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....