GTI Club Supermini Festa: Unfairly underrated arcade conversion

Our very own @matt has been raving about this game’s merits for a while now, and I finally picked up a copy this month. And it’s certainly been interesting enough to warrant a thread, especially when you consider the reception the game received at launch.

GTI Club: Supermini Festa (World Race in Japan) a home port of Konami’s 2008 GTI Club arcade game of the same name, co-developed by Genki and complementing Konami and Sumo Digital’s earlier reboot of the original GTI Club on PS3 at the other end of the spectrum to the series.

Simply put, you drive small but maneuverable high performance ‘GTI’ cars around manic, dense city streets. There are five cities from France, Italy, the UK, Japan and North America, and there’s traffic to contend with as well. The handling is deliciously malleable in the sense that you really can steer these cars around with a satisfying sway, allowing you to weave in and out of traffic or drift into a side road at the last possible moment - useful for a game that tests your reactions so thoroughly.

There are also minigames which suit this handling model to a tee - stuff like car football and the equivalent of hot potato. These are dull on easier difficulties but quickly ramp in intensity on Intermediate and Expert.

And that’s the rule for the game in general though - true to its arcade roots, harder difficulties aren’t just a matter of racing against smarter (or cheatier) AI opponents, but they up the complexity of all the cities in terms of the routes you race through, while also increasing the amount of traffic on the roads. This game very well clings on to the old idea of arcade racers where less is more.

Honestly, I’m puzzled how this game ended up with a 46 on metacritic - the main criticisms from a crude overview of reviews seem to be it’s either is a minigame collection, which is plain false, or that it’s too easy and basic, with the best content requiring playing through the easy difficulties.

The last point is very well true - the designers foolishly lock everything but Beginner difficulty, even in Arcade Mode, behind Quest Mode progression. But it only took me an hour to play through Beginner in Quest Mode to unlock Intermediate and Advanced difficulties in Arcade Mode, and the game uses a medal ranking system such that even if you can handily beat the AI in beginner difficulty, you’re not guaranteed a Gold rank, let alone Platinum, unless you turn in a near-flawless experience. The progression system doesn’t drag the game down as much as it does in other games…

…which brings me to my other point: I’m disappointed that racing games of the period, like Ridge Racer 6, Pure, and Burnout Revenge, which also featured grindy and arguably more boring campaigns to play through before you get to the challenging and good races, got a free pass, while this game did not.

I regret not picking this one up sooner, really, especially as it had online multiplayer which has now been shuttered, and would have become inactive by now anyway.

Did anyone else give this one a shot?

Big fan of the arcade release and only chased down a copy of the game a few years ago (sadly missed out on the Sumo version).

I have to say I was disappointed, much like Sumo release this has an art style that doesn’t quite match the impression of the original, it’s a sanitised and realistic looking take that lacks the lively vibe of the arcade game. Whilst looking past the art changes is easy enough to do something I couldn’t quite overcome was the new camera they used in chase view. It’s now fully locked to the back without any ‘play’ or lag i.e in the original you could see the car’s side on sharp turns with the camera lagging behind, not quite being able to chase the vehicle from behind. I might return to it and play it in the first-person view but I pretty much gave up on it. I normally play racing games in first person/bonnet/cockpit cam anyway but this is one of the games where the cars are so charmingly animated, from joyful bouncy suspension to wheels lifting off when turning extremely, that I couldn’t adjust to the change.

I didn’t delve into the quest mode but it sounds fun and it’s cool they added more mini-games, bomb-tag in the original is fantastic.

Interesting to hear how Supermini Festa contrasts with the original release! I really want to check out the arcade release for GTI Club 1996 now.

Looking at gameplay from the original arcade release for 2008’s Supermini Festa today and it looks even more realistic and charmless with a drab colour palette: https://youtu.be/PO3sak1-fO4?t=124 Do you think it shares code/engine code with the Sumo release that came out in the same time period?

I don’t mind the camera so much but I think they must have locked it in to assist with shortcut turns which is a shame since a laggy camera would potentially make the game even more challenging when navigating narrow paths and such. I’m very much the same re: First person camera - it seems like a waste to switch to it and miss seeing the car and its suspension bounce around. The HUD does bounce if it’s any compensation, though they could have done more (I’ve always loved how R4 would lift the camera up when you accelerate to make it feel like you’re accelerating).

