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Have You Played... Screamer?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Some games, years later, I can still remember what was remarkable about them. I played Screamer 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, I think, but what made love it was the rivalry it inspired between my brothers and I.

My brothers are both substantially older than I am, which means the rivalry was mainly between both of them. I was on the periphery, playing the game a lot but without the dexterity to compete with the times they’d set on each laps.

At first, anyway. I think what I lacked in skill I made up for in tenacity. Probably this is because I was the younger brother and so it mattered much more to me that I be taken seriously, but I spent hours and hours over days, weeks and months playing Screamer and trying to get closer and further than their times. I succeeded, if memory serves, but only after the point where both of them had lost interest.

So how much credit does Screamer deserve for my memories and fondness of it, and how much of it was simply a case of the right game appearing at the right time? It was definitely fast moving and I liked that. The screenshots of it look colourful now, like a somewhat grimier Ridge Racer or Outrun. But the truthful answer is that I’ve no idea. It doesn’t matter to me.

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Graham Smith

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