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Virtua Racing on Switch's 8-player portable splitscreen is eye-boggling

Magic eight.

M2's port of Virtua Racing, which has just hit the Switch's Japanese eShop, presents what I believe is a first on the console - at least I can't think of anyone who's been nuts enough to attempt the same thing - as it enables eight-player splitscreen on a single Switch console, docked or undocked. Perhaps the most nuts thing about it is it works.

The Switch version of Virtua Racing, which comes as part of the Sega Ages series, runs at 60fps in single-player and when two players are playing in splitscreen. Once you've more than three players on the same console, though, the frame-rate halves to 30fps - which still isn't bad, when you consider that's what the arcade original ran at when it came out and wowed players with its technical prowess way back in 1992.

The eight player splitscreen is a nod to the arcade original and its ability to link cabinets together for multiplayer - leading to a set-up that looked, in the deluxe Virtua Formula edition that also offered a full-motion cabinet, something like this:

Virtua Formula, complete with the mist from the end of a freshly puffed Benson and Hedges.

And now, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, a similar set-up looks something like this:

The biggest challenge, really, is going to be fitting eight people around that screen.
Here's the game in action, running at a respectable 30fps. It's surprisingly playable, even in portable mode, thanks to how bold Virtua Racing looks.

It's hugely impressive, as is the entire port of an important entry in Sega's arcade catalogue. There's no western release date pinned down just yet for it (though grabbing games from the Japanese eShop is a cinch, thankfully). You'll probably have to put up with more of me talking about it on the site in the near future, and a more considered technical deep-dive from Digital Foundry's John Linneman soon after.

Virtua Formula image from Mafmafmaf at English Wikipedia

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Martin Robinson avatar

Martin Robinson


Martin worked at Eurogamer from 2011 to 2023. He has a Gradius 2 arcade board and likes to play racing games with special boots and gloves on.

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