Mach Rider

Year: 1985
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Racing – Chase

There are things that a racing game can do to make itself stand out in an otherwise vanilla genre. Some incorporate powerups, items or weapons. Some allow you to improve on your vehicle. Some employ novel control schemes. Some just show the game from a different perspective. Mach Rider takes a novel approach to the problem of keeping you interested in what otherwise amounts to bland gameplay: it arbitrarily kicks your ass.

I blame Mel Gibson.

Continue reading “Mach Rider”


Year: 1985
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Racing – Side-view

If you were anything like me as a kid, you wanted a dirtbike. You probably weren’t anything like me as a kid, but you probably still wanted a dirtbike because, let’s face it, dirtbikes are cool, and every kid wanted one. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably the kind of person who thinks that fishing is a sport. Of course, my parents didn’t have the money to just up and buy me a dirtbike, and given my incredible penchant for falling off my regular bike and injuring myself, I think it’s fair to say that they have other motives for failing to get me one. Thus, video games were the closest I would ever get to living that particular dream.

They weren’t much for title screens in 1985

I remember liking this game a lot as a child, but that I didn’t remember playing it much, which is strange, since there’s a fairly extensive list of great and not-so-great games I remember playing for hours on end (yes, I have vivid childhood memories of playing video games).Now, as an adult, I can understand how that came to be.

It gets old. Fast.

No, really, it’s a very good game – to say otherwise is to be a fool or a liar! The controls are tight and logical, the graphics are sufficient, the sounds are generally not obnoxious and the whole thing is intuitive enough to jump into without reading a manual (which is an important feature in a post-game-manual era, as well as back when rentals were common and commonly devoid of important parts).

Not pictured: road rash.

The crushing shortcomings, however, lie in features you’ll find yourself wishing it had. You’ll wish it had two-player simultaneous play, you’ll wish it allowed you to save more than one custom track. You’ll wish that there were more terrain features to put on your custom tracks.

John’s Rating: I give this game a 3.0 out of 5.0. Better replay value or a two-player mode would have easily put this up to a 4.0, but I really can’t justify it in light of the fact that I can explore everything the game has to offer in a single afternoon. All in all, it’s an enjoyable and nostalgia-inducing romp that I see no reason to repeat.