Design by James Cheung
See it in Action!
Papyrus' Grand Prix Legends is still considered to be one of the finest racing games of all time.
When Papyrus Racing Games released its final installment in the storied NASCAR Racing series in February of 2003 and was then officially shut down by publisher Vivendi Universal in May of this year, one of the most remarkable tales in all of computer gaming was seemingly brought to a disappointing and premature standstill. Rarely in this flighty, roller coaster industry has a single developer so mightily impacted its chosen genre. That Papyrus managed to survive for 17 years--an incredible stretch for a comparatively small design studio in a business increasingly dominated by heavily staffed juggernauts--was an amazing feat in itself. But mere survival wasn't the only plan in the Papyrus books. Changing the face of PC racing was its ongoing goal, and it was something the Boston-based company did very well throughout its entire run. Indeed, to say that the last decade and a half of computer driving would have suffered had Papyrus not been at the wheel is a serious understatement.
Fortunately, the standard-setting Papyrus racing concept is not as dead as some might think. In fact, as of this writing, founder and driving force David Kaemmer had just emerged from discussions with VU wherein he successfully recovered the rights to Papyrus' venerated racing simulation technology. If all goes as it should, that technology will resurface in the not- so-distant future within a different framework and under a different name. This is great news for fans of the ultra-authentic Papyrus style, and certainly worthy of the closer examination that we'll give it later in the article. In the interim, let's explore just what it was about this Massachusetts studio that propelled it from its relatively humble beginnings into arguably the most respected computer racing game designer in the world. Buckle up.