Nov 21, 2020

Ballistic Racing

Psygnosis (1995)
The launch of the original Playstation was a big deal for me.  I was 15 years old and I had a part-time job at Burger King.  For the first time in my life, I was earning a paycheck and was able to save up enough money to buy a console shortly after it launched.  Unfortunately, it took a bit longer before I was able to afford any games, so I played the hell out of the demo disc that came with the console.  As far as demos go, this one was pretty good.  More than a few of them were playable, including one lap from a racing game that would be released twenty-five years ago today, on November 21st, 1995.  That game was Wipeout.

Most of the demos on the disc were a lot of fun, but Wipeout was the one that blew me away.  It was a futuristic hovercraft racing game with a a techno soundtrack.  At the time, it reminded me a lot of F-Zero for SNES, but with graphics and music I had never experienced before on a home console.

My grandparents gave Wipeout to me as a Christmas present that year.  We exchange gifts in our family on Christmas Eve, and I remember staying up late that night to experience the full game for the first time.  In the wee hours of Christmas morning, I was steering my hovercraft through tracks that were more challenging than any racing game I had ever played up to that point.  I don't remember what time I finally got to sleep, but I do remember being awfully tired at Christmas dinner as I tried not to fall asleep in my lasagna.

I still have the game that I unwrapped on Christmas Eve 1995, and I still play it from time to time.  Although there have been many more advanced racing games that have been released over the past 25 years, none have captivated me as completely as that single lap from the purple Playstation Picks demo disc.