I can see what @Vespa means about both the vibe and the camera.

Camera: I also usually play dash cam but for this game made an exception and I managed to get on with it. I don’t love it but it’s fine. I forget which of the cameras I use, I’ll check when I can. For my sins I play on Wii with motion controls (Mario Kart Wheel).

Palette: the desaturated palette is a conscious decision on part of the designers. The arcade being higher resolution gets away with it a bit more - you can see that the streets are supposed to be grimy and all the traffic are (mostly) shades of grey. This helps you spot the colourful things like road signs and competitor cars. I remember the original being all blue skies and vivid colours, but watching back footage just now I’m suprised that it actually wasn’t.

The Sumo version is much more blue skies, saturated colours and HDR. I have it (but no PS3/4). I even managed to unlock the Alsatian!


Wii: whilst researching this game before buying (having forgotten that I bought it at launch!) and after playing I found fans of the original arcade game (1996) who had little knowledge of the later arcade games (2000, 2008) and simply refused to play this because it was on Wii (hey it’s on PSP too… dustball).

Online: good news! you can still play this online using the NFC replacement services like Wiimmfi and zwei.moe. Let’s get some games organised!

Grind: initially I went for All Golds and that kind of burnt me out on the game. I’d like to say lesson learned… but I never do learn that lesson. After a break I went back to it and played to proceed, which was a lot more fun. The limited courses and challenge types are just enough, they’re on the line of repetitive for me. So I can appreciate claims of grind or repetition or the game not being big enough.

Anyway, I’m a big fan of this game and I’ll jump back in for online and to try to finish Advanced difficulty.

It’s not your typical blue skies arcade racer but it does have a vibrant, arcade sensibility about it, the tables and tires you can knock off, the bright cars, lush green vegetation and blue sea help contrast against the varied architecture (I love that you can take a shortcut through a petrol pump!) but remains distinctly European (Rage Racer is another great game that does this).

This video is awfully dark and low-res but you can see the game has a nice colour palette:

As for a good racing camera, I feel like it’s essential that it communicates that the car has moved in 3D space and we are no longer choosing to go straight (this helps with entering corners too) and the acuteness of the angle of the turn to the player (the camera fully chasing when passing a turn threshold).


Here you can see in the new version on the left where it appears the world rotates around the car, the weight shifting on the car helps with signalling you’re turning but you’re missing the silhouette change, from the back of the car visible to the back and side. There’s a sense of moving on ice with lateral movement when close to straightening up the car because the camera is fully locked to the same orientation as the car. With the arcade original, it’s letting you know you’ve not straightened up with allowing the car to pivot and introducing some lag to the camera. Because of this lag small adjustments and gentle corners appear to be less twitchy, you can orientate around the world better.


Sega Rally has one of my favourite chase cams, even though I favor bumper/hood 99% of the time I can switch to chase no problem. I did some shoddy tracking but with this, you can see how the lag lets the car communicate how much the player has turned the car and then only matches the rotation when the car reduces its skidding to the outside of the track and finds more traction to turn.


I’m not a fan of Ridge Racer’s chase cam but even here with a more rigid follow-cam they understand that having the right camera setup helps with giving visual feedback to the player.

There is a minor downside and that is exiting a corner is partially hindered (hood/boot cam will always be superior here) with not locking the camera 100% to the vehicle a trade-off that is acceptable imo. Much like the art of a good 2D platformer camera, a good chase camera has more than one role to perform.

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Great explanation, thank you. Seeing the 1996 arcade cam right next to the 2008 game’s makes the new camera seem like blasphemy - I can only suppose the increased traffic count and increased complexity of routes and shortcuts (such as this one! https://youtu.be/_fXitz1QBT8) is why they went for this fixed camera without a delay behind the car’s movement, since it’s more stable for minute adjustments (I guess similar to tank or over-the-shoulder third person controls) but takes away from the satisfaction of manoeuvring your car around corners.

