The Deadspin Sports Quarantine Nintendo Club, so far, has covered hockey, football, baseball, basketball, golf, skiing, soccer, volleyball, and tennis. But this week was a reminder of another sport that I had not yet revisited in 8-bit form.
For one thing, I watched live NASCAR action last weekend, with my kids taking a particular rooting interest in Kyle Busch — okay, a particular rooting interest in the M&M’s car. Then NASCAR went ahead and banned the Confederate flag from its races, and a big loser decided to quit the NASCAR truck series because of it.
My favorite racing game of all-time is a Nintendo game, but it’s not an NES game. That would be MarioKart 64, which is among several reasons my GPA in college wasn’t higher. For the original Nintendo, the game I had as a kid, but never really fell in love with, was R.C. Pro-Am.
It’s not that it’s a bad game… it just doesn’t do it for me, and it does have some flaws. Chief among these is steering on some of the parts of the course where your truck is moving down the screen, so needing the truck to make a right turn means that the truck needs to go left on the screen.
Maybe it’s just that my brain reads such a situation as “press the left button.”
The result of that is that the truck turns left, which is right on the screen… which is bad.
Another flaw is that aside from track shape and number of laps, there’s nothing to differentiate one level from the next.
…looks just like Level 3…
…which looks just like Level 4…
…and so on.
It’s not like I was expecting Wario Stadium when I was a kid. Wario didn’t even exist then. But even for the 1980s, this was pretty dull. Spy Hunter predates R.C. Pro-Am by four years, and it had different terrains.
But perhaps the biggest problem with R.C. Pro-Am is what happens when you lose, which happens when you finish outside the top 3 in the four-car race. In that case, there’s a “PUSH START TO CONTINUE” screen, to really bring home that arcade game experience, or something like that.
If you lose a second straight time, that’s the end of the game, and you’ve got to start all the way over. In this case, I had only made it to Level 6, and hadn’t spelled NINTENDO with the tiles along the tracks, so I never got an upgrade over the little pickup trucks to the cooler cars in the game. That’s pretty true to my experience from childhood, too. I did occasionally get deeper into the game, but more often than not, I’d get kind of bored and switch over to Tecmo Bowl or another better game.
Why did I lose on Level 6? Because I got too excited about hitting one of the opponent trucks with a missile and totally forgot about steering.
Oh, yeah, there are missiles in this game. Bombs, too. But give me green turtle shells and red turtle shells any day.
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