For me before there was Budweiser there was Grand Turismo
I always loved the message I got from the Budweiser ‘Wassup’ advertising commercial. It said to me that blokes can come together to watch the game, drink beer and relax in their chill out time. I never liked Budweiser, never liked the taste of it, more of a Coopers drinker myself. Anyway, for me, before there was Budweiser, there was Gran Turismo.
It was 1998 and a new car racing game like no other had launched on the market, there was no twitter or facebook, news spread by IRC and I remember reviewing the game for a radio segment I was doing on a Sydney radio station. This game was different, and it brought me and my close friends (we were and some still are, nuts for a hotted up Japanese Turbo) together to play the game.
You see GT was a collaborative effort. The license system required extreme focus for a short time to get through the levels and earn the top license. Our goal was to generate license progress together in the game, and then share our memory cards so each player could benefit from the ability to unlock all the good cars. We would then go our separate ways, win races, earn points and come back and play each other later.
There were no Plasma TV’s, well none that you could afford anyway. So we huddled together at a friend’s house who had a HUGE 78cm TV and played four players on split screen.
Today, those three mates all live in different parts of Australia and getting into the same room is not possible and that is why I am so excited about the launch of GT5. The game was originally meant to release at the end of 2006 with the launch of the PlayStation 3. It was delayed, delayed again, forgotten about and then delayed some more.
The great news is that using network play we can still play together from all parts of the world. We won’t be huddled around the one screen, but we will be racing together in our chosen cars and enjoying a video game that once upon a time was a window into a car world we dreamed about being able to drive in.
So if you Tweet me this weekend with a ‘Charlie Wassup?’ I might just respond with a ‘Playing GT5, currently driving a Nissan GTR against my mates, who are still slow’