It’s funny you bring up Ridge Racer because the later games - particularly Racers 1 and 2 and 6 - had this zoomed in camera with even less wiggle room than V, and I remember not liking it at first, maybe that’s why I never felt GTI Club 2008’s camera is out of place.

Going back to colour palette, I think it’s only true in the more metropolitan courses. France and Italy still look pretty vibrant to me - maybe not as much as say, OutRun 2 but it’s there. Perhaps it’s my TV though.

Interesting - do you get any good rewards for all golds other than car parts? I like the crowns.

No idea! :crazy_face:

No chance for me either - game doesn’t dish out those gold or platinum(!) medals easily.

Weirdly enough while I’ve really struggled to clear any event in Advanced Quest Mode Arcade mode hasn’t put up the same fight on Advanced difficulty. Odd

Ebay UK, was it?

Welcome to the forums!

Regarding your question - did I buy your rare UK/Spain region copy of the game??? What a coincidence!

I’m guessing so! Good thread though, and a well under-rated game. I seem to remember in late 90’s/early 00’s that a home port was something quite sought after, then a couple come along and nobody seemed interested?

Thank you. Yeah, it may well be most underrated racing game of the decade! Konami’s contributions to the genre are generally underappreciated or unrecognised - both GTI Club and Thrill Drive are as influential as the likes of Sega Rally, Ridge Racer and Daytona USA which get brought up all the time.

I agree, Burnout owes a debt to Thrill Drive and nobody talks about it. GTi Club is fondly remembered amongst regular arcade goers but I wonder if how widely distributed it was in general arcade locations is perhaps in part responsible for it being a little on the obscure side. There really was a lot of stiff competition when it comes to racing games with some of the all time greats having a very long life. You’d always see a Daytona (Daytona 1 especially seemed evergreen) or a Sega Rally cab at most establishments.

The twelve year or so gap for getting a port/re-imagining that doesn’t quite have the visual appeal to compete against racing games that came out many years earlier (like Outrun 2) probably didn’t help either. I would love to see it get revived but not sure I have faith in the current Konami to do it justice or that it would be able to break the grip that Forza Horizon has on the mainstream.

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I remember downloading (and playing) a demo of this game on the PS3. Such a bummer that it’s gone now with no physical version available (on PS3).

The PS3 one is a different game in the same series.

Just found some pretty comprehensive gameplay of the arcade version here: https://youtu.be/TTaGMckrdwg

I’m close to getting all medals on Advanced difficulty in Quest Mode. The minigames really come into their own, frantic stuff with relentless AI contestants.

I was thinking about making a thread about this (especially as while Burnout took on its own character with Takedown, Paradise saw it borrow from Konami once again with GTI Club being a precursor to open driving game design) but I never got round to it. I was only really going to ask if Criterion were ever open about their influence, I suppose no one in the early 2000s (including myself) would have noticed anyway considering how obscure its source material would have been outside of Japan!

I’m a bit disappointed to see Konami not get the respect they deserve for a lot of their back catalogue. While I understand why folk are upset with the whole Kojima situation and their focus on allocating their development resources to their most profitable use, there’s more to Konami than Metal Gear, as video game history will show anyone. I seem to remember Guitar Hero also brought a Konami arcade game to the home, another interesting piece of history that isn’t brought up or analysed as much as it should be.

I thought Advanced was the end given how Arcade Mode (and the arcade game) top out at it but to my surprise Quest mode has Expert difficulty!

There’s even more variations of events - particularly the minigames - but the traffic escape battles are interesting: laps 1-3 work like Intermediate difficulty with different fixed routes per lap, and then on lap 4 you can take any route you want.

Expert is gonna be tough! I’ve unlocked it but not sure when I’ll be diving in with renewed vigour.

I’m also looking for shortcuts.

The Japanese website says there are 15 routes. Is that 3 per location? Of course you can switch routes at specific points so the challenge becomes finding the shortest lap using all routes.

For some locations it’s obvious, but in Italy I’m only getting bronze on advanced. Need to sort that out.

https://web.archive.org/web/20160404085607/http://www.konami.jp/products/gticlub_wii/info.html

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