So it was about 3 months after I was married. We were in the car with my new in laws, mom, dad and younger brother, traveling somewhere for Thanksgiving. Making our way along the MA Turnpike, most of us partly asleep, when out of no where this red streak passes us on the left like we were standing still, not something hard to do to a mini-van I've since discovered. Well other than thinking that the driver was an idiot, and that the cops are never around when you need them, I didn't give the speeder a second thought. Nor did my husband, apparently, because all he noticed was the car. In a breathless, awestruck voice that I've thankfully never heard him use about a woman, he gasps out to his brother “Oh man, did you get a look at that CAR”. To get an idea of the tone of his voice, play that typical “Ahhhh” sound of angels in your mind now. Well not only did my brother-in-law wake up from his half tranced state and say he hadn't, my father-in-law changed lanes and began driving the aforementioned mini-van in a manner in which I'm sure it was not designed to be driven. All so that he too could get a good look at “that CAR” “Ahhhhh”. (Obviously I don't quite “get it” yet because I can't tell you what sort of car it was. All I remember of it was that it was from 1969, the same model year as my first car. Oh, and that a Toyota Corolla even from 1969 pales in comparison to the impressive factor of whatever model car it was.)
The game comes with your pretty standard Story Mode, Arcade Mode and Vs. Mode (2 player only). In Story Mode you're playing through the basic parts of the movie's storyline. It has been fun to play this just for being able to relive the movie while we wait for the DVD to come out. My kids have just about finished the whole Story Mode, but that hasn't stopped them from going back and playing some chapters over and over again. As you play through Story Mode, you'll unlock other content, including characters that aren't available the first time though. And, of course, the more lightning bolts you collect and races you win, the higher your score. What I like about this particular game over some other “racing games” is that this one rewards the players for safe driving. While you want to go fast, and need to in order to win, the “cleaner” your race is, the higher your score at the end.
In Arcade Mode you can chose to play the mini-games that you have unlocked from Story Mode like Tractor Tipping in Frank's Field, or play Sheriff and chase down speeders. These are shorter games that let you pick up and play when you only have a bit of time and don't want to play through a whole chapter. I love listening to my youngest (age 5) giggle and laugh while playing Tractor Tipping in particular. It just somehow never gets old to hear him “mooo” like a tractor. Doc's Lesson and Mater's Backward Lesson are also a whole lot of fun. Really, all the ones I've tried so far are fun.
Now don't misunderstand me, this isn't your hard-core gamer's Need for Speed made for kids. Not only are the characters friendly, and the jokes amusing, the races are pretty easy to win. Really you only have to hold down the “A” button for gas, and steer with the control stick or control pad. You can use the B button to brake and try to get a bit fancy during the races, but you really don't have to. And there are fancy moves to let you burnout, but again, you don't have to in order to win most races. The game is well designed for the audience it appeals to, in other words. Young gamers who can sit down with mommy and say “I win, I win, I win” and do a cute little dance.
The older kids in the house play the game in order to try to collect all the trophies they can, and find all the bolts around the game map, which provides them a nice challenge. They liked the story of the movie, and so are having fun being able to play the big moments of it. But mostly they've played just to “beat it”. If you want a game that you can play with your kids, or one that can keep them entertained without you... If you want to hear those words “Look at that CAR!” “Ahhhh” as they unlock cool new cars... Then you have to have this game. It is just as simple as that.
The “glory days” of computer gaming for me were when games like Spectre Supreme, Pirate’s Gold, the Might and Magic series, the original Prince of Persia… those sorts of games were coming out on a regular basis. Back then I owned a Macintosh and was a die hard Mac fan. I was one of the first in my area to buy an iMac and on it learned the joy of playing games on the internet like daily crossword puzzle and “mind bender” type puzzles. My first online RPG was given to me for Christmas the year EQ was released, and I was hooked from day one. I played EQ for about a year. I started playing DaoC during late alpha testing, and was hooked on it.. well, to be honest I still am. I’ve tried pretty much every MMORPG I can get my hands on, from big names like EQ, to more obscure ones such as Underlight. I’ve been writing for IMGS since the first DaoC guide, and find I love the challenge of learning a game and presenting what I’ve learned (and sometimes my opinions), to other players.
I’m not a very strong player as far as learning PvE or quick reaction times, so I tend to stay away from games where I’m pitted against someone else in a way that requires physical (rather than mental) response. I still enjoy story and puzzle games, and in a way that’s how I still approach online games. I would much rather spend hours working through a quest than 5 minutes in combat against another player. I still get lost in simulation type games, obsessing over them until I’ve gotten them beaten. And I like being able to sit down at the computer when I’ve got less than half an hour and playing through a few levels of a puzzle game. I tend not to like first-person shooter type games, or anything with person to person violence, so I steer away from them unless they are fantasy based settings. All in all, I enjoy computer gaming so much that my life feels incomplete somehow when my computer is down.