You’ll shoot your eye out!

December 16, 2005 by Tim

I’ve gotten word from guys that know about this kind of thing, that the new Winter-een-mas shirts will be on sale today. And because you folks asked so very nicely, we’re going to offer them as hoodies as well. I’ll make a post hereabouts when they are officially online and all that jazz. Remember, WEMas shirts only go on sale once a year. Fair warning, I’m also told certain sizes are in limited supply, just due to the all around christmas rush.

I caught a commercial for this game called Flat Out, which isn’t a major title by any means, and is available on the… well I guess I can call them “old” systems now. It didn’t get particularly shining press in various media outlets around the internet, which is a shame because it looked really fun.

If I found it pre-owned somewhere, I would be hard pressed to avoid picking up, just to give it a spin. The general premise is like rally racing. But rally racing where even a slight bump in the road may send your driver flying through the front windshield in a magnificent display of ragdoll mechanics.

In fact, there are even whole game modes dedicated to flinging your driver at targets, down gigantic humerous bowling alleys, or towards an enormous novelty dart board. The game fails, as I’m told, due to extremely sloppy controls and over-sensitive crash triggers. Apparently if you even look at the car in a manner that might be construed as”cockeyed”, your driver will burst forth from the front window to go tumbling towards whatever terrain lies in front of your vehicle.

That’s a shame. We need more games like this, I think. Of this general nature. Occasionally we need a break from the biggest explosions, the most realistic looking blood, the vertex shading and specular-mapping. We need a title that just screams “goof off”.

I would give my left ear…, no, that is not a noble enough gesture… I would give all of your left ears for a next-generation sequel to Rocket Jockey. I think around the planet, maybe a dozen people just cheered out loud.

Yes, Rocket Jockey. It wasn’t the most popular game back in the day, but it was one of my favorites. It may have slipped under your radar, which is truly unfortunate because I don’t believe it will play on any operating system post-Windows95. You may have missed your opportunity.

Here’s the premise: You straddle a giant contraption which is truly nothing more than a rocket engine outfitted with some ornamental fins for aesthetic quality. You then enter an arena littered with various object, and a smattering of poles in the ground.

Your screaming rocket suicide machine can fire two tow cables, one to the left, one to the right. You use these to steer, because your rocket is on a b-line course with the horizon.

Using these cable to make sharp turns and also to grab objects and fling them about the arena, you go head to head with other “Rocket Jockeys” in games of fun and death. Classic versus allows you to use your tow cables to wrench pieces off of your opponents rocket, causing it to list in one direction or the other.

If you manage to dismount your opponent, you can use your cable to grab them and drag them kicking and screaming around the arena, or tether them to a stationary object where you can run passing mockery at your trapped foe. You can tether your tow cables between two poles for a clothsline situation that most likely you’ll run into yourself.

The game was simple, and nuanced at the same time. Brutal, but brimming with style. If you played it, you know what I’m talking about. And I want a sequel. A next-generation take on the franchise. And not a “hey, let’s change what the game is all about” remake either. A faithful port. The classic with today’s visual flair.

In fact, now that I think about it, if some independant mod team out there were to tackle this project, were to bring an updated Rocket Jockey to the scene using, say, the HL2 engine, well… I’d have to volunteer to help do the texture work.

A man can dream, can’t he?

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