Have You Played… Trackmania Nations Forever?

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

Trackmania Nations Forever was, I guess, a free-to-play version of the multiplayer stunt racer. I say “I guess” because I never spent any money on it and don’t even remember seeing things you could spend money on.

Trackmania is Trackmania is Trackmania, but if you don’t know: there’s a car, it goes fast; there’s a track, it has holes and jumps and turbo pads and loops; and you compete online or in leaderboards to get the fastest time. It’s the kind of racing game you can comfortably play using your keyboard’s arrow keys without feeling as if you’re betraying some underlying physics system. You’ll crash a lot, banging into corners and falling off the track, but restarts and resets are instant.

In Nations Forever, I spent hundreds of hours incrementally learning tracks till I could finish them, and then continued to lower my times hundreds more. The reward for this was the kinetic pleasure of mastering the tracks, but also climbing the regional leaderboards. I’d work on finishing tracks faster till I was high up the rankings for the south west of England. Buoyed with pride, I’d look at the leaderboard for the entire country or even for Europe, and instantly scurry back to the regional leaderboards.

Trackmania is Trackmania is Trackmania, but Nations Forever was the only Trackmania that was free. It’s made me a lifelong fan.

9 Comments

  1. PseudoKnight says:

    I loved Trackmania Nations Forever. I think I cleared all the courses (almost all at A or higher) except one before my save file disappeared on me (despite an account system in the game and having backed up the files anyway). The gameplay is so pure and the level editor was fun. Ultimately Ubisoft antics put me off the franchise, though.

  2. caerphoto says:

    For the the main appeal of Trackmania has always been track building. The built-in track editor is great, and I’ve spent countless hours in it making all sorts of fun stuff.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Godwhacker says:

    Great game, with great servers all running mad custom tracks. Couldn’t quite get into Trackmania 2 after this, as it was basically perfect.

  4. Urthman says:

    Trackmania had and incredibly addictive loop for me:

    1. New Track! Woohoo! Neat! Yikes! Oops! Haha! Bronze! I can totally do this one!

    2. Zoom! Yeah, I know how this track works. Silver!

    3. Ah. 4. Oh. 5. Yeah…c’mon. 6. That’s..uh.. 7. Oh! 8. Dang. 9. Yes..got it…no. 10. Grr. 11. SO CLOSE! 12 Grr. 13. GOLD! YES YES YES!

    14. New Track! Woohoo! Neat! Oh this is easy. Yikes! Oops! Haha! Bronze! I can totally do this one!

  5. davebo says:

    Loved the hell out of this game and Trackmania 2 just didn’t bring me in the same way.

  6. randyo says:

    And then when you first beat one of the hidden Author/Nadeo times.. Oh man the hours I poured into this game. All for free!?

  7. Jerkzilla says:

    Oh yes, loved it! I used to take turns with my brother when it came out, it’s practically burned into my memory now, firing it up just takes me back.

  8. Kollega says:

    I did play it, but it seems it just wasn’t for me. The game just kinda failed to grab me, as surprising as that may sound. At least when I tried it… that was a long time ago.

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