Saturday, August 14, 2010

Adventures In Daytona USA (Part 1, 2000-2005)

Right now, it's thundering outside. I could come up with different things to talk about such as sports, Rock Band, miscellaneous internet articles, but I'm not gonna do that. I'm going to take a emotional 180 and talk about how I played this game and what I did after that. Get ready for long post...

Anyway, it’s 2000. By this time, my life was Nintendo 64. Oh, and occasionally Playstation. The greatest games in the world were Mario Kart 64 and Cruis’n World. Just couldn’t stop playing these. I eventually picked up stuff like Gran Turismo which managed to find their niche somewhere which is why I still like racing sims today.

At my local mall (Northshore Square Mall in Slidell, LA), there has been this niche in the place that has always been an arcade. At first, it was called “Pocket Change.“ I used to go there to play Cruis’n World and California Speed and that was about it. After the 9/11 fallout, I think during 2002, the arcade just closed up. After a short grieving period, I went about my life but then, another arcade rose from its ashes! This one was called “Namco Arcade,” ya know, with all the Pac-Man stuff. Good times were here again.

So they completely changed the lineup of games. There’s this game called Daytona USA 2: Power Edition, oh what’s that like? Let’s try it. BOOM. Outlook on life completely changed. The only reaction to this was something along the lines of “GIVE ME MORE MONEY SO I CAN PLAY THIS!”

Because I had zero advice from others on how to play, I simply played the game until I figured out what worked for me. My means of playing the game were radically different at first. I needed to know how to power slide so I became proficient with the Hornet classic first. The car could slide really well so I guess that means I started with Daytona 1, lol. Eventually, I started trying out the Scorpio and the Phantom. It was great to beat the clock in all the courses, but to come in first on the Challenge course with the Hornet, oh that was probably my greatest moment.

I always sat there with my Palm Pilot writing down my best times. This was really the only game I wanted to play. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a real car or a driver’s license at the time so I had to get rides from my dad or anybody else so I only go to play every week at minimum. I can tell my parents weren’t infatuated with visiting the mall often so they tried to deprive me when they didn’t feel like it…

In ‘02 or ‘03, I would begin doing research on other Sega games. I stumbled upon the Sega Dreamcast and realized there was a Daytona port for it so I bought one. It obviously didn’t handle the same as D2, but I played that one for quite a bit and put up some decent times. I also bought Sonic Adventure 2, Hydro Thunder, and Soul Calibur, but I didn’t play those as much--it was all about Daytona USA.

Namco Arcade were such good sports. The D2 twin arcade cabinet was nice and clean, all the buttons worked, the sound was nice and loud, and the price was cheap (50 cents). However, on the Player 1 side, the cost was 25 cents instead of 50, so what do I do? Abuse the hell out of that side, play it for what it’s worth! They eventually caught on to this and changed it to 50 cents. Also, one time, the sound went out on one side for a week. Getting a bit pissed off, I took a sticky label and wrote “Please fix the sound so I can hear,” and stuck it to the dashboard. Needless to say, I think they were a bit pissed off about the sticker (those can be hard to peel off), but the sound was fixed next time I visited!

Obviously, I would spend a lot of money in the process, but Namco Arcade once again made things much easier for me. They offered these pre-Christmas coupons that you could buy for a dollar and turn in on a later date for $5 in tokens. So I exploited the hell out of this. I had tons of Daytona 2 money, which was good, but I can’t help but think they were pissed at me for trying to do this…

Competition-wise, yeah, didn’t play a whole lot of 2-player. I did play these young black guys on Beginner who wrecked like four times (they used the Phantom so they kind of knew what they were doing) so I won that one. After that, not much 2-player outside of beating my father down. There was this sly white guy with a light brown goatee in his late ‘20s that put up a good time on the Expert course and he caught me trying to beat his time. But it didn’t matter, I beat that boy down by a couple of seconds.  He obviously never showed his face there again.

I think I only received like six or seven compliments during the whole D2 run. Just some little kids or an arcade employee who liked what I did. Hopefully I was able to entertain them a little. Better me than those DDR jerks if you know what I mean.

2004 was a rough year. That was the year that I brought my camera to the arcade and took those D2 pictures seen here. It was also the year that I saw the Marubaku videos for the first time. Needless to say, I was pretty deflated…I thought I was good considering my 3+ years experience, but no. I tried my hardest to do the best with the Phantom car but I just got really irritated. My best times were IIRC 2:15 on Beginner, 2:54 on Advanced, 3:47 on Expert, and 2:56 on Challenge. December ‘04 rolled around and my attempts to improve were in vain. I got frustrated and blew off the game. And it would also be the last time that I played it and no amount of Christmas magic could save me…

February 1, 2005, I finally convince my parents to take me back for another run of frustration when I walk in and realize the cabinet is GONE. Gone. In the D2 cabinet’s place was a freaking crane machine. A CRANE MACHINE. The pain was like snake venom--at first I couldn’t really feel it but then it sunk in bad. When I got home, I just about lost it. It was raining on a school night and I just stood out in the rain and my parents just chastised me for my emotions. A four year run, not too bad but still.

February 2, I go to school like normal. It was my Junior year BTW. I felt pretty sick about it. Eventually one thing I did out of complete desperation was type up a 10+ page essay about a new Daytona game and e-mailed it to Sega-AM2. It was so stupid--some people on the internet liked it, but AM2’s response? I could’ve elicited the same reaction out of a road kill squirrel--nothing. I mean, I had to do what I had to do--just hang in there despite the odds.

Around April ‘05 I think, Namco Arcade moved in Initial D, Fast and the Furious, and--get ready for it--Daytona USA 1 cabinets. Obviously D1 enthralled me and I got some time to play it. But I SWEAR that they must’ve kept that game there for two weeks. Such a short period of time they’d get rid of it and keep Initial D and freakin Fast and the Furious. Wow, what a way to disgrace one of your longest-standing visitors.

Anyway, August ‘05 was also the date of Hurricane Katrina which hit landfall nearby and covered my city of Slidell with mud and destroyed everything else. It was the beginning of my senior year and it was total bedlam. Not going to school and staying in other people’s houses with generators running 24/7. It actually was kind of exciting, but obviously not for others. Eventually, I got back to the mall around October I think and “Namco Arcade” just shut its doors and got outta dodge. Second arcade to leave. Even if they didn’t get rid of Daytona 1 or 2, I think that they would’ve gotten rid of it by now so I was just begging for life support and that’s about it.

All I know is that if I hadn't played these games and learned about Sega in general, I would've been a spineless loser.  No, it had nothing to do with liking Cruis'n World.  I was incredibly shy and/or awkward and would spend my days on message boards full of Nintendo and Yu-Gi-Oh fanboys just getting pissed off because no one would understand my point of view.  Like I had to live up to God and family, I also had to live up Daytona USA 2 so I feel that I've been fulfilled as well as matured by the game even though it's gone now...


Out of my Photobucket album, here's a pic I took in 2004 that I thought was stellar.  I used it in part of my website as you can see.....  I'm tearing up here.


1 comment:

  1. What do you think of daytona 2:power edition versus daytona 2: battle on the edge? PE is nice for the 3 course linked stage, outrun style, but overall, i totally prefer ForestDome/aka AstroWaterfallSpeedway to the oval in PE.