Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Some games, I can still remember what was remarkable about them even years later. That’s not true of Screamer. I played it when I was very young, but the truth is I’m not sure there was anything remarkable about it. It was a fast and attractive arcade-style racing game on PC at a time when there weren’t many of those, but what made me love it was the rivalry it created between me and my brothers.
My brothers are both substantially older than I am, and the rivalry was mainly between the two of them. I was on the periphery of their competition, playing the game a lot but without the skill necessary to match or beat the times they’d set on each track.
At first, anyway. I think what I lacked in skill I made up for in tenacity. Probably this is because I was younger and so it mattered much more to me that I be taken seriously by the older two, but I spent hours and hours over days, weeks and months playing Screamer and trying to get closer and then further than their times. I succeeded, I think, but only after both of them had lost interest in the game entirely.
So how much credit does Screamer deserve for my memories and fondness for it, and how much was it simply a case of the right game appearing at the right time? It definitely had a great sense of speed. The screenshots of it look colourful now, like a slightly grimier Ridge Racer or Outrun. But the truthful answer is that I’ve no idea. It doesn’t matter to me.