Saturday, August 14, 2010

Adventures In Daytona USA (Part 2, 2006 - 2010)

Well I figure I might as well type up the rest of this since I'm in the mood for it...

Last time, in Feb. 2005, Daytona USA 2, gone forever.  April 2005, Daytona USA 1 gone forever.  After writing my essay for AM2, I made it known several times to my classmates that I wanted to design video games for a living.  There were a few gamers--most were into Counter-Strike but not much else.  One guy asked who I wanted to work for.  I said I wanted to work for Sega.  He snapped--like why do you want to work for Sega??  Yeah, I don't know why either.

All hope seemed lost.  But actually, I did have access to a few other Daytona 2 machines, but they were all crap.  Check it out:

* Wal-Mart.  There was a single Daytona 2 cabinet right in the entrance of a newly-built store.  It was absolutely pathetic--the screen didn't look good, the sound was bad, the shifter was broken IIRC.  Plus everyone that walked through the entrance saw looked like an idiot.  All in all, it was like watching an old pet growing old and going through all sorts of pain, you just wanted to put it to rest.  Eventually, the game got hauled off, only to be replaced with a Big Buck Hunter arcade game.  Go figure.

* Six Flags: Georgia.  I went there twice, once with my family in '05 and another on Senior Trip '06.  The game was expensive and I didn't play much, but the cabinets were in decent condition.  It was the first time that I got to play the original Battle of the Edge version of Daytona 2 which was surreal to be honest.  Since then, Six Flags: Georgia has closed down.  RIP.

* The Grand Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Or is it Gulfport.  Who cares.  It was June '05 IIRC.  It had a decent sized arcade--NASCAR Arcade, Need for Speed, Cruis'n World, Initial D, DDR, all in the mix.  They had Daytona 2 and guess where they put it?  Off in the corner adjacent to the bathroom with the Dirt Devils game.  Not only that but the screen's colors were distorted--ya know, like if you stuck a magnet to your computer monitor.  Such a disgrace, you have NO IDEA how pissed off I was.  Eventually, I guess as karma would have it or whatever, the casino was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.

See that building with the red roof?  The barge slid right out onto the boulevard.  Kiss my ass, The Grand.  Beau Rivage is where it's at anyway.

* Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge.  I went there twice, again once with my family, another on Senior Trip.  There's a couple of places to visit.  One, there's this Nascar Speedpark, this little ghetto arcade with go-karts.  Six-player Daytona 2 setup but it cost $1 for a regular cabinet and $1.50 for the deluxe, so I couldn't play much because I was out of money.  There's tons of arcades littered around Pigeon Forge anyway so I found a Daytona USA 1 somewhere.  They had these kickass go-kart tracks that are roller-coaster in nature and go up three stories, that was super-fun.  Also, in Gatlinburg, there's this place called "Ober Gatlinburg," this little Swiss Alps-style mall on top of a hill.  You have to take a cable car or drive up a dangerous route to get there.  Anyway, they had this huge arcade and this Daytona 2 cabinet offered extra laps if you put in more money.  That was loads of fun.

EDITED IN A FEW DAYS LATER: Forgot to mention the part after Katrina where a third arcade opened up in the same spot in the mall called "Coin It Up."  It has Initial D, Fast and the Furious, DDR, all that good crap.  Surprisingly, they have been more stubborn with their lineup and it seems to be working cause they're getting okay business.  They decided to squeeze a lone Crazy Taxi cab in there recently which is good for me although I suck at it and it's not going to satisfy my cravings for more Daytona USA.  Also, they've had this video game character mural up for some time--it's pretty cool:

Since then, I have gone cold turkey from Daytona 2 or even Daytona 1 for that matter.  Over four years.  I'm suffering here.  Since '05, I spent a lot of time researching Sega games in general and I learned a lot and developed an appreciation for these kind of games.  It makes me sad that Sega had so much potential really.  I almost question going to work exclusively for Sega when I could probably reach further prestige working here in the US or something.  Has a Japanese studio ever hired an American anyway?

At this point, I'm fueled purely on grandiose visions of game design, but this ain't the movies so it's going to be much harder to do.  Why couldn't I just be a good little boy and become a rich surgeon, lawyer, business CEO, or something.  I have the brains and drive for it but no, I have to make games for a dying Japanese game company.  What a stupid track I'm on.  And this is made slightly worse by the fact I feel that society, not just gaming, is screwing up so I don't know if I'll even get a chance to do something.

This does have relevance to Daytona USA, just bear with me.  After graduating from high school in June '06 (as Valedictorian, you have no idea how much I had to bust my ass on this) I was wondering where should I go.  We could go to the local university (Southeastern Louisiana University) or we could straight to a gaming school.  One place my parents just pulled out of nowhere was University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona.  I didn't know how good this place was other than "it's good trust us."  So what do I do?  I get on a plane with my dad and we go to Phoenix, Arizona which is right next to Tempe.  It was a spur of the moment thing and I was pretty content with sitting at home playing Guitar Hero (back when I actually liked the series), but hey, ya gotta go check it out...

While we're there, let's just give the low-down on other stuff that happened:

* We arrive in Phoenix and we rent a car.  We're given a black PT Cruiser.  That was gold.

* We took pictures next to cacti.  There is no grass in Pheonix, it's just astro-turf or sand.  Loads of fun!

