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p4head.jpg (8375 bytes)   August 2001

Earth will become Saturn 2/With all those/Rings around the world/Tetsuo 2 became me and you/With all those/Rings around the world! ("Hello viewers!")

This month, chums, I thought I should talk about something that pretty much everyone would understand.

Frankie say: Be The Hammer, Not The Anvil!




So this month, we’re going to talk, sort of, about Gran Turismo.

GT3 on the Playstation 2 has just become one of the five fastest-selling games of all time, shifting more than 100,000 copies in the UK in its first week on sale. The series as a whole has sales numbered well into the millions.

While it’s not really to my personal taste, you, The Kids, clearly love Gran Turismo. And what that got me to thinking was, What If All Games Were Like Gran Turismo?



I don’t mean, of course, that all games should be mildly dull simulations of being a garage mechanic. That would be silly. But someone else once astutely pointed out that Gran Turismo is, in fact, nothing more than Pokemon but with cars instead of little monsters.

And since Pokemon is the most successful videogame of all time, there’s clearly something in the formula. And since the games industry loves nothing more than to copy successful ideas to death, what should we be looking forward to in the future?




There’d be none of this just jumping in and controlling the teams you like, for a start. You’d have to play as really rubbish teams like San Marino and Stevenage Borough for days on end before you got to control anyone good.

Although of course, you couldn’t even do that until you’d completed a series of "football licence" tests, dribbling the ball around cones and sprinting up and down in a straight line for hours.



Then, naturally, you’d have to go through a dozen selection screens.

You would choose which kind of boots you wanted to wear (longer studs if the pitch was muddy, fancy ones that let you kick the ball further, or really flash ones that helped you bend free kicks around defensive walls and suchlike), how long your socks should be, and whether you wanted the players to perform lots of superstitious rituals before taking to the pitch.

For each player separately, of course.



Naturally, while all this would be fine for pre-season friendlies, you still couldn’t just jump straight into the League or Cup competitions. Oh no.

To play FIFA Turismo "properly", you’d have to start with a Sunday League team comprised of a load of fat old drunks, then win lots of games against other pub teams in order to make money to buy professional players so that you’d be allowed into the "real" leagues.

Because hey, it isn’t "realistic" to just walk right into the Premiership.



Obviously, all this would involve playing hundreds of games with players who fell over wheezing midway through the first half and had to be carried off, and who just hoofed the ball in a random direction whenever you pressed

the "shoot" button.

It would be exceptionally tedious, but imagine the sense of achievement you’d get, weeks later, when you finally got to "drive" Manchester United or Arsenal. And of course, then you’d know exactly what it felt like to really be David Beckham or Thierry Henry.



Okay, so you wouldn’t have the fame, the glory, the enormous wealth, the adulation of millions of supporters or any of that stuff, but that’s not what’s important in football, is it?

What’s important, obviously, is the precise recreation of the scientific results you get when you apply X amount of force with a boot to a ball, and the exact accuracy of the trajectory the ball takes as it heads towards the net. (Taking, of course, the wind-swirl factor of each particular stadium’s different architecture into account.)



Next month, pals, maybe we’ll take a look at what it would be like If Command And Conquer Was Like Gran Turismo. Or perhaps Puzzle Bobble. Or even Quake. ("Don’t be silly – no-one could possibly carry all eight of those enormous heavy weapons and 20 boxes of bullets and rockets all at once.")

Or maybe we won’t. It depends if any more boneheads keep completely missing the point of videogames and carry on buying Gran Turismo 3 at the rate of 100,000 copies a week. I’ll leave the choice up to you.

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