Posts Tagged ‘California Dreams’

Race Around The Clock: Remembering Street Rod

A lot of our ideas about the 1950s and early ’60s come from the era’s nostalgic revival years later. Grease, Happy Days, and American Graffiti give us our stereotypical image of the period’s cool cats, but those are all from the 1970s. They represent a fictionalised version of the time that was unrecognisable to people who lived through it – even the word “greaser” wasn’t contemporary, but comes from S. E. Hinton’s 1967 novel The Outsiders. In their day the kids with quiffs would have been called juvenile delinquents or hoods.

I didn’t have a car when I was a teenager but I did have a Commodore 64, and it was as temperamental, arcane, and hard to get working as anyone’s first used car would be. A hand-me-down from my stepbrother, it came with a pile of dubious floppy disks, plus a few cassettes that rarely worked, and one of those floppies had Street Rod on it.

Street Rod is a game made in 1989 and set in 1963 but nostalgic for the 1950s. It’s also, by dint of its marriage of street racing with plot, mundane car maintenance, and the time limit of a single summer, a more progressive and interesting forebear to the modern Need For Speed.

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