If I actually had any old flames of such calibre that, upon re-encountering them some years later, I was so blown away by their charm and beauty that I wondered why I'd ever broken up with them in the first place, I would surely have a most excellent analogy for how it felt to play Audiosurf for the first time in months. But I don't, so I don't.
What I do have is Audiosurf back in my life (and the rather surprising discovery that I hadn't yet played any LCD Soundsystem on it. This has now been corrected), and lo, I am happy. The reason for this slight return is the release of a meaty free update to the MP3-racing synaesthesia supremo. Sexy details on this sexy so-called 'FM Update' are waiting sexily beneath the sexy cut...
There's a bunch of minor and major tweaks in there, but the most interesting ones concern the game's thoughtful but arguably slightly crude community features. Now, you can leave comments on the scoreboard of any song, which should egg on rivalries nicely; there's a personalised news feedy thing - kinda like the main page of Facebook, but dishing dirt on when your chums last played and stuff like that; and, perhaps most importantly, there's proper mod support.
A few mods are available already from here, and include neat stuff like changing your MSN Messenger status to the song you're surfing, and cried-out for features such as shuffle and playlist modes. It's the obvious way forward for Audiosurf - a quiet evolution into an all-purpose, compellingly interactive music player, rather than, as before, a great idea operating in something of a vacuum.
My favourite of the new features is perhaps one of the least important - Freeride mode can now be left running as a auto-visualisation while you're in other applications, and automatically switches to the next track in a folder or playlist. It does rather unfortunately mean I'm going to spend hours staring vacantly at end-of-2001-a-Space-Odyssey light patterns with an empty blog entry window behind 'em, but it's a fine way to appreciate just how cleverly beat-matched Audiosurf's background effects are, which I so often don't notice when I'm playing the thing.
Anyway, it's a timely refresh for a wonderful game, and if you boot up Steam now, the patch/add-on will be applied momentarily. There's a whole bunch of treats I've not mentioned, so full patch-notes are below. And here's where to buy Audiosurf if you haven't already, you fool.
--Comments tab on every song's scoreboard
--Customized player news on the song loading screen (when friends last played, songs you're champion of, etc...)
--Command interface for 3rd party mod apps (extensions)
--New hover vehicle for Eraser Elite
--Added Vegas ability: generate a random powerup every 60 seconds
--You can play freeride as a music visualizer on your desktop while other applications are running, and it will automatically advance to the next song in your current folder or current m3u playlist
--Improved Strategy Guide look
--Eraser Elite now has 8 rows of tiles (like Pusher Elite)
--Score browser now refreshes popular songs when you first open it
--Added blending to top and bottom black frame in gameplay
--Add a graphic to display your chain reaction multiplier at the bottom of the screen
--Longer-lasting fireworks on enhanced detail
--Maximum song length extended to 60 minutes
--Made additional texture mods possible (tiles, tileflyups, cliff)
--If you put a traffic.png file in the textures folder it will be used for traffic instead of blocks
--Going back in song browser remembers mousewheel scroll position
--Sound effect theme is saved between play sessions
--Checkbox added to stop being shown character videos
--Added OK button to the loading/news page. Gives you more time to read the news on the loading page if you want it
--No longer automatically goes fullscreen when maximizing
--X360 controller can now pause/resume play with the Start button
--Restored view track shapes and report button on scoreboard
--Fixed: unknown song text showing over strategy guide
--Chosen fullscreen resolution is now remembered between sessions
--Fixed Pusher Elite bonus text from 25% to 100% on loading screen
--Moved the "Drill" away from the track (would sometimes overlap)
--Fixed "Next Song" button when used with Recently Played Songs list
--Fixed: Resizing window could make the track temporarily disappear
--Fixed: was possible to click buttons on the scoreboard screen before getting there
--Block captures that force an early match collection are no longer lost
--Greatly reduced delay after resuming from a pause
--Fixed: menu background animation could get stuck
--Personal best is now stored correctly when playing from an m3u playlist
--Playlist files (m3u) now correctly ignore all comments and http paths
--Adjusted mouse sensitivity scaler
--Restored single-cursor on menu screens