When I was a young lad first learning to drive, like most, I had the car I was aspiring to buy. It wasn’t my dream car mind – that was and always will be the Lancia Stratos – but rather it was the car that was a little bit special but just not out reach. That car was the Ford KH Laser TX3 Turbo, the turbocharged hatchback that was the street legal version of the sort of car you’d see flying around dusty and dirty rally stages, and the sort of car my dad as a former police officer couldn’t help but picture wrapped around a stobie pole. And he was adamant I wouldn’t be in it.
Needless to say I never ended up with that car – instead I purchased a rather more modest 1983 Nissan Pulsar – but years later I still have a serious soft sport for Ford’s classic turbo-charged hatch. Even if it is old and quite frankly a little shitty, in much the same way most mass-produced cars are after a good thirty years, I still see it the same way I did as a bright-eyed teenager craving the freedom car ownership would bring with it.
There is something about the one that got away, and whether it be the blood-and-guts film your parents didn’t allow you to watch (for me it was Terminator 2) or the much desired game you just never owned. It’s these mythical things from your childhood and early adulthood – the ones that got away – that drive a hell of a lot of our nostalgia in our older adulthood. And until the moment you finally set eyes on it or pick up a controller and delve in it’ll be something of a white whale that you’ll never stop dreaming of owning.
That game for me was Donkey Kong for the Game Boy, which despite renting and playing to death, I never owned. And I tell you what the moment I finally picked up 10 years after the fact was a truly sweet moment. But it wasn’t without compromise, and in the ten years that had passed, the game certainly looked like a game that had seen a few christmases. If I squinted though, the game was everything I dreamed it was, and I was happy as Larry playing a game I’d dreamt of playing again since before there was hair down there.
And it was great for a game that was released in 1994. Just like the TX3 was a great car when in 1989. And if you contextualise things that way, you’ll never be disappointed.
You see I’ll likely never own that automotive object of my teenage affection, but I’ll always have the desire to own one, even when rationally that would be a significant down step from the car I actually drive. But nostalgia is a magical thing, if you let it be, and rose tinted glasses can truly be your friend and prevent your childhood memories and aspirations from being sullied. Because when you put things in context, every game is as good as it was the day it was released. You just need to stop saying “it hasn’t aged well”, because that game could well be someone’s TX3.
Hasta La Vista, Baby.
Sir Gaulian is a self-confessed bogan, a racing game fan, and the (somehow still) proud owner of a Casio Edifice Red Bull Racing watch. He dreams of a world where the next Formula One game is a little bit more like Persona. Yes, really.