On the Road

I was over at IGN where they’re celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their website. Impressive stuff – IGN was one of the sites that I grew up on, and its nice to see they are still going strong.

During my browsing i stumbled on this retrospective on the classic Activision title Interstate ’76, which itself was a decade old in 2007. I wasn’t aware that gamers were still talking or even writing about this game, but I was thrilled to find it on the radar of people thinking about defining games of the 90s. For me, there were few better gaming experiences than the one I had tooling around the American Southwest as Groove Champion.

Games that stick with me over time are titles with a strong and memorable mise-en-scène, and Interstate ’76 certainly has one which is unique, intriguing and contributes greatly to the overall experience. Every element of the game fits well: its expansive setting, its 70s vibe in the characters and soundtrack, and the bizarre alternate reality storyline.

IGN points to the “cinematic” quality of the game, which pisses me off as you’d probably expect. Interstate ’76 does not feel like a movie, it feels like a great PC video game. I think what IGN is trying to get at is the immersion that a player feels in the world of I76. That doesn’t have to be cinematic, in fact most movies don’t foster the type of complete experience that a game like I76 provides.

Certainly there’s the question of style over substance, and I76’s gameplay is undoubtedly dated. The strength of its other pluses is substantial, however, and its a game which deserves to be remembered amongst the most traditionally recognized titles of the 1990s.

On a comical personal note, I took my AIM screenname (still in use!) from this game: Funklord76. If that’s not a testament to my love for this game, then I don’t know what is.

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2 Responses to “On the Road”

  1. Hey Funklord76,

    I have to say, I don’t believe the game play is dated at all! I don’t know of any game that’s provided such detailed and physical car combat- go I’76!

  2. markliskevych Says:

    Hey L – I guess that’s a pretty good point. But I wonder why all these car combat games are so stale these days. Is it because games like the original Twisted Metal and I76 were so innovative and set the bar so high? Or is it just a game model that goes so far…

    I suppose what I meant by saying the game is dated is not that the game is not still fun to play, but rather its very clearly from a different era of gaming history…if that makes sense…thanks for the comment too! Keep Reading!

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