Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Daytona USA Drama--Why I Like This Stuff

You know, right now I'm not in the best of moods, thanks to school and gaming culture, but I don't want to get negative this time around, let's focus on the good...

I've been doing some thinking about the games I like and why they affect me so much.  I'm come to the simple conclusion--they don't just make racing games fun and exciting, but they also take them seriously.

What do I mean?  When it comes to racing, there is a certain level of excitement.  It's fun, it's fast, but you're also racing.  There's a lot of tension and drama.  You're controlling a two-ton object attached to the road by four pieces of rubber while flying over 200 mph.  If that's not enough to get your heart racing, then I don't know what else will (besides getting shot at or falling without a plane without a parachute).  It takes guts to race, it really does.  You have to focus at all times, you never stop, you never get to rest.  It's fun but it's also a big deal to compete with others, overtake rivals, and get to that Winner's Circle with the trophy.  It really is one of the gutsiest sports there is and it makes me sad that no one can't get the mix between fun and seriousness right.

Well, let's go to one end of the spectrum.  You have games like Cruis'n World and Mario Kart which are, for lack of a better term, meant for the "kiddies."  Burnout, you wreck and blow up and stuff, I've gone into detail about how it's an "in-your-face" racer with good visuals, but come on, this isn't the kind of game that I would grit my teeth and play over and over again to shave off hundreds of a second.

On the other side, you have stuff like Forza, Gran Turismo, Formula 1, whatever.  These games are difficult to play but are very rewarding if you do them right.  However, as one person on the old D2 board pointed out, these aren't really "games," they're simulators.  A simulator is something that recreates real life.  A game is something that plays by its own rules.  Daytona USA isn't the kind of game that a professional race-car driver can master in a day.  Not only that, but sim games are usually lackluster in terms of soundtrack (using licensed music instead of creating their own) and lack that sense of speed in lower-level cars.

Once again, I'd like to highlight Daytona USA 2 because for one thing, it's an arcade racer with ridiculous physics, slidings, extravagant courses.  But it's also a game that requires tons of practice, precision, and even luck.  The sound effects in all these games are superb--Daytona USA, OutRun 2, they all do.  Like they're in your face and they mean business.

About Daytona 2, one thing I really like to point out is the soundtrack.  I love this music--it blends excitement with drama.  This soundtrack used the talents of the band Winger--Reb Beach on guitar and Rod Morgenstein on drums.  The lyrics are rather hokey (they were written by Japanese of course)--one person on YouTube sarcastically compared them to Bob Dylan lyrics.  Okay, but let's look at some of these excerpts, this one's from Slingshot (Beginner Course):

Passion of my spirit
Fusion of the engine
Traction of the tires kicking up road
Overtake your rivals
Can you see what's up the road?
A mirage

This chorus is repeated multiple times.  It's like a race car driver is constantly running laps, waiting for the end, feeling every movement of the car.  The last verse of the song goes:

Passion of my spirit
Fusion of the engine
Emotions I can't control
Drive into the final turn
The checkered flag you'll see is no mirage

I don't care what anyone says--I see this as powerful stuff.  I'm gonna go ahead and say this--Daytona USA 2 is one of the few games that "gets it."  Like I play all these other racing games and they're either too lenient or too serious.  This game epitomizes the most important part of racing games--excitement.  There's a lot at stake, I'm here to win, not to laugh it up and shoot shells at other players.  Also, Slingshot is probably the most beautiful song I've ever heard--with the glory note leading to the climatic ending and Dennis St. James' rising voice pitch, I used to get teared-up over it.

The only other song I'd probably say is as beautiful isFleetwood Mac - The Chain.  Just like Slingshot, it has this climatic ending full of drama and excitement.  Another is Tom Petty - Running Down a Dream , which is another great song similar in nature, awesome guitar solo at the end.

Here is an chorus from Skyscraper Sequence (Expert Course):

Streets filled with lights
Like a stargate from and old Sci-Fi movie
My mind filled with delights
Voyager for the treasure of pleasure
I don't give a glance to the rear view mirror
I know you're all behind me
Grace and elegance, that's what you need
Not only for the race but for your way of life

Remember how in Talladega Nights how Ricky's father tells him "If you ain't first, you're last"?  Well, it's kind of the same thing, except obviously in music form and not as crude.  It's beatiful, not only is the race what's important, but we all have this passion inside of us not to just race but to get up in the morning and go do our thing, to make an impact on the world.  There's a lot to be learned from racing and like I said before, you're not going to get inspirational lyrics like this from anywhere else.

And then we get to I Can Do It (Advanced Course) and Battle on the Edge (Intro) & Selector/Tips to Win.  Here's one excerpt from I Can Do It:

My sight goes fading black
My sense flashes razor sharp
I'd give my life for this excitement
Iron beast, roarinng in front of me
Shaking the crowd, going wild
Shaking the track, even the earth

These songs don't capture as much drama but make up for it in pure excitement.  Like it really doesn't get as intense as this--I mean, even the freakin Selector song is exciting.  Some real-life songs I think are similar are Molly Hatchet - Flirting With Disaster, Motley Crue - Kickstart My Heart, and ACDC - Thunderstruck.  I swear these songs just get me PUMPED.  I mean, there's time to cut the tension with a knife but sometimes, you just wanna let go and kick some ass.  Seriously, like I said, Daytona USA 2 is one of the only games that gets it right IMO.

Because I really don't want to go that much further, I want to talk about OutRun 2 briefly.  I mean, just looking at the footage, all the vibrant tracks, the car pacing forward with the whining engine, and the dramatic music (Shiny World).  It really doesn't get any better than this.  OutRun 2 is really a blessing that we take for granted.  I mean, just looking at footage of the game gives me chills.  This game's easy to learn but difficult to master.  Props to Sega AM2 and Sumo Digital (made the home ports).

As for Daytona USA and OutRun, most of these songs are really just for pure joy.  I mean, here you go--Daytona USA's Sky High and OutRun's Splash Wave (OR2 remix).  They make me just wanna get up and go for a drive--how about you?

I'm going to conclude with this...I'll repeat it again, Sega really is the only racing game developer that gets it right.  I mean, you go driving, but you gotta have fun and understand the intense circumstances of driving a car.  That's probably the major reason why I love these games so much and they make me happy even though I can't play them.  I hope this entry has made your day--it certainly has made mine...

I added a link to this article in the "Why Sega Racing Games Are So Good" page, just worth mentioning.

No comments:

Post a Comment