Outrun

It was on a family holiday that videogames first got their hooks into me. Sure, they were around before that, and I was vaguely aware of them, even ‘dabbling’ on occasion, such as when I played the table-top classic, Astro Wars, for practically the whole weekend I stayed over at my cousin’s house, for example, or when I played Frostbite on a school friend’s Atari VCS after school now and then. At that point though, they were never anything more than a passing distraction.

Torbay - The English Riviera

The aforementioned trip was my first vacation and would see us visit the land of my forebears. Namely, the Torbay area of Devon, and we would stay in a rented cottage. I was around 11 or 12 at the time and was very excited about my first trip away, it sounded fantastic, even if it would be occurring in the school summer holidays, thereby failing to ensure that I’d miss any schooltime! For those who don’t know, Torbay is a beautiful area of the Devonshire coast known as “the English Riviera”. It enjoys a mild climate and is home to a sizable marina, some top beaches, three lovely resort towns – Torquay, Paignton, and Brixham, which collectively feature many sights and attractions of magnificent splendour. I, however, ultimately saw very little of all this after I first wandered past an amusement arcade.

OutRun Deluxe arcade machineUp until this point I’d had little interest in arcades. Sure, I’d seen most of the big-name machines like Centipede, Asteroids and the like dotted around here and there and I had a bash on occasion like when my dad would give me a few 10p coins to use on the Space Invaders machine at my youth club, but videogames were still a niche subculture at this time – some games had intrigued me but none had ever truly captured my imagination. Until, that is, I happened upon one of the several arcades in Torquay and something caught my eye. I saw a machine, big, bright red, gleaming like a….. Ferrari! Now cars were an interest of mine at that time. This magnificent-looking machine grabbed me by the ears and pulled me in.

I arrived beside the dauntingly large machine. I felt a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Amazing images greeted my young eyes. It was fast and colourful. The sounds came booming out of the speakers. There was actual music… The arcade games I’d seen before were pretty impressive, but I’d never seen anything like this – it was amazing! After moaning at my parents for what seemed like an eternity, they yielded and bestowed upon me a shiny fifty pence coin. I finally lowered myself into the large seat armed with the coin and immediately felt more important. I deployed it and selected the music – Magical Sound Shower of course – and began the game. The excitement as I floored the accelerator and zoomed away from the start line was immense.

OutRun game Start screen

I soon reached the first corner of the exquisite Coconut Beach Boulevard, started to turn the wheel and – oh my God! – the whole seat moved! I managed to get as far as the uphill chicane before succumbing to the ever-precarious tree-lined roadside. Upon hitting them for the first time, the whole machine shook around! To say that this was unexpected would be to put it mildly – this was quite incredible! Unfortunately this revelatory experience didn’t last much longer as my time expired, but it was to become an important experience for me. Suffice to say, and the rest of this holiday was predominantly spent in the various arcades of Torquay, and most of that time, sat in an OutRun machine’s seat.

It’s hard to explain how much Outrun means to me. It was the first videogame I ever really played properly – the beginning of what was to become a passionate, not to mention expensive hobby, which has been vigorously pursued ever since. It’s a real possibility that had this encounter not taken place, I may not even be a casual gamer now, let alone the hardcore gaming nerd that I became and remain. The holiday had to end though, and upon returning to Hampshire, the source of my obsession was nowhere to be found. This situation was soon rectified, however. After a hard fought campaign, my parents finally bought me a Sega Master System, on which I had discovered I could play Outrun. I had to pay them back of course, so three years of paper rounds ensued, all proceeds going to this cause. It didn’t matter though – I had Outrun!

OutRun Marquee

Free Stuff – PopCap Games

PopCap Games logo
PopCap Games logo

Free Stuff – PopCap Games

If you love puzzle games and specifically free ones then visit the website of PopCap Games and have fun! Some of my favorites are Plants vs Zombies, Zuma, Big Money, Chuzzle, and Bejeweled. These games might seem simple but they are the kind of games that improve your logic skills.

The website for Popcap Games is the following: http://www.popcap.com/

Why I can’t stand the Wii

Wii Sucks
Wii Sucks

I completely expect to catch flack for this, but I am tired of being silent. I can’t stand the Wii console from Nintendo. I understand it has some good games like the new Mario, but the hype over the system and the fact that it’s not much more than a glorified accessory machine doesn’t help. We all know it has sold. I was not one who bought one, but I have played it. Now here is my reasoning.

The IMAC for a new generation

Remember the Apple iMac? Everyone had one, it was shown on almost every sitcom, but nobody ever used it. The Wii is the new IMAC, everyone got it because it was new and shiny, but in the end it sits unused like your treadmill.

When it was first released everyone talked about how fun it was. Funny thing is every time someone wanted to play it they were intoxicated on something. I guess the reason is nobody could have that much fun swinging wildly into the air unless you are drunk.

Now most of the people I know who have one have it sitting under a pile of accessories unused. We now play Rock Band when drunk.

Old people like it

You ever heard the saying that something is no longer cool once your parents like it? Now I don’t want to get in trouble with the AARP, but did you know there is a Wii bowling league for senior citizens?

Old Woman Wii
Old Woman Wii

Yes, that ultra hip piece of technology is the favorite plaything for the baby boomers. It narrowly beat out checkers and shuffle board. Wii Tennis has beat out not only Wolf Blitzer from CNN for things to watch after 5pm, but even Matlock gets TIVO’ed so grandpa Joe can get in a game of Tiger Woods-free Wii golf.

I have this thing called an Emulator

You know what is the number one response when I insult the Wii? “We’ll you can play old games like Excite Bike” Oh really? Well, it’s not like I ever had a chance to play that since ’85. I guess people never heard of something called M.A.M.E. or ZNES. Perhaps I am not supposed to speak about those to the public, kind of like Fight Club.

Even the so called new games like the sports pack are nothing more than glorified Yahoo games with an add-on so you can chuck hard plastic at your television.

Thanks to Dumpbase.net for the video

Hey Wii, the Game Cube called it, wants its graphics back!

Worst yet it reminds me of the console wars back in the Sega, Nintendo days except this time it’s PS3 and XBOX 360 fighting it out and the Wii getting the scraps. My question is how many Mario games can you look forward too? I love Mario, but damn. Speaking of Mario, is it just me or is it an abomination to see Sonic and Mario together in a game? I liked the back and forth of which was the better franchise. It’s like Coke and Pepsi coming out with a drink together. Well Coke tried that with New Coke and you remember what happened there.

Wii
Wii

My opinion doesn’t count

Nintendo could care less with the cash it is raking in and in the age of the ipod we know people like overpriced pretty colored devices so the Wii fits in perfectly. Between the Everybody Votes channel and the Mii’s Nintendo has the winning combination for our American Idol’d world. All Nintendo has to do now is add Farmville to the Wii and the final sign of the apocalypse will be upon us.

Happy Gaming!