This may be hard to believe, what with the constant stream of amazing content, but everyone at MEF has a job outside of writing up game reviews and bringing you the latest in tech news.
I for one found my hours significantly cut back due to recent global events, on top of that our childcare closed so a lot of my free time is now spent singing nursery rhymes and pretending I’m various farm animals in an attempt to keep my 1-year-old son happy though out the day. That being said with the recent lockdown I have managed to find a bit of spare time to get in some gaming and have found myself drawn to the original Microsoft Xbox (mine happens to be a transparent green Halo edition).
I originally booted it up just to see if it still worked after all this time and low and behold after hitting the power button, there shone the green crackling Xbox logo with the startup sound many of us are very familiar with.
My initial instinct was to reach for Halo: Combat Evolved, my excitement was dashed when I opened the game box only to find my copy of Halo was missing, no doubt still in a friends console somewhere after an epic evening of multiplayer LAN.
All was not lost though, with my nostalgia itch still not scratched I reached for Forza Motorsport. The game booted…
Curious to see how far I had progressed in the game I immediately jumped into the career section and loaded up my old profile ‘Ass’, never not funny, 97%, so close to complete I just had to get a race or two in and see if I could squeeze out the extra 3% to finally complete the game after a 13-year hiatus.
The first race in and I am immediately impressed with how the driving feels, I remember back in the day thinking Forza was the first racing game where I felt I was driving a car around a track rather than guiding the track around a car like the majority of the other racing games circa 2008. Car and track were two completely separate entities and you had to work to keep the two together. The physics engine holds up, as do the graphics. Car damage is still better than we see in some games today, brushing up against a wall leaves paint and tyre marks, crashing different parts of your car directly impacts, steering, aero, top speed, or your gearbox, you can even damage your engine from revving too hard on the start line waiting for the light to change green.
I’m hooked; A few hours in and I’m making progress and winning races. Not only that but I’m adjusting aero and tyre pressures, looking at final drive ratios all in an attempt to squeeze out every ounce of speed from my cars to decimate my rivals.
But all good things must come to an end, my only complaint, and it’s a big one, would be the AI. Getting rear-ended at a hairpin or PIT maneuvered mid-corner was their go-to tactics and often left you with little chance to recover forcing you to restart the race or limp to the finish line in last place. This was especially true in the latter part of the career when race speeds are typically in excess of 200kph (125mph).
A couple more hours in and I started to feel the road rage many seasoned Forza players are familiar with, after being shunted, spun and wreck by over-eager AI time and time again I decided to look for help and found it in the form of an old Drivatar I had created, ‘Asstar’.
After sinking a few hours into retraining Asstar, I was able to snag another couple victories before he to was overwhelmed by the aggressive AI, so here I am stuck at 98.6% career completion, batteling, trying to justify to myself if it’s worth sinking another 4 or so hours into a game I had long abandoned…
So what’s the point of this article? No idea.
Certainly not to tell you that all retro games are good, I also spent a few hours recently running up a Windows 98 virtual machine to play some old DOS games, and let me tell you… That was not worth it, hard to get music working for most games and I’m yet to get DOSbox or a retro Windows install to behave how I would like when running these games.
Maybe the point is to encourage you to take a look through your old console collection while we all have a bit of time in isolation, find a couple of games that really stood out to you and revisit them, you might just find a few good memories buried in a closet somewhere.