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    Retro Requisition would like to draw your attention to a classic video game of old that we shall be formally requisitioning to be reborn, revisited, rebooted, or remastered. We will explain what makes each game such a timeless classic still worthy of attention, pitch what it would be all about and get all realistic by discussing the possibilities of it actually ever happening.

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    “We, the most awesome and fabulous team at That Not Current, have decreed in all our wisdom and obsession with the wonders of retro gaming, that the following game should be brought back to life and hereby submit this formal request to make it so:”

    F-Zero

    THE PLAYERS: Nintendo, Shigeru Miyamoto

    PLATFORM(S): Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Nintendo Gamecube, Gameboy Advance

    F-Zero was originally released on the Super Nintendo on November 21, 1990

    WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

    illustrations of the characters of F-Zero from the original SNES title manual

    F-Zero is what is commonly known as a ‘Death Sled’ racing game of which involves racing at unrealistic speeds while trying not to explode into a million polygons. F-Zero is set in the year 2560 during a time when the world inhabits beings from across the galaxy who live and trade together, which means you don’t need to worry much about Brexit. The multi-billionaires of this new society, however, required more than traditional Formula One racing, they needed something with adrenaline, full of hazardous scenarios and speed which makes the autobahn look like a path at the petting zoo. The solution to this void in unethical entertainment was none other than the F-Zero, an over the top racing experience that involves crazy magnetic tracks, slip zones and a cast of grade A psychopaths as competitors. The newly formed sport was also a ploy for the billionaires to gain more revenue within the gambling scene (yes you guessed it: the game is set in a dystopian society that is dominated by the rich). The games protagonist is Douglas Jay Falcon, also know as Captain Falcon, a somewhat mysterious chap who was previously a police officer and renowned bounty hunter, before taking to the tracks of our perilous sport. There are titbits of story background amongst the earlier F-Zero games, but overall the story is not why you should be playing F-Zero; the bread and butter of the game is arcade racing madness.

    The manual for the original F-Zero contained a comic that details Captain Falcons back story

    Game play from the N64 release F-Zero X

    Before the emergence of the Wii brand, Nintendo consoles regularly featured F-Zero titles as part of their repertoire. The series debuted on the Super Nintendo with the self-titled game, a 16-bit racer that utilises the SNES’ Mode 7.  This was revolutionary at the time and set the foundations for beloved games such as Mario Kart, as it was with this debut title that the Mode 7 prospects were realised. Moving onto the Nintendo 64, we saw the series transcend into true 3D with F-Zero X. With 3D technology being the norm for games, the series had some competition at its back with the likes of WipeOut on the PlayStation, yet managed to still be as fast paced and exciting as it’s competitor, as well as use the unconventional N64 control quite well. The game also had an expansion kit for the N64 Disk Drive, which contained a track and vehicle editor as well as new music; however, this didn’t make it out of Japan. Moving onto the Nintendo GameCube and  we get to see the series become much more of an arcade racer with F-Zero GX, which was actually developed by Sega. F-Zero GX arguably found itself a style which is was comfortable with, in the form of a fairly challenging arcade racer. GX also had a story mode, rather than just a single player tournament, which helps reinforce the game world and characters.

    Outside of the console main releases, F-Zero had various titles on the Gameboy Advance, such as Maximum Velocity, GP Legend and the Japanese exclusive F-Zero Climax. However, the latter in the GBA series of games was the last F-Zero title to be released. This doesn’t mean that F-Zero was to fade into obscurity however, as Captain Falcon has been a resident of the Super Smash Bros since its initial release on the N64. If anything, despite there being a long gap in the series since the Wii succeeded the Gamecube, F-Zero has managed to keep itself relevant in the eyes of Nintendo fans, which gives purpose to today’s requisition to bring back F-Zero to the modern day console.

    Box art for the Japanese exclusive F-Zero Climax on the GBA

    WHY DOES IT NEEDS TO BE REBORN?

    F-Zero is just one of many forgotten franchises that Nintendo seems to have stashed away in it’s underwear drawer, like photos of a beloved ex-partner. Considering Nintendo are no longer known in the industry as technological heavy hitters, it becomes apparent that what they need to stay afloat is well-known and loved titles on their system. F-Zero was a fast paced experience that didn’t follow the tropes of kart racers, which meant it had more potential to be viewed as a serious racer. Sure, flying on upside down tracks isn’t the most realistic experience, but it comes down the the player being immersed in an a deathly experience of which the goal is to be in first place. In these types of games, the story doesn’t matter and neither do the characters, the important thing is that you feel like a true winner when you just pass by your a-hole of an opponent at the finish line. Racing games outside of the Nintendo circle have become a little bit too realistic, it makes you wonder at what stage would you be better off jumping in your own banged up car and burning some fuel for entertainment. With the Nintendo Switch coming very soon, now is Nintendo’s chance to redeem their neglectful status and bring back a title which could define the new console. Can you imagine having tournaments with eight players all huddled round their Switch consoles while actually hanging out in the same room? It’s the type of experience that you cannot emulate with modern day online racers and with an exciting title like F-Zero, we could see gaming social gatherings make a huge come back. Let’s be honest, we miss playing competitive games in the same room as our friends, it brings the atmosphere out of a pretend cloud of digital nonsense and back into our social lives. It might not seem like much reason for this specific title to be brought back, but F-Zero still has so much potential to return and capture the excitement of old and new fans alike, kind of like when Sly Stallone is in modern day films.

    Will the Nintendo Switch be the console to bring back the beloved racer?

    WHAT WOULD WE WANT TO SEE IN ANY REBIRTH?

    F-Zero already has an addictive, fast paced thrill-fest as an experience built into it’s foundations, so why can’t we just have more of these games on modern day hardware? Notice how the likes of Mario Kart hasn’t changed its formula much over the course of it’s lifespan: it’s because it wouldn’t be the same game if the game play changed. What Nintendo should really focus on is making a similar game to the last release while working on the physics and textures in order to create that wow factor, which in reality will help the Nintendo Switch gain some momentum.What we absolutely don’t want to see is a game that Nintendo feel they can force into a specific mould. Maybe it’s a good thing that F-Zero didn’t come to the Wii or Wii U, as it may have been plagued with strange gimmicky controls, which lose their novelty really easily (and didn’t do Starfox Zero any favours whatsoever). The less F-Zero changes in terms of it’s original structure, the better, as is evident in the well crafted formula of the previous games in the series. The series doesn’t need to have any fancy bells and whistles when being reborn, it just has to simply show up to the party, with maybe a six pack.

    No gimmicks, no tinkering, just bring us more F-Zero

    IS IT LIKELY?

    It’s certainly not impossible and most likely an eventuality. The real question is, will we get the game we actually want? Back in 2015 a Nintendolife video featuring Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed for us that F-Zero could return if they ‘…created a new type of controller interface’. This signifies that the Wii motion controls weren’t in mind for F-Zero, as the Wii U is now ready for retirement This tells us that perhaps the Nintendo Switch is going to be the console that is graced with the beloved racers return. As this is Nintendo however, we never quite know what might end up of F-Zero. Games like Metroid and Starfox have been anticipated for years, only to come back as weird deformed reflections of their old self, leaving us craving the real deal. All we can do now is wait patently for the initial launch of the Switch, so that we can see if F-Zero will be able to speed it’s way into our hearts once again.

    Phil Hayton
    A lover of old video games, dogs and tea. Creator of the video series 'Through The Techades' and something of a history geek.

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