I remember the time I first tried F-Zero. It was around 1994, I think, in a toy store. It didn't take more than a few minutes to come to the conclusion that it had to be the best car racing game ever. I never bought a SNES, but for many years, F-Zero was to me the very symbol of all the things a good racing game should be. The graphics were crisp and colourful, and the feeling of speed was unlike anything I'd seen, neither before nor later.

Last week, I felt for some hard and fast video game action, so I downloaded ZSNES (a SNES emulator) and a bootleg ROM dump of the F-Zero cartridge. It wasn't as if I didn't expect the graphics to be blocky early 90s standard. After all, hardware and software had evolved a lot since way back then, as it should have. But I was hoping to find some of that 23rd century interplanetary grand prix mood. And it was still there. Kinda.

What was gone was the sheer speed. No longer was I sitting in jet-powered monster cars hovering over the asphalt at several hundred km/h. The vehicles had been transformed to RC cars, and the speedometer readings seemed to be off by a factor of ten or maybe twenty. Whereas before I had been in awe over the tremendous power of these machines as I hit the sides of the road and bounced back, I now had a distinct feeling of playing pinball.

Now, I wonder what F-Zero X is like....