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S.EXE: OutRun 2006

Gush with love

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The sound of the sea on the menu of the classic arcade racer OutRun 2006 is drifting through Tim Rogers’ Oakland apartment. For whatever reason I find myself in the ex-Grasshopper Manufacture designer’s house, and this guy is making a game, ‘Videoball’, that demands that the voice actor on his new game sound like she comes from OutRun 2006. So I am playing OutRun 2006. It is eye-wettingly beautiful. It is heartbreakingly so. I could cry but I’m dehydrated from California’s stubborn sticky hotness and how gosh darned vegan everything is.

The screeching of the children from the school from across the freesia-fragranced, sun bleached street has subsided, and Tim is cutting audio clips and swearing at the wi-fi. And the game’s menu, the game that Tim once called ‘Love: The Videogame’, well, the game’s menu is doing a perfect impression of contentment. This game is no longer available due to licencing troubles, but man, if anything was ever a game, this, THIS was a game. And I’m on a quest for the ‘ejaculatory gag’. You know, the one that Kieron mentioned in 2008, and I have never found: “I’m still terribly amused by the hyper-cheesy ejaculatory gag half-way through.”

OutRun 2006’s real triumph is how easily it articulates a young man’s fear of emasculation in front of a woman. OutRun 2006’s premise is that you are racing pristine Ferraris, impressing the girl in the passenger seat, making her gush with love every time you overtake a ‘Rival’, or get close but not too close to another car, drifting on sharp curves, or simply winning a race or minigame. Little hearts appear whenever you shift gear and execute something she likes, as if love were a series of corners you drift together, and that’s all. As if it is easy to see where you have failed in life, and where you can improve. Not only does it portray two objects of desire – a Ferrari – a REAL Ferrari – and a hot blonde woman who loves said Ferrari, but it represents the precarious ego of a young man who has just become aware that he might have to become something in order to be worthy of dating someone else.

Of course it’s a simplistic vision born of the sort of politics that tell men that they are entitled to hot women as soon as they have money – once one purloins a Ferrari, a blonde should follow, and of course once one dates a ‘hot’ ‘blonde’ AND possesses a Ferrari one is guaranteed to be happy (the game somewhat accurately depicts this last part as false) but what the game does is promise that here at least, if you win a race in your shiny red you are hypothetically entitled to be sucked off in an enthusiastic manner, even if it never happens in the game. It presents the world as a simple, beautiful, gamified concept with a specifically defined reward, that of the hypothetical naked roadmap of a pretty girl.

The idea that hot blondes are impressed by fast cars, winning races, and that they fall in love with you the more you slide into a frictionified drift, scraping asphalt into blue skies – this is the world that heterosexual adolescent, and sometimes fully grown men are encouraged to believe in. A fantasy world in which women are not people but algorithms whose erogenous zones work like checkpoints on tarmac. And I’m willing to accept this flimsy construction, if only because I guess at one point in my life at least, perhaps when I was seventeen, I’ve dreamt of being a woman on the open road with a hot blond guy in the passenger seat, and being able to make him weak by sliding into a ridiculous drift, or slipstreaming into first in some imaginary race. It is extraordinary to me at least, that no one has made an OutRun where the woman is at least in the driving seat, and the guy squeals with delight as she comes first. Pun intended.

As it is, I cannot drive. I did, however, once in my life, work as a tester on GTA IV, which is almost as good as knowing how to drive.

Anyway I’m ON THE ROAD trying to find this ‘ejaculatory gag’ (which sounds like a terrible end to a blowjob) KG mentioned. “I’m still terribly amused by the hyper-cheesy ejaculatory gag half-way through.” In single player OutRun mode the girl in the passenger seat says “How far are you gonna take me?” half way through the race. What are the chances that the ‘ejaculation joke’ is this comment?

1) The game is clearly a huge euphemism for sex as it is
2) ‘How far’ indicates that the girl estimates that this guy in the driving seat might not get her to the ‘end’
3) ‘Take’ is pleasingly allusive to sexual intercourse
4) Perhaps she is just literally referring to where she might get dropped off on the race course because she might have a yoga class to attend.

Further into the race the girlfriend exclaims “I wanna go far away”. Is this the ejaculation joke?
1) Is this because she suspects that the ejaculation in question will be very violent
2) Is this because she suspects that her boyfriend is not very considerate about where he ejaculates
3) Is this because she is just annoyed that his conversation is banal
4) Is she trying to escape her abusive father and you are the only ticket out of here and have I made light of a very serious situation?

There is a mode called “Heart Attack”.
1) Will the ejaculation be so violent as to trigger a heart attack?
2) Will some hearts attack his penis triggering an ejaculation?
3) Will his impending heart attack trigger the ejaculation?

In the Heart Attack mode, the girlfriend exclaims “What fun!”
1) Are ejaculations inherently fun?
2) Does this girl particularly like ejaculations?
3) Is he ejaculating right now like a fountain
4) Is she being incredibly sarcastic amidst an ejaculation

The OutRun mode in the game has the caption “Try to reach the goal with your girlfriend”.

1) ‘The goal’ is always an orgasm, right?
2) Is this always going to be ‘your’ (the man’s) goal? Is it the *man’s* orgasm?
3) Is ‘the goal’ her orgasm?
4) There appears to be only one goal, so there cannot be two orgasms?
5) I’m really confused about the goal. What does this have to do with orgasms

There is a music track for the game that can be selected before you begin a mode called “Splash Wave”. Is this the ejaculation joke?
1) Is the wave related to spooge?
2) How much splash are we talking?
3) This seems like an excessive amount of ejaculation

There is also a track called “Passing Breeze”.
1) This could be related to the fact that the driver of the car is ready to go off at any second, a ‘passing breeze’ could trigger an unwanted ejaculation

One of the tracks is called “Risky Ride”.
1) Does this imply sexual goings-on without contraception? This seems careless.

All in all, OutRun 2006 is a pretty brazen euphemism for attempting to sleep with a girl, or even the actual act of sex itself. The simplistic nature of the whole thing – ‘win a race to impress her’ conflates two of the most anxiety-inducing aspects of masculinity: winning competitions, and getting laid. It’s especially troubling that the girl actually beats up on you if you lose a race (one girlfriend actually tries to strangle you at the end of a failed race). If I were a guy, I suspect it would be nice sometimes to not have to be judged by either standard. I guess videogames do a terrible job of busting gender norms in that sense: after all, what about the men?

Kieron Gillen was unavailable for comment on his comment*

*Kieron Gillen was not approached for comment

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Cara Ellison

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Senior Scottish Correspondent, often known as the Notorious C A E, though mostly by her mum

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