* At the time, police were looking for the "Baseline Killer."  Baseline is a road in Phoenix BTW.  We're in a McDonald's at night and this poor Native American guy is hanging around politely asking the people at the counter for food but all they would give him is a small cup for fountain drinks.  He comes up to talk to us and tells us "they only gave me this cup," etc.  So my dad, taking pity on this guy, gives him a few bucks to buy a hamburger.  We leave and watch news later and realize that the Baseline Killer has some traits similar to the guy we saw in McDonald's (both had Native American descent, etc.)  My dad's convinced that he really met the Baseline Killer and that by giving him money, he spared our lives.  Yeah, makes sense for a killer to hang out in a McDonald's begging people for meals.

* Later, there was a story on the news about the Baseline Killer.  They showed a shot of cars driving down the road and there was a black PT Cruiser driving along.  Was that us?  We're on the news, yay!!

* Phoenix is just a weird town for visiting stuff--like there aren't as many people around.  We were driving around in Phoenix in a modestly populated residential area and we're looking around and we don't see a single pedestrian or car.  It was freaky as all hell, like what's happening here?  Something's strange about that town, I'm sorry.

* We got to a Mexican restaurant called Chevy's.  Pretty fine establishment I might say.  Anyway, next to Chevy's was a Chase bank.  Chevy Chase.  HAHA

Where's the damn dam tour?  Go hang out with Hugo Chavez you jerk.

* There was some sort of illegal immigration rally that was on national television.  We were in some big hotel with 20+ stories and we looked out our window and there it was--adjacent to Chase Field.  There was a helicopter and we saw the building we were in on TV.  Yeesssirr.

* We decided to pass the time by playing a round of golf.  We go out on a public course and rent some clubs.  Oh BTW, did I mention this is Phoenix in the middle of a heat wave?  Apparently, the temperature was over 120-degrees Fahrenheit and I was wearing jeans.  How stupid was that?  It's a "dry heat," remember so it can't be THAT bad now can it?

The first hole was okay, like I was doing good, not being that bothered.  But then around the second hole, I started to feel exhausted and I started to burn.  Like in Louisiana or any other place with humidity, you'd just become all sweaty.  Here, I didn't really sweat, I just "baked."  By the third hole, I just became so dizzy and disoriented even though I guzzled tons of water.  We just got out of there, how stupid was that?

Ok, now back to Daytona USA...well, we go over to the UAT building for some sort of orientation, check it out.  It's about the size of a community college, so that's great, I'm gonna travel across the country to attend school at a tiny little building.  They had tons of computers, some classrooms, a motion capture room, a cafe, just all of that usual stuff.

At one point during orientation, the students and the parents were split up.  All thirty or so students got in a circle and we had to go around, say our names, where we were from, and what our favorite video game was.  Needless to say, I became anxious as all hell because I had to prepare what I was going to say.  Other people went and they said stuff like Final Fantasy and Halo and there really wasn't any deviation from that at all--I mean, really, do people play ANYTHING ELSE?  They were all yucking it up, like "OMG Final Fantasy A is better than Final Fantasy B!!!omg11"  One guy said Monster Rancher and I proceeded to applaud him, but that was about it.  My turn!  I said something similar to this...

"Hello, my name is Eric, I'm from Louisiana, and I know I'm gonna sound like a redneck, but my favorite games are Daytona USA and Daytona USA 2."

The place got so quiet you could hear a pindrop.  On the carpet floor in the room I might add.  Like not only do I think my delivery sucked, but who has a RACING GAME as their favorite game?  It's the equivalent of giving the MVP of the Superbowl to the punter.  Like who really takes racing games seriously anymore?  That stuff is just utter crap.  I felt like I've society had outsted me and all I said what my favorite game was!!  I'm sorry, I still can't get over that to this day.

The rest of the trip was just stupid--we went around to look at the housing, we listened to some talk about the courses, blah blah blah, I didn't really remember.  We got out of there and went back home.  No, we didn't go to the Grand Canyon or Las Vegas--those things were over four hours away at minimum.  In the end, my parents and I decided not to go there and I'm now attending Southeastern Louisiana University and am about to graduate.  There's a slim chance I might go back when I'm done with this place, but it's not very likely since other options have popped up (Full Sail, Baylor, I don't know).

The way from then to here wasn't good.  I just wasn't feeling it in college.  Southeastern's not bad--it's got good faculty, buildings, dorms, not as crappy as LSU IMO.  Yes, I made excellent grades.  No, I didn't fit in at all with the nerdy gamer community there--everyone either played Halo or WoW like a damn religion.  The withdrawal from Daytona USA games was just too great.  I ended up buying OutRun 2 for all platforms and went around telling people about it, but no one really cared.  I made the Forza 3 D2 cars as well as some other secret project that I won't reveal...yet.  I put a ton of effort into this stuff.  I also got to play Scud Race at a Chuck E. Cheese a few times, but yeah, that's not a good place to be with the jackass kids (oh u c wut I did thar...)

I hunkered down on the Daytona USA 2: Power Edition GameFAQs board which was eventually deleted after some mod decided that my board was bad.  Then I made this blog.  The only place I post at now is the OutRun Online Arcade GameFAQs board with the other cool Sega racing guys.  The end.  My life sucks.


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