I had allot in common with myself now and the little kid I was twenty-two years ago. First of all, we were both unemployed individuals with no real idea what the future holds. Second, we were both avid gamers that would spend every available minute in front of a thirteen inch black and white television just so we could play Super Mario Bros. in our living rooms and bedrooms and not down at the arcade pumping rolls of quarters into the bottomless pit of Nintendo fortune.
After the Mario Bros. fad wore off for me; I stress me because other nerds to this day clock speed runs of the very same blow hard on the cartridge or q-tip the contacts prior to playing the game for what could very well be the ten thousandth time. After learning the koopa step jump for unlimited Mario's I figured it was time to give something else a try. A new genre, and one with allot of excitement, fast-paced action, rivalry, multi player that could accommodate 4 persons via split screen. F-Zero quickly became my 24 hour obsession.
I would sit at school, in study hall, and draw the tracks in the game the best I could remember them and practice in my mind's eye what it would be like to have that little controller in my friggin hand steering my ship around each of my drawn out corners just perfectly. No one could touch me! Not in study hall, and now at home when it was time for business!
There wasn't a single track that intimidated me. There was no opponents other than the crew you first start running against so it wasn't like eventually some new sonofabitch from California was going to join the F-Zero circuit and unseat the King. I could play the game anytime and normally never get bored one bit. I would start the career and not shut the system off until I had raced the entire season in one sitting, on occasion, restarting an doing it again.
Let's jump forward in time by twenty some odd years and let's understand that gaming is still a major part of my life. It is my number one hobby, taking the top spot from wrenching on cars about three years ago at a time when I'd rather eat a bullet than step one foot into that shop with the intention of getting something accomplished. Video games provided me a place to land when I fell from the top of a hobby that I had grown up around and been studying and observing techniques of the pros since I was five years old.
Sometimes Deja Vu is an odd feeling where you doubt you really can pin point what in the fuck just happened but I recently experienced an episode that stopped me in my tracks. I stood staring at my PC monitor at the logo on the screen for a recent STEAM purchase. A game that I had already bought once in the past year for the full $60 price tag. I had that same feeling in my stomach that I had twenty years or so prior, and this time it was because of yet another racing title, Codemaster's DiRT 2.
When it dropped for the Xbox 360 I saw a few interesting commercials and never-the-less I chose to download the demo off the LIVE marketplace while a few of my gaming buddies were over, one of which was a huge fan of the original DiRT game published a year or so earlier. We passed the controller around and I found myself wanting to hold onto the fucking thing once I had it, and when I didn't have it, I wanted to get up and go grab it! I wanted serious time with the demo. The thing blew me away as to how controllable and user friendly the handling of the vehicles were. It didn't take me more than five to ten demo events to realise the next day, DiRT 2 was going to have to be brought home.
After nearly a solid month of playing the Xbox 360 version of the game I was almost 100% complete with the title. It would have only been my twelfth completed gamer score title in my career. Two achievements kept that from happening, and it was seeming Codemaster's really wasn't on the ball about getting the shit fixed up so some of us could proceed stroking our egos with a 1000gs title on our games played list!
First, the function to download a GHOST (Image of a saved lap at a specific location by another online driver with the object being to beat the ghost image to the finish line) lap and beat that lap earning 10gs never worked. The game would refuse to download anything for me, and allot of unhappy campers on the xbox.com forums, where the real hard headed opinionated dumb fucks troll, just couldn't forgive such a travesty!
Second, the entering of four online tourney's seems easy enough right? No, it wasn't. The tournaments were not registering or some fucked up shit like that and after trying over and over again to obtain the elusive 3rd and 4th entries, I took one for the team and traded the game in at GameStop for nearly $30! So yea, I took a $30 pounding in the rump once again.
But I still really liked the game. I had earned 970gs for the Xbox 360 version and often thought about if they had patched up the issues that kept me from the 1000gs. I had kept my eye on the price of the game at the local retailers and it must have sold well enough for the price to remain above the $30 range still to this day. Matter of fact, since my broken ass doesn't have two dimes to rub together, I took a nice fat sack of games that I no longer play over the GameStop and told them to let me know what I had in trade in value and that I was going to shop around.
First I picked up Just Cause 2, the true inspiration for the spur of the moment, mid-week, 6:30p.m. departure for the Peru Mall. Once I had the goal in hand, the tattooed punk behind the counter called out to me, "You've got about $130 in store credit." Excellent...
I love this part. Extra money at the video game story with no real certain must have purchases on the mind where I can maybe make a selection or two on a whim and amazingly once in a while discover a gem! Ah, but most of the time not, most of the time I end up with an Assassin's Creed collection or Dragon Age: Origins that I know from the get go will suck! I check the PC Game rack, albeit small, I see DiRT 2 among the games stocked.
It uses Games For Windows - LIVE which basically means that I can go ahead and grab the game, play it linked to my SSinisterSS gamer card, and earn the same achievements I already have for the Xbox 360 version! Fucking sweet, and a chance to nail those two achievements that eluded me the first go round. Once again I am excited over this racing game. The appearance of it on my PC is astonishing as well, compared even to the Xbox 360's pretty atmosphere.
So here we go again. Hitting the desert, running in the canyons of Utah, Morocco, China, even Baja California! It is just as fun as ever, and with the GFWL achievements to earn, totally addictive just like the first time I took a hit of DiRT 2 and didn't look back. This time however, STEAM came through like a rich great uncle you never heard of that name dropped your ass on the will as the sole beneficiary of his $100,000,000! For a mere $18, give or take a few cents, I was able to buy DiRT 2 (the big prize), FUEL (another GFWL), Grid, DiRT, and ToCA Race Driver 3! How about that shit!
I am most happy because I almost pulled the trigger that day I had the extra trade in credit at GameStop and there, on the PC shelf, sat the retail box version of DiRT 2 for $39.99! Why not cut the price in half, and while you are at it, why the hell not throw four other completely competent games on in for the hell of it? Thank you STEAM, I apprecaite you as a business.