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Colin Marshall

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34. Cory Arcangel's F2/F1 Racer Mod/Japanese Driving Game (2005)
[View Film]

Procedurally, this is a close cousin to Clouds, the older game modification where Arcangel hacked everything but the clouds out of Super Mario Bros. Now all we've got left from this driving game is the scenery and the scrolling road. Getting what I've come to think of as the Standard Cory Arcangel Ubuwebified Work Disclaimer, this (probably) really isn't meant to be viewed as a clip but as a continuously running cartridge in a gin-u-wine NES console. Or in this specific case, I suppose, a Famicom console, which is the NES' Japanese equivalent. Or an NES with some sort of converter, though I remember from my heavy NES-collecting days that those were tricky to come by. (But you know what? Given the ingenuity I've seen from Arcangel thus far, I wouldn't be surprised if he somehow just willed one into existence.)

I may well be of the last sub-generation to get nostalgic for driving games like the one Arcangel has here stripped of its cars. These were the games from before moving cameras, before infinite draw distances, before real-time 3D rendering. It was all scaled sprites and alternating strips of color to make sure you knew the road was supposed to be passing. This particular game just uses a stream of center lines to evoke that, but the result is basically the same. (This stuff is close to my heart; OutRun was my first-ever computer game, and boy, did I play the hell out of it, never well.) And now that I think about it, I'm not sure "nostalgia" is the right term; do I simply long for the days of these prepolygonal racers, or do I genuinely prefer the games themselves? I can't speak for the 25-year-olds buying Bob-omb shirts from Urban Outfitters, but I think my enthusiasm comes from a place of honest, "objective" enjoyment. I liked games made before 1995-ish even in 1996, and I like them now.

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