It was a great ride.
The end of this week will mark a sad moment in video game history as legendary game developer, Bizarre Creations, shutters its doors. Now we can play the blame game and accuse Activision of squandering their resource…but no need to restate the obvious. Bizarre Creations of course was and is most famous for their stable of incredible racing games, but as I will write later in these articles, they turned the gaming world on its ear more than once with influential game design.
This post is a tribute, a celebration if you will, of Bizarre Creations (BC), my personal history with their games, and my admiration for them. Not only were they a great influence on the industry, but also on my taste and enjoyment of games as well!
On further inspection my ‘Bizarre’ experience is quite extensive. Let us start at the beginning:
Formula 1 97: Back in the later half of the 90’s, my brother and I developed an interest in Formula 1 racing. As gamers get interested in sports, they often like to play out their sports fantasies in their video games. Bizarre Creation’s Formula 1 97 for the PlayStation allowed for us to step away from watching the sport and have a fantastic, and for its time, a realistic racing experience. I was not very interested in the racing genre then, but I did recognize the quality of gameplay and presentation that F1 97 had to offer. It was a portent of things to come.
Metropolis Street Racer: Though the Sega Dreamcast had a short life, it still felt like forever for MSR to land on the console. MSR was the evolution of BC’s Formula 1 series, but this time they took their handling system at applied it to real-life cars on real-life streets in real-life cities. MSR also introduced the world to Kudos racing! Why else would you drift across the finish line. MSR unfortunately came at a time when I was not paying a lot of attention to DC racers, but again I did recognize the greatness that was a BC racing title.
Project Gotham Racing: The spiritual successor to MSR became a smash-hit on the Microsoft’s entry into the console market appearing a lunch title for the system. Carrying with it the mysterious code-named title at Kudos racing, PGR set the standard for next-gen racing games as well as once again taking us around the world to exotic cities. I actually purchased PGR well after the fact. It was because of my love for the next game on my list, the next PGR game, and arguably the game that had has had the most direct and long-standing impact on my life, PGR 2.
In Part II of my tribute to Bizarre Creations I will continue my trip down memory through the golden age of BC gaming. You will not want to miss that!