Faceball 2000

You’re a giant face-man who, having gone rogue, wants to kill other giant face-men in giant face-man war arenas.

But you’re not, actually.

Excelent refresh rate! Readable text!
Excelent refresh rate! Readable text!

No, you’re a kid at a computer. A computer with two floppy drives so you can run the really demanding games.

In fact, the computer is so good that it gives you a heads-up display of how much armour, speed, and shots you have. Oh, actually those things don’t do anything. Apparently they’re just there for decoration.

The computer also has buttons for…

Stop
Stop
Display coat of arms
Display coat of arms

and

Surprise a lover
Surprise a lover

I can’t figure out how to press them, but the key probably lies in the 18 unmarked buttons below.

The story is set in the distant future of the year 2000 when the HappyFace trend will have caught on so hard that people will build giant fences to keep the faces in. To keep them away from the cities. It’s dystopian, you see.

The faces will become dissatisfied with the situation. They will attempt an outbreak.

You’re the last defence against the rising tide, a child at a computer. A computer with two floppy drives. Oh yeah, baby.

This game is a stagnant pile of waste. Do not play it under any circumstance.

If you’re running Windows 95 and you like the screensaver with the maze and the rat, you probably won’t like this game.

A final anecdote: The third level, Vancouver, is really dumb. The spot you have to get to is fenced in. The only way to unlock it is to go to the other side of the map and come back.

Genius.

F1 ROC 2

It was a hot night. He sat at his desk trying to think, the floor shaking to the bass-line in the dance club below.

Who was the ROC? What did they want?

It had been a week since the phone calls started. Every day at five o-clock – whispering. Madness.

He had to get out of here. He tucked his keys into his coat pocket and closed the door behind him.

His car sounded like vibrator stuck in someone’s teeth. I’d better go see that Hispanic mechanic, he thought. He’s the sort of person I trust touching my engine.

You're such a tease, Hispanic mechanic!
You're such a tease, Hispanic mechanic!

But the Hispanic mechanic was trying his hand at research and development. He didn’t want to fix the car, he wanted funding so that he could fix the car later.

“Fuck that,” he swore. And he left.

It was getting dark.

It was only a few miles to Moon City. His white Stratistastic grumbled like a whiny bitch as he pushed his foot to the floor.

POO! LOO!
POO! LOO!

A few metres into the Moon City and people were already making bum jokes. Bum jokes, he thought, are the refuge of the sad and alone.

Suddenly, headlamps appeared in his rear-view mirror. He moved his hand to his holster.

As the car pulled up alongside his, a young blond-haired man poked his head out of the window.

“Beware the pit!” the yellow god shouted, and he spun the wheel hard.

“What a douche.”

The cars collided with the sound of a machine gun going off inside a bouncy castle.

He was out of control. He couldn’t turn out of the skid, and he was sure he was going to die.

But the red circles on the side of the road just bounced him back to the centre of the road. He didn’t even lose any speed, and there was no damage to his car.

I’ll crash some more, then, he thought, compelled.

Boing! Boing! Boing! He was having some seriously pointless fun.

Soon he came to a sign that said “Pit-Stop.” Well, that was just fine with him. He needed an engine jobby, anyhoo.

He drove his car down the narrow pit-lane, looking for signs of life, but none appeared.

“I’m out of luck,” he muttered, cursing his fortune.

A wave of blackness came. It wiped the world from his eyes.

“The Race of Champions,” cried voices all around him.

Ghostly fingers and slow hands moved over his face. “We are the Race of Champions.”

The stench of death hung thick in the air.
The stench of death hung thick in the air.

They were all around him. Swarming. A phantom pit-crew with phantom tools, pouring non-existent gasoline into a full tank, tightening screws that weren’t loose.

It was over as fast as it had begun. The specters raised their arms in salute as he pulled away.

A rush of cars sped in front of him. The Nordic god pulled alongside. “Yo, Gumby, what did I tell you about the pit? Now you’re almost a lap behind!”

His car still sounded like a toddler’s treadmill.

Curse the Race of Champions!

Poo!

Battle Cars

If Bill gets there first it's the slave pits for me for sure!
If Bill gets there first it's the slave pits for me for sure!

So I’ve been playing a lot of Street Fighter 4. A lot. Like 250 matches in 4 days alot. It’s not right. While I was slogging through the arcade mode I was wondering why there was even a plot anymore. I thought that I basically might be happy with being given a selection of weirdly dressed international stereotypes and have them fight. Maybe they don’t even need names. Stretchy swami guy vs. punch drunk boxer guy. That might be enough.

But there’s still a plot, and still cut scenes and they’re a little irritating because I don’t really care. I just want to fight weird stereotypes against other weird stereotypes.

But Battle Cars, my friends, Battle Cars. Battle Cars reminds me what it’s like to be dumped into a game without being told anything. If I had been a SNES owner when this game came out and had chanced to rent it, I probably would have at least recieved a hastily photocopied manual explaining what exactly I was to do with my car. You begin the game. There is a title screen, you choose to play single player and you are driving. It is Mode-7 with kind of an F-Zero feel. You start driving, there are other cars. You have some missiles and things that you can shoot at them if you feel so inclined.

30 SECONDS LEFT flashes on your screen. You keep driving, wondering where you’re going or whether you’re supposed to shoot that guy, wondering who in the future decided to name a city Newtroit.

10 SECONDS LEFT flashes on the screen. You try to pour on the speed even though you can’t because you’re already holding down the A button and there’s no button for go faster so you stay the course.

A race starts right after that, you go around the track. There’s nothing that tells you what place you’re in, or indeed what you’re supposed to do. You just drive circles around this track for awhile and maybe shoot at guys and then it tells you you won. Then you go back to another road trip. I did this three times before it told me I lost. I’m not really too sure what’s going on with this.

Battle Cars feels less like a game and more like a morning commute in the future. Like you get in your car and your wife (except they don’t use that word anymore, they use a word that means the same thing but has more Zs in it) yells a string of well-meaning expletives after you. You check your air filter that’s made by one company because in the  future one company makes everything because the free market and human hubris leads to political oppression and commercial monopoly. Your air filter is still good so it’s time for you to head to the MegaCorp Omniplex in downtown Newtroit and you have to get there before your workmate Bill who has an eyepatch and wears that Mad Max biker gear even though everyone is doing the silver jumpsuit now. If he gets there first he’s gonna tell your boss that the notes on the Xulutsemon account aren’t done yet and you’ll get thrown in the slave pits for sure.

Review Over!!
Review Over!!

You have some missiles.

It’s go time.