Stunts

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Stunts is a racing game from the year 1990. The game was programmed by DSI and published by Brøderbund in versions 1.0 and 1.1 for PC. At the same time, Mindscape released the game under the name 4D Sports Driving, in an alternate version 1.1 for PC and 1.2 for the Amiga. A final Japan-only release, labelled 4D Driving 1.0, would later be made for FM Towns and PC-9801 systems. The game had fully-3D polygonal graphics, which were stunning and revolutionary at that time. The influence from the predecessor Test Drive (also developed by DSI) was easy to spot because of the similar graphics and game structure.

Contents

The game

On a big square area defined and surrounded by a fence you can race on a track (or off the track) in different cars, with either automatic or manual transmission. You can either race against the clock or choose between six different opponents. The goal is to go from start to finish as quickly as possible. A great thing about this game is that you do not have to race only the racing tracks that come with it: there is a built-in track editor that allows you to design your own tracks with different track parts in a very simple way. The game is called Stunts because of special track parts such as loops, corkscrews, slalom roads and jumps (over tall buildings!). You can save every race you drive as a so-called replay, and then watch them again and again afterwards from several different perspectives.

Stunts today

Although the game obviously is more than 10 years old it is still greatly loved all over the world. Already in the middle of the nineties the first websites with information and downloads on Stunts were created. Close to the end of the 90’s, the game was first declared abandonware and then finally declared freeware by the game developers themselves, allowing many people to rediscover it. The game spread quickly over the internet because the game size is less than 1MB zipped, an important consideration back then. When the first online competitions (in which the competition master would receive race replays on specific tracks per email) started, the game began - considering its age - to boom. Up to this day, as the game approaches twenty years of existence, there is a solid worldwide Stunts community. Several competitions are active right now, and there are tens of Stunts websites, a very lively Stunts Forum. Even World Stunts Meetings became a reality, with three editions having been held as of now.

Getting the game

The Download article contains download links for multiple versions of Stunts. Competition sites also commonly provide Stunts packages, often attuned to the requirements of competition rules (for instance, picking a specific game version or including custom cars).

Running the game

Back in the early nineties, Stunts was made to be runnable on a wide assortment of computers - even the lowly XT's were fair game! Nowadays, players often face the opposite problem of making an old game run under modern hardware/software, and Stunts is no exception. Purists will of course prefer playing on their legacy 386/486 machines, or at least from an actual DOS OS using a bootdisk, but that option gets more and more inconvenient as the years go by. Old Windows 95 and 98 systems have access to MS-DOS, but XP and above have poor DOS emulation for our purposes, leading to lack of sound, slowdowns and other glitches. Fortunately, there is an alternative approach thanks to DOSBox, a well-known DOS emulator. It allows Stunts to run virtually flawlessly under not only XP and Vista but also Linux, Mac OS, etc. People with slow computers may have some trouble on getting it to work well, but in general it allows an enjoyable playing experience under any machine from circa 2002 on as long as it is properly configured (you can find advice and sample setups on that on the DOSBox article). Anyway, once you settle for a method of running the game, starting it is straightforward: just run SETUP.EXE once so you can switch between Sound Blaster and PC Speaker sound if you wish and then run the executable - most likely one of the patched executables that bypass the security system, the actual path likely being provided in a readme or on the site from where you got the game. If you have an unpatched version without a manual, you can either download a cracked one or use the list of Stunts copy protections answers.

External links

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