Sunday just passed, I went to the Manchester Comic Con, in all honesty it’s not my thing but when you have a brother who likes all things Sci-Fi, Horror and trying to find rare collectables for his favourite television shows, then you find yourself going along too.
Now I could be all mickey taking here and make fun of the people I saw but as a racing fan and as someone who spent two days last week watching cricket at Old Trafford, I won’t be doing that as let’s face it everyone is a nerd about something in life and there is nothing wrong with that.
On my walk around the place whilst looking at the stalls, I came across the games area and most notably the video games.
As someone who loves watching sport and dabbling in the occasional game on the Xbox One it was walking around and noticing the video games that it hit me.
If you like Football, Rugby, Cricket, to name a few then you can buy every year the latest game of the equivalent sport and indulge in living a fantasy life of a top sports star albeit without the huge wages, tax free home in Monaco and the pick of the top models and sample what it’s like to be at Old Trafford, Twickenham, Lord’s and Madison Square Gardens, but sadly of all the top sporting arenas in the world one sport is stupidly missing on a golden opportunity to showcase itself on a grand scale.
Yes, you’ve guessed it, Horse Racing. Now gaming online has always been popular when you look at the Call Of Duty franchise which has people playing it 24/7.
Horse racing in the video game world has been very limited, in my younger days I remember the Spectrum having a Grand National game where you could ride over the famous course, although it was a good game it wasn’t fully accurate about riding the race.
The arcades came up with Final Furlong in the 90s and my claim to fame with it is riding a winner of it in the Hall Of Fame museum at Cheltenham, so I can say without lying that I’ve ridden a winner at Cheltenham (sort of!).
Most recently G1 Jockey has been the main racing game with courses from the Japan racing scene on and last edition having variations of British courses, but under different names due to license issues.
Over the years technology has taken huge advances with Go-Pro cameras, Drone cameras and even the Jockey Cam used by the BBC, C4 and most recently ITV in their coverage of racing, totally giving a new aspect to the racing and how the public sees it.
With the sporting section of video games being huge and the new advancements in technology it makes one wonder why a video game that allows you to be a jockey over flat or jumps isn’t on the market as it’s a great way of letting fans channel their inner jockey and showcase the sport to a whole new audience.
Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to experience riding in a Cheltenham Festival, Grand National, Derby or the hustle and bustle of the big field handicaps at the major events or the all-weather during the winter months.
Not only that but imagine all of the British courses being available to ride from Newmarket to Ludlow and live like a jockey after a day at work.
For online play it’s something that could open a whole new world, imagine a game that can have 40 gamers on a winter midweek night lining up to ride in the Grand National and see if what Mick Fitzgerald said in 1995 is correct or challenge themselves to land the Blue Ribband of the Turf at Epsom.
The past couple of years has had ITV doing a show called “The Virtual Grand National” and for the 2018 renewal the sport had the Race Of Champions in which computerised versions of previous winners and participants took part, just imagine if the Grand Nationals, Champion Hurdles, Gold Cup’s, Derbies and stars of the many other divisions of flat and jump racing from yesteryear were available online for racing fans to race against each other in the same way that FIFA has games featuring famous club and international teams from previous eras that can face off on the pitch, the potential is huge and full of scope for this to happen.
Hopefully someone who works in the gaming industry may by some luck read this and take a chance on something that could work and give the sport a massive showcase to the world, I don’t know about you but I’m already salivating at the thought of finally riding a winner around my beloved Haydock and Aintree from the comfort of my sofa.
Article by @Wattyracing