Racing to 31 – 31 racing game greats: #17 Wave Race: Blue Storm (2001)

It’s that time of year again and I find myself racing toward another birthday and to the ripe-old age of 31. In celebration I thought why the hell not have a racing themed countdown – so here we are, counting down 31 racing games that have defined my enjoyment of the genre over the last 31 years. Enjoy!

WR_BluestormI refuse to believe its been 13 years since Wave Race: Blue Storm was released.  Being wowed by the impressive wave physics and weather systems as a squall moved in on over the ocean as I vie for first place seems far from a distant memory, as does throwing the work of industrial design art that is the GameCube controller across the room in frustration.  Yes, Wave Race: Blue Storm was ridiculously punishing, but in a Ninja Gaiden kind of way – you’ll fail miserably to begin with but that practice makes perfect.  And you’ll want to practice, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to see everything this brilliant jet ski racer has to offer.  That is when you’re not staring at the still impressive water physics.

Roads don’t move.  “Of course they don’t, idiot” you say.  But hear me out: it may be stating the obvious but its what separates Wave Race from any other racing games, making it such a special experience in the process.  It’s the racing game equivalent of having to multitask, not just having to slot your jet-ski through buoy checkpoints, but  also constantly struggling with the elements which change ‘dynamically’ through the course of the race.  And if that’s not enough, wrestling with controls that are unlike anything else you’ve probably played and certainly less ‘precise’, will at times have you falling well behind the pack.  But when things go well and you’re literally riding the wave of success, you’ll be glad you stuck with the game despite its ridiculously steep learning curve.

Wave Race: Blue Storm is a bit of an anomaly in the Nintendo stables in that it is one of only a handful of Nintendo developed GameCube exclusives not to have a sequel on any console since.  But if going back and playing Wave Race 13 years on tells me anything, it’s that perhaps there should be.  I’m not holding by breath.

 We want to hear from you, so be sure to leave your Wave Race: Blue Storm memories in the comments!  And if you haven’t be sure to check back at previous games in the countdown below.

#31: Stunt Car Racer   #30: Badlands   #29: RVF Honda  #28: Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge  #27: Nitro  #26: Super Grand Prix  #25 Super Cars II  #24 Super RC Pro-Am #23 Sega Rally  #22 Wipeout 2097  #21 Micro Machines V3  #20 Gran Turismo #19 Need For Speed: High Stakes  #18 Colin McRae Rally 2.0  #17 Wave Race: Blue Storm #16 Grand Prix Challenge  #15 Project Gotham Racing 2  #14 F-Zero GX  #13 Mashed #12 Burnout 3: Takedown  #11 Ridge Racer  #10 Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast #9 Forza Motorsport 2  #8 Motorstorm: Pacific Rift  #7 Midnight Club: Los Angeles  #6 Dirt 2  #5 Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit  #4 Shift 2: Unleashed  #3 Sonic All-Star Racing: Transformed  #2 Forza Horizon  #1 F1 2013: Classic Edition

Wave Race Blue Storm GameCube