You might not know it from the box art, but Ridge Racer was one of the best games at launch!
No magazine is perfect, and therefore most gamers are willing to forgive some minor errors from time to time. After all, even the most astute game journalist can make the mistake of crediting the wrong developer or misspelling somebody's name. But should we be willing to forgive articles that decide to rewrite history?
In the May 2005 issue of the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine writer Greg Sewart seems to have a problem remembering what happened ten years ago. You see, according to Mr. Sewart Namco's port of Ridge Racer was not just a launch game for the original PlayStation, but also a pack-in game. Here is the quote from the very first paragraph of a "history" lesson about the Ridge Racer series:
"When the PlayStation hit the United States in 1995, Sony sent a message that it was ready to bury Sega by including a copy of Namco's superb Ridge Racer in the box."
Towards the end of the article Greg goes a little further in depth by talking about the ramifications of a third party game as a pack-in with a system, a first for the game industry as far as he could tell:
"Launching a new system with a flagship title is nothing new, but in Sony's case, packing in the original PS1 Ridge Racer was unique if only because said flagship title was the product of a third-party publisher."
If you bought the PlayStation when it first came out you got a CD with bands like Korn ... but no Ridge Racer!
Had Greg not been pulling this information straight out of his ass he could have probably gone on to explain how this inspired Microsoft to pack a couple of Sega games in with their Xbox. The truth is, the PlayStation was the beginning of the death of pack-in games. The Saturn launched with Virtua Fighter packed in, but the PlayStation (like the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube after it), launched with no game for free.
Many of this generations gamers may be too young to remember a time when launching a system without a pack-in game seemed insane. The consumer expected a pack-in, in a lot of cases it's why people bought the system. The Genesis launched with Altered Beast, the Super NES had Super Mario World, heck, even the GameBoy started out bundled with Tetris ... but the PlayStation did not have Ridge Racer in the box.
Not every system launched with a an egomaniac like Keith Courage!
Well, technically the original PlayStation DID have Ridge Racer in the box ... but not the full version like Greg Sewart suggests. In fact, the version found in the PlayStation box wasn't even playable. Ridge Racer appears as a short preview video on the pack-in sampler, along with Tekken, Air Combat, Twisted Metal, Destruction Derby, and Warhawk. This is clearly not what Greg was talking about, since he noted the significance of a third-party game being packaged with a console.
Giving Greg the benefit of the doubt for a moment, this could just be an innocent mistake and nothing more. After all, we all mess up from time to time. But this is the "Official" U.S. PlayStation Magazine, not some saps who work for PSM or some unofficial PlayStation magazine. These are the people that are supposed to get it right, if they don't know what the pack in game for the PlayStation was, then how is anybody else expected to know? Say what you will about Nintendo Power, but this is not the kind of mistake you'll see them making.