Star Wars Episode I: Racer (opens in new tab) was probably the best thing to come out of The Phantom Menace, but at 20 years old, it could probably do with a fresh coat of paint. Thankfully, modder RobJin has come to the rescue of podracing fanatics everywhere, creating a demo version in Unreal Engine 4. There's a spiffy trailer that you can watch above.
The modder started the project to get the hang of the engine, but 10 months later it's become something a bit grander. They warn that there are optimisation and animation issues, but that it's still playable. Podracers can control Anakin and his swift junker on the Mos Espa map on Tatooine. Check out their Art Station page here (opens in new tab).
YouTuber Bluedrake42 also posted a quick look at the fan demo, and you can watch it in action below.
If you prefer your podracing without YouTuber commentary, you can also download the demo for yourself (opens in new tab).
Lots of Star Wars mods and fan projects end up having a long life, but since this is directly based on a game and not just referencing the Star Wars universe, Disney may end up hitting it with a cease and desist. Better grab it soon, then.
Despite the new movies, there's been a serious dearth of Star Wars games from the current licence holder, EA. At this point, I think people would just be happy with some solid remasters. There's all this nostalgia just waiting to be weaponised, but it's going entirely untouched.
While Episode I: Racer appeared on PC and consoles, it's the arcade version that has stuck with me the most. Sure, being able to play it at home was convenient, but nothing captured the spectacle of podracing in the movie like the massive cabinet, which came complete with a chair designed like an actual podracer. I spent an entire holiday with my ass stuck to that thing, and I've got no regrets.