Need for ‘Speed Racer’ – EA Resurrecting the Anime Legend?


I am unsure yet if this will turn into a tongue-in-cheek post or not, but I’ll suss things out soon enough. Anyway, the esteemed TouchArcade have brought to headlamps two great ideas in one thread. Firstly, Electronic Arts should get off their  lollygagging duffs and publish Need for Speed for the iPhone. We touch gamers have waited long enough for  this mega-delayed game. Hype has worn down considerably so that EA stand to lose much of the revenue they would have made if Need for Speed was buttoned up in a timely fashion. Secondly, the TA article made me think that Apple need a shiny, tough, stupid or lovable character that will be forever burn in people’s minds as Apple’s mascot.

What kicked this bunny trail off was TA’s thread entitled, ‘EA’s Need for Speed Racer Coming “Very Soon”‘. My brain arbitrarily read, ‘Need for Speed-Racer Coming’ – in other words, I read a 60’s animated series of the same name into one of the greatest racing franchises of the last two decades. I am not a big cartoon fan nor do I have a real affinity for racing game. However, I do love a good mascot and from time to time, muse that Apple’s iPhone may eventually need a loveable character to drive a franchise games series. Back in the so-called Golden Age of video games, simple ideas were needed to pad tight programming. When ideas began to run against hardware walls, characters emerged that defined consoles and franchises for years to come. 

Pioneering heroes of those early games are still among our favourites today: Mario, Sonic, Solid Snake, Link, Ryu, Roger Wilco, Leisure Suit Larry, Samus and a myriad of others. We are in the earliest days of iPhone gaming and though our beloved machine sports some historic characters in its immense line up of games, it has no original heroes who have grown up from within Apple. While a glorious thought, it may actually be absurd to think of Apple, a company who have grown up with larger-than-life figures as in need of franchise-leading characters. Besides, Apple’s cultural icons aren’t exactly the type to drive excitement when mashing virtual buttons are they? The Mac Guy’s been taken in Zack and Miri, Dodgeball and will probably be queued up for the next version of The Office II as another smug Jim/Tim-like character. How about a vegetable munching Mr. Jobs? The Dancing Woz? Big Brother who reassembles itself in order to thwart Apple’s liberating ‘Think Differnt’ campaigns? What real options do Apple have as a company to create a rallying point other than hardware for its fans?

Perhaps it is my spiritual roots coming out, but I really want to rally around something other than a bit of steel and hard glass. When Sony’s Playstation first entered the gaming arena, people were worried that without a mascot, it would fail. Well, in the computer world, Apple are similar to what Sony are in the console world. Expensive, check. Well designed, check. Tightly reined hardware, check. Apple’s hardware has in one form or another, had gaming monuments from long ago, but their achievements in that arena have fallen away since before the return of Jobs to Apple. The iPhone is the first big gaming step that Apple have taken in years and it warrants an unforgettable hero or heroine. While my innermost spirit groans, hoping for a rallypoint, my outer man is tired and scared as it envisions Linux’ Tux cutting deep skate-lines into the glassy surface of the iPhone.

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