Pocket Circuit

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#1 Posted by dvaeg (252 posts) -

I am in love with the Pocket Circuit. I assume this is a real thing, but can find no information on real life racing. It seems to be different than slot cars, but does this incredibly awesome past time still exist? Does anyone know if has morphed into something with a different name? Or will I forever have to be distraught that I cannot build and max out my own Pocket Circuit racer and shame small children with my powerful racing skills.

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#2 Posted by poobumbutt (951 posts) -

As far as I know: no, it does not. This is all stuff I inferred from info - or rather, the lack thereof - I dug up not becuase I was interested in real life PC racing, but because I didn't believe it was actually a thing.

First, I don't think the in-depth nature of customizing your mini-car with special wheels and motors was ever a real thing. However, if it were, the issue wouldn't just be that it was presumably most popular about 25-30 years ago, but that it was so in Japan. All the odd games and hobbies that are well known in Japan might be super low key and underground in North America if you're lucky. Add to that the fact that Pocket Circuit's draw is buying very specific novelty items to put into your slot car to make it go 0.5 times faster means that specialty manufacturers/dealers would need to exist for all of this. When you factor the age part in, I think what you have is a hobby that would still be somewhat present in Japan MAYBE, and present in very small, very nerdy circles anywhere else. But that's my own guesswork, for what it's worth.

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#3 Edited by GideonAmos (215 posts) -

Oh man I totally remember this! There is indeed a real life counterpart to Yakuza's pocket racing which is called Mini 4WD . Tamiya (also known for their scale models) is probably one of the biggest manufacturer for these mini 4wd cars and their tune-up parts. It used to be quite popular in (south)east asia back in the 90s, at least that was when I jumped into the bandwagon as a kid. The costumizing thing is a real thing as well! I remember having to do chores for my parents so that I can buy a new motor/dynamo and wheels for my racer. People who were really into it did a bunch of crazy thing to their racers: Building their own bodykit/chassis or even spooling their own dynamo. One of the things about mini 4wd that stuck in my mind is how fast these racers actually are. I remember seeing people who had to use gloves to stop their racer to prevent getting hand injuries due to the speed of the racers.

Unfortunately, it seems like the popularity of mini 4wd racing seems to have dwindled quite a bit. Did a quick search on amiami/Hobby Link Japan and none of them carry any of mini 4wd cars in stock :(

(Edit: seems to still be a thing in Japan, found a youtube video of last year's Japan Cup)

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#4 Edited by notnert427 (2158 posts) -

Ha, I find myself wishing they'd do more of this on the Yakuza ER. It seems rad. I always loved R/C shit as a kid (I still kinda do). Were I playing Yakuza 0, I'd probably dump an unhealthy amount of time into this minigame, and I'd definitely have the sweetest car I could get.

In real life, there was a kinda similar thing the Boy Scouts did called the Pinewood Derby. It was the coolest fucking thing ever. Basically, you and all the other kids bought this same kit of a wood block, some wheels, and some weights, and you carved/painted/decal-ed your car the way you wanted, ultimately to send it down a giant ramp against the other kids' cars. It was amazing.

I spent WAY too much time each year on mine, meticulously hand-painting and crafting each car. Building it with my Dad was awesome, and he actually didn't take it over and build it for me like most of the other kids' dads did, instead just helping by offering way-too-in-depth engineering tips for my kid mind. Still, I legitimately learned some things about aerodynamics/physics and had a blast doing it.

To this day, one of my happiest childhood memories is winning that bitch. I'd taken both 3rd and 2nd previously, having been frustratingly nosed out in a photo finish the prior year. Watching my lovingly crafted red demon majestically blaze across the finish line was incredible. I need to talk to my folks and find where they have that car. I'd build a shelf for it and put it on the wall right now. Excuse me while I go call my parents...

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#5 Edited by AlisterCat (8054 posts) -

I just finished all the cups and sidequests and never want to see pocket circuit again for the rest of my life.

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