used for setting odds.
Naturally, to a large extent these horse racing games have given way to computer and online games. Many of these are virtual reality games where you can take on multiple roles. For instance you can own your own race horses, train them, select your best horses for particular races, and race your horses against other owners’ horses. Many of these use some form of league structure that you can climb and win championships.
While you can usually play these games at a basic or introductory level for free, to progress in the game you will usually need to purchase game credits. While some are just for fun, in many you can also opt for play for fun or play for money. Examples of these types of games include:
- Virtual Owner – one of the more sophisticated virtual reality online horseracing community games
- VR Horse Race Run & Jump – a horse race simulation game
- Starters Orders – downloadable offline game for PC or mobile with first person jockey mode. You can train, breed, bet, and even race against build in simulations of legendary horses from the past.
- iHorse Racing – train multiple horses and compete in leagues
- Derby Quest – Create and train champion horse handling every aspect of its life
- Horse Manager – choose your horse and jockey
- Horse Racing 3D – select your horse and let the odds guide your choices
- Virtual Horses – place bets on virtual horse racing games for real money or just for fun
A different kind of horse racing game that is crossing the barriers between horse racing games and real horse racing include developments such as ‘Get in the Race’. This includes a live betting app along with a virtual reality viewer that tracks GPS devices carried by real horses. When you play you are literally in the saddle while you receive information on the horses’ heartrate, race position, distance to run, stride length and so forth. Eventually these type of games will be available with VR headsets.
We’ve come a long way since the launch of Escalado in 1928.