Back during the build-up for the original release of LEGO Harry Potter, I was massively excited for it. I’d already played and enjoyed Star Wars: The Complete Saga, and the trailers for Harry Potter were doing their job in getting me excited for it. When I played it, there was a certain magic to it – and I’m not just saying that because of the setting of the series.
There was a lot to love with it, and once Years 5-7 released a year later, both The Clone Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean had released, both of which I’d also enjoyed. But that did lessen the enjoyment of the second Harry Potter game – despite there being several new elements to it.
It wasn’t the fact I was getting burnt out from LEGO games, but that playing the other two between the two of Harry Potter raised a highlight of the games I hadn’t much recognised while playing the first. And this is the thing I call the Harry Potter syndrome.
With the recent news that Criterion are back onto Need For Speed, I’m hyped. The team might have seen some change since Burnout Paradise, but they are a great studio. That concept they had for the extreme sports game never got off the ground, but there was promise within it.
And you’ll note that I said back to Need For Speed. Once finished with Burnout Paradise, the Criterion team were put onto EA’s other long-standing racing series to make Hot Pursuit. After the success of that game, they followed up with my personal favourite of the series in Most Wanted .
While they did help with Rivals, their time on the series looked as though it was done, with Ghost Games [now EA Gothenburg] being the main developer of Rivals and taking on the series since that time.
In the last few years I’ve started to branch out some more with games, rather than sticking with the few series that I know. Most of that has been with the Switch, but I have been hunting for things in other places, too.
Steam would be a good place to go, with sales and cheaper prices overall than what you’d find on a console store, and it was something of a surprise when I pretty much stumbled upon one of the two I’ll be talking about here right away.
The other one I had seen before and had got interest in, but had fallen off my radar pretty quickly. The day after buying that first game, however, I found it again.
I’ve played plenty of racing games in varying different styles across the numerous years. There’s a certain type I had not really played all that often, however. Aside when being at an arcade and able to access the Sega Rally machines, I hadn’t really played any sort of a rally game.
I felt that I’d not be much good at them, with the thin tracks and my varied skill in racing, so I was content to just let rally experiences be something contained to those arcade machines.
I usually read reviews from Nintendo Life even if I’m not much interested in checking a game out, just to see if there’s anything that I’d like in it. Every possibility I can be convinced to try something new, after all. On New Year’s Eve, I read a review from the site for a racing game. A rally game.
Sure, it was a mobile port, but it looked as packed of content as plenty of other racing games, with the review and comments saying how the gameplay was excellent, rivalling plenty of other racing games on the Switch. Did I want to go for it, though?
Back at the beginning of October, I made a post talking about my latest hook in gaming. That hook came from revisiting the Feed a Cow For Christmas Jingle Jam 2018 stream of the Yogscast, and within the post I gave a brief history of my exposure to Yogscast content which led into how I first got that hook into Farming Simulator.
At the end, I said I had my eye on what would become of Farming Simulator 2020 on Switch. Depending on if I felt that would give me a great experience, I’d either buy it or give it a miss and wait for 2021 – which would be the new entry rather than a mobile port of the previous year’s game.
Despite having Game Pass for more than a year, there’s very little I’ve actually played from it. Sea of Thieves has been the main contributor for play time from it, with Zoo Tycoon, Gears 4, and State of Decay 2 seeing varying levels of usage from it.
The latest game to be played from the service is Farming Simulator 2017. But that latest could have been ten months earlier when I’d found my latest hook in gaming. Let me explain that.
In 2015 I had bought GTA V on PC, with a push from my sister and a friend, and jumped straight into the online, where I spent a lot of time creating races as well as driving across routes of many others. To go with this, I had taken an interest in looking on Youtube for other races I could play.
One of those places I stumbled upon was Smosh Games with their Grand Theft Smosh series. The other was the Yogscast main channel, which my sister had sent a video from, of the Biking on Water Ragequit Races video.
By the time 2009 rolled around, I had got stuck into plenty of racing games. The previously featured GripShift and Excite Truck, Mario Kart on both DS and Wii, Burnout 3 and Revenge, Flatout: Head On, Test Drive Unlimited, and some rather questionable others (Mini Desktop Racing for one). But no matter what sort of racing it was, I was at least willing to test the game out.
So in comes Rockstar, most recognised for the GTA games. I’d had a little experience with them, though I was always just driving around rather than doing any actual missions. And then I see a game for the PSP. By Rockstar. That’s not GTA.
Midnight Club: LA Remix looked to be a GTA focused exclusively on the cars and racing, similar in format to Test Drive Unlimited. It was clear this was to be my next game, and I enjoyed it to the full.
This is a game that is more liked for its attachment to a particular moment or event, though the game itself is still a good one. Since 1999, I’d been a spectator at every British Transplant Games event, supporting my dad who would be taking part. But for those who don’t know, what are the Transplant Games?
Transplantation is the process of replacing an organ within your body that is no longer working thanks to a donor giving one of theirs. It’s an operation that brings new life to those who receive it, and the Transplant Games are a celebration of that new life. They also help raise awareness of the need for transplantation and give thanks to those donor families who have supported it.
In 1999, my Dad had his first operation to replace a kidney, which had been a great success. And in that year, the Games were held in Birmingham. Every year, the Games move to a different city, which offers plenty of opportunities for seeing the sights around the UK.
As I said in the last post, my family had a PS1 (or more accurately the PSone) and one of the games we had for it was Crash Team Racing. We hadn’t ever got any of the other Crash games before it, so this was my first taste of the Crash Bandicoot series.
The Gamecube hadn’t released at this point, so CTR is the first kart racer – and very possibly the first racing game ever – I had played.
Despite never mastering it, I enjoyed playing it up until the point the PSone and everything with it was sold on, which I think was only a few years after it was first bought to swap to the PS2 Slim. I still remembered my time with it, and even though I played many a Mario Kart and other racing games, I still wanted another chance to play it.
Back in 2006, I was an eleven-year-old looking for a new video game console to get for Christmas. I was looking through the Argos catalogues and seeing what sort of games I could get for each system. Being completely unknowledgeable about the inner details of video game systems, I’d settled on the original Xbox.
Yup, even though the Xbox 360 had released the previous year, I was going to put the soon to be discontinued last generation machine on my list instead. From memory, it was purely down to seeing that it had a Spyro game on it, as well as a Crash racing game.
But then my dad bought an issue of the Official Nintendo Magazine, and I was introduced to my first proper understanding of the video game industry.