It’s the year 2020, a time of technological prosperity. Multi-billionaires rule the world, while the laborers toil away under the throes of capitalism. Bored with their wealth, these multi-billionaires seek a greater form of entertainment. Thus, they find five individuals in early middle age, preferably working a regular job, mild-mannered in character and who are into futuristic hover cars. Their goal? Turn these five characters into rabid paranoid beasts, as they are forced to choose their favorite F-Zero game, a game series forgotten by time and their original creator (but which happens to have hover cars).
These power brokers find five individuals that perfectly fit the profile they are looking for, and they all happen to be part of a mildly successful podcast. Ranging from different countries, including the Bronx, these individuals represent a perfect slice of humanity. Perfect for their experiment in sadistic amusement.
Enticed by toilet paper and an IHOP gift card, these individuals are lured and then forced to engage in this terrifying exercise. How will they choose? Will they lose their humanity? Can they ever go back to society, working their menial jobs, business as usual?
The mega-multi-ultra billionaires look on with glee.
Top Speed: 9 MPH (depending on weather conditions)
Favorite F-Zero: GX
“While the original F-Zero will always be special to me, and F-Zero X might be my most played out of them all, I have to give the ‘favourite’ award to F-Zero GX. While F-Zero X feels more like a Nintendo game, F-Zero GX feels more like a balls to the wall Sega arcade game, and that’s a good thing for a series revolving around insane speed. GX makes my palms sweaty, my knees weak, and if there’s ever a VR port, it’ll definitely mean vomit on my sweater already – Captain Falcon’s spaghetti.”
Ethnicity: Conflicted New Englander
Top Speed: 7 MPH (if he really has to)
Favorite F-Zero: AX
“A favorite F-Zero? I gotta be honest, racing games aren’t my thing. That being said, I can’t recommend F-Zero AX enough. Now, this might sound like a cop out, and that’s because it is. However, even though it’s an arcade exclusive, and a hard to find one at that, I feel that no iteration of the franchise really recreates the feeling of driving a car in the 26th century like this one does. The AX arcade truly gives you that sense of driving at ludicrous speeds, while making hairpin turns and weaving through other drivers like the best goddamn racer on the planet! Then you smash that big blue turbo button in the middle of your steering wheel and lose yourself in the bliss of such ridiculous speeds that you can barely stay on the track. It’s a game where even when you lose, you’ll never forget the experience.”
Ethnicity: Bleacher Bum
Top Speed: 6.75 MPH (depending on the level of hangover)
Favorite F-Zero: GX
“F-Zero GX is a beautiful blur. It makes you appreciate the franchise’s humble journey … from its Mode 7 beginnings through the fog, and finally to HD. GX is a fully realized vision. I absolutely love the speed and comic relief (accidental or not) of GX, as it gives the game some personality. To me the multiplayer was the best part. GX looked beautiful enough that even if it looked like a blur, you at least wanted to take it for a spin. Once you did, it was difficult to not want another try. Passing the controller around a room filled with the “ooohhs” and “aahhhs” on every turn, is will always be a staple in my gaming memory.”
Ethnicity: Aspiring Italian
Top Speed: 15 MPH (thanks to Nike Air technology)
Favorite F-Zero: SNES
“I’ve got to go for the original, mainly because it´s the one I’ve spent the most time with.
F-zero was a great game to pick up and have a blast for 30 minutes, as by that time I’d usually feel ready to put on a game that had a bit more meat on its bone. That’s not to say I found F-Zero boring, more that after 6 or 7 races I was satisfied with my accomplishments and would be starting to get annoyed with the pinball mechanics and the AI of the generic ships. The battle aspects of the game would often lead to tense races that required extreme precision and calm decision making… two things I lacked a lot of back in 1994!
For what was essentially a Mode 7 tech demo, F-Zero is a stunning example of using new tech to give us something unique and memorable, and for that it’ll always be fondly thought of.”
Ethnicity: Pale Caribbean
Top Speed: 6 MPH (with inhaler)
Favorite F-Zero: Wipeout 2048
“There is no doubt that the answer is Wipeout 2048. The game managed to perfectly capture the sense of speed that Wipeout is known for, but also take it back to the beginnings of the Anti-Gravity Racing Championship. Being set in 2048, the tracks felt familiar, while also providing enough futurism to… wait, what do you mean F-Zero? That series on the SNES? Wasn’t that just a tech demo? They made a sequel? Oh, this is awkward. Uhm, what else is everyone saying? GX? Seriously, they called it GX? Oh, it was made by Sega? Uhm … then sure, that’s the one!”
Disappointed by the anti-climatic showing of their test subjects, the oligarchs released them from their luxury mansion in Rhode Island. As they walked out the door, the subject called Paul asked whether they would still get the IHOP cards they were promised. Disgusted by their brazen venality, they passed out $20 gift cards to the International House of Pancakes, just so that they would not have to watch these beings a second longer.
At the end of the day, all five sat at the corner booth of an IHOP in Providence, Rhode Island. They were served by a hostess named Miri, and the pancakes, topped with syrupy strawberries and whipped cream, were great. Everyone laughed, particularly at the weird guy with a mustache that had given them the IHOP gift card.
So maybe they didn’t live in the 26th century, or would ever get to drive a hover car … but they had pancakes, and friendship, and for them, that was alright.