Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

Last year during the summer doldrums, we made a quick list of some of the most interesting arcade games that were still not available to play through MAME emulation. It looks like that list will soon be one game shorter, as the dumped ROM for Exciting sonic patrol car (roughly “Waku Waku Sonikku Patokaa” in the original Japanese) has been ditched and will be supported in the next official release of MAME.

Sonic patrol car is simultaneously one of the rarest Sonic games and one of the least interesting to actually play. In the barely interactive 1991 arcade game, Sonic wears a cop hat and dodges traffic in a all slow cop car (why it doesn’t just run at its usual super speed we can’t say). Towards the end of the three-minute ride, the player will find Dr. Robotnik in his own hovercar, then presses the “jump” button to knock him down. Sonic & Knuckles it’s not, but it’s technically the former Sonic game with (Japanese) voice actors. It’s a historical curiosity simply because it’s an early title associated with Sega’s blue mascot.

Unless you were a kid who frequented certain Japanese arcades in the early 1990s, you’ve probably never seen this game in its original rocking car-shaped box, complete with steering wheel and turn signals. That bulky case is extremely hard to find in working condition these days (even in Japan), even harder to get at someone who could dump the internal ROM data for safekeeping.

Enter Will Medved, an avid Sonic collector who, according to Kotaku, managed to track down a working version of the ride and buy it for $350. A few thousand dollars in postage and additional fees later, Medved had the £770 game in his garage and ready for filing (and conversion to accept US quarters). While Medved originally set up an IndieGogo project to fund that costly acquisition, it seems that concerned arcade curator The Dumping Union ended up helping with some of the cost.

Of Sonic patrol car out of the way, there is at least one more white whale for the Sonic community: the similar space-themed kiddie ride Segasonic Cosmo Fighter. In addition, there are countless other titles listed on sites like UnMAMEd and System 16. If you’d like to contribute to finding and preserving these rarest classic arcade games, The Dumping Union is happy to accept your donations.

By akfire1

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