The marble-race like "coaster" games are among the earliest (if not the earliest) of Nintendo's toys from this period. Their exact release date is unknown, but they are believed to be from around 1965.
In total five different versions of "coasters" exist. Well, actually there are seven, if you also count the one in the Mini Game Series and the N&B Block version. Below we will take a close-up look at one of these, called Rabbit Coaster (ラビットコースターゲーム).
|Nintendo Rabbit Coaster|
The game came in a nice box, which measures around 30 by 40 centimeters. It cost ¥800.
The front of the box shows the game in a fantasy environment, which resembles some kind of a race track.
The box features the name of the game in both Japanese and English. An early version of the Nintendo logo can be seen on the side of the box.
The game has to be put together before it can be played. Assembly instructions are given on the inside of the lid.
Included with the parts is a small bag with two sheep and some fences, which will be used to decorate the bottom "meadow" section of the race track.
Also included, some glue to put the various parts together, a small piece of metal to be used as screwdriver, and a little bag with the "beans" which we will use for the race.
The plastic beans contain a lead ball, which will make the bean flip over and over as it comes down the track. The wobbly effect this creates is part of the fun of this game. It also make the beans run slower down the track than marbles would, prolonging the race and adding to the suspense.
Once assembled, the race track consists of 4 layers on top of each other. During the race the beans will work their way down to the finish line at the bottom right.
To prepare for the start of the race, the beans are placed in a holder which forms the starting line. To start, one of the two levers attached to this holder is pressed, releasing the beans.
The beans now start tumbling down the sloped track.
Each track piece contains holes at the end, allowing the beans to drop one level down.
After traversing down three track pieces, the beans arrive at the bottom; the final stretch.
After a mad dash they arrive at the finish line.
Pink the clear winner. Please note the Nintendo logo on the finish line piece.
Because of the way the beans tumble and wobble, the race is quite unpredictable, which make it genuinely exciting.
Let's race one more time!
The other Coaster games are Rabbit Coaster Game (different version), New Coaster Game, Ultra Coaster Game and Captain Ultra Coaster and N&B Block Coaster.