Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every weekday of the year, perhaps for all time.
Released in 1991, the original Micro Machines was not a great game. It didn’t have the speed and challenge of Overdrive or the satisfying physics of Skidmarks. But what it had instead were tracks lined by cereals and egg yolks that slowed you down and so needed to be avoided. As a kid, I loved it.
It helped probably that I was in the Target Demographic. I was six-years-old in 1991 and I owned the toys – that is, the miniature models shaped to resemble real cars, which were perfect for scooting along flat wooden tabletops, losing underneath living room couches, and leaving in small piles where they could be painfully stood upon by wrathful adults.
I think I liked the game in part because it represented something else I enjoyed, but mostly it was because the tracks were really fun: a pool table in which you could fall into the pockets; desks lined with chalk and sharpeners, where rulers form bridges and create ramps; a hardware worktable dribbled with oil and sticky glue. If I saw a Micro Machines-like game today, I’d roll my eyes at the lack of creativity and assumed nostalgia, but as a kid I simply thought it was cute.