Micromachines: What happened to the classic racing series?

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When you think of miniature toy cars, there are a few brands that spring to mind. One of these is Micro Machines, which has spawned a hugely successful video game series as well.

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It's been a very long time since the series' peak in the 1990s though, so what happened to it? And are we likely to see a new Micro Machines game anytime soon? We give our takes right here!

Micro Machines' heyday

It's no exaggeration to say that Micro Machines were huge in the 1980s. This success inevitably led to a video game series being produced in its honour.

In 1991, Micro Machines was launched on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). This was a top-down 8-bit racer on a console that was approaching ten years old, but it was fabulous.

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THE GOOD OLD DAYS: Micro Machines' games takes us back to simpler times
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THE GOOD OLD DAYS: Micro Machines' games takes us back to simpler times

Micro Machines was so simple, yet so addictive at the same time. The multiplayer mode was what made it though, that and the fact that you could race throughout a virtual house just like you could in real life.

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Micro Machines' success can be highlighted best by how many other systems it later launched on. The title was repackaged and revamped onto over a dozen other consoles all the way up until the original Xbox and PS2.

Its sequel, Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament, also enjoyed much success, and excellently built upon the original. Turbo Tournament introduced, among other features, a league system and a track editor.

3D graphics on the original PlayStation came with Micro Machines V3. V3 literally brought a new dimension to the Micro Machines' environment and saw greater detail in the cars and tracks.

Some cracks were beginning to show though, as some sections of players and critics started to dislike the series' gameplay.

The downturn

Released in 2000, Micro Maniacs was a change in direction for the Micro Machines series. This title saw players race the majority of the time on foot rather than in a toy car.

Maniacs wasn't a bad game by any stretch, but it showed that the developers were running out of ideas when it came to Micro Machines.

THE BEGINNING OF THE END: Micro Maniacs saw the series take a big downturn in quality
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THE BEGINNING OF THE END: Micro Maniacs saw the series take a big downturn in quality

We had to wait another six years for another Micro Machines game, and it's safe to say that our patience wasn't rewards. Micro Machines V4 was a PlayStation and PC exclusive and thoroughly disappointed us.

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The game was playable, but its graphics and overall gameplay was little better than V3, which was almost a decade old by this point. V4 was very generic with its car and track selection, it had well and truly lost its mojo.

Just like the toys themselves, the video games attempted a comeback in 2015, with World Series. This was, to put it mildly, another failure, as the multiplayer got boring after little more than an hour and there was no Career Mode.

Is there a demand for a Micro Machines game?

Given that it's been over two decades since we last had a "good" Micro Machines game, the question of whether a new one would be a success is a valid one.

It's also a question that didn't have a clear answer until recently, but that changes last year. Hot Wheels Unleashed was released by Milestone to good reviews and great sales in 2021.

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That's without mentioning the success that the Hot Wheels cars had in games like Forza Horizon too. Furthermore, you could also attribute Mario Kart: Home Circuit's popularity to the toy car nostalgia adults have experienced.

So, there is clearly demand for toy cars in games, but who would make this series?

A RISE IN INTEREST: Hot Wheels' success shows there's an appetite for a Micro Machines games
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A RISE IN INTEREST: Hot Wheels' success shows there's an appetite for a Micro Machines games

Well, the Micro Machines games were developed by none other than Codemasters. This means two things; firstly, that we have Micro Machines to thank for the success of series such as the official Formula 1 game, GRID and Dirt.

It also means that we've got a very capable candidate to take up the Micro Machines mantle. Codies will be looking to expand given that they've been taken over by EA.

As far as we know, Codies still have the licence to make Micro Machine games, as they developed Micro Machines World Series in 2015. So, a revival of a classic series could be the next series to be taken up by Codies in the coming years.