The news that Virtua Racing is coming to Switch – and that it promises to be the most complete version yet seen – has caused a wee bit o' celebration amongst Sega fans.

Yu Suzuki's seminal 3D racing classic effectively laid the foundation for the likes of Daytona USA and Sega Rally, and arguably inspired rivals such as Ridge Racer. While it wasn't alone in pioneering the use of 3D visuals in an arcade environment, its finely-tuned gameplay – not to mention its massive sit-down deluxe cabinet – ensured that it made quite an impact.

While we wait for the Switch version to arrive as part of Sega's AGES line, it's sobering to think that we could have been playing a scaled-down version of this classic on a past Nintendo handheld, had things gone a little differently (thanks, Larry Bundy Jr).

During the Game Boy Advance era, a pair of programmers at Dream On Studio – Luis Pons and Laurent Samani – took it upon themselves to create an unofficial prototype of Virtua Racing which they hoped would convince Sega to commission them to make a full-scale release.

The above video – uploaded onto YouTube some time ago by the game's project manager, Ben Yoris – is very impressive stuff when you consider the humble nature of the host hardware. It's better looking than both the Mega Drive and 32X versions, and gives the Sega Saturn port a run for its money.

Sadly, the pitch came at the wrong time; Nintendo was just about to release the Nintendo DS, and Sega passed on the chance to commission the port – presumably because it was about to focus its energies on DS software.

Still, it's interesting to think that we could have been racing around polygon tracks in an oddly-angular F1 car – in handheld form – all those years ago.

[source, via]