August 03, 2005

Cry for help!

My favorite PC racing game, Star Wars Episode I Pod Racer, steadfastly refuses to run in Windows 2000. I tried to re-install and play it last night, but found myself cowering in the center of a shrinking circle of troubleshooting guides all chanting, "Win95/98 compatible only."

I'm distressed. That game has everything that I look for in a sedentary racing experience: a choice of vehicles, rewards in the form of upgrades for winning races, tricky courses, slick/bumpy/dangerous terrain, spectacular fiery crashes, "shortcuts" which take you a half-mile out of your way (see also tricky courses), gravitational anomalies, essential equipment flaws which will destroy your vehicle if you don't learn to compensate for them, and the need to balance your equipment options against your driving skill. Most importantly, you steer with your right hand. I can't deal with left-hand steering (as found in every game system from Nintendo on up and every game designed for people used to that interface).

I cannot bring myself to believe that the only game in existence that has all of these virtues is a piece of opportunistic merchandising nonsense from a Star Wars prequel. I'm confident that somewhere else in the universe a wise person has invented an equally excellent racing game that will, or may, run in Windows 2000 or DOS. I believe further that someone who is reading this has had his or her life enriched by the work of that unidentified, wise, game developer. If you are that person, I will go so far as to fling myself at your feet and implore you to tell me the name of this game and where I might find it.

I spent an hour last night working on the part of my return-to-school paperwork that I was most dreading, the nebulous and ill-defined Personal Statement. (Katie, because I know you're going to bring this up, the statement is, "I may or may not be nebulous, or something.") I managed to pin it to a page-long detailed outline and hold it there until it stopped struggling, which was such a triumph that at the end of the hour I immediately declared a period of celebratory gaming. Hence, this entry.

Posted by dianna at August 3, 2005 01:25 PM

God, I hate personal statements. They take me months of agony to write. I'm impressed by your hour.

Posted by: jasonshamai at August 3, 2005 03:16 PM

Don't be too impressed. My hour only slew the first head of my personal statement's personal Cerberus. With The Fuck Kind Of Topic Do You Call This? dead, it remains for me to battle I Sound Like An Idiot and Where Are My Segues? I mustn't get cocky.

Nonetheless, thank you.

Posted by: "Piranha" at August 3, 2005 03:51 PM

Ah, but more heads spring up, like the dreaded "Maybe If I Just Be Real Cutesy I Can Endear My Way In."

Posted by: jasonshamai at August 3, 2005 04:26 PM

"If you want to ask me who my hero for my life is, I think I would have to say my mom. Because my mom raised me and brought me up, and she had to work full time and she had to take many different jobs. So the person of all my admiration, well, that would have to be good old Mom."

Posted by: didofoot at August 4, 2005 01:01 PM

"...and still have time to look good for my dad, Lester Leeman."

Posted by: "Piranha" at August 4, 2005 01:36 PM

Shit, I have got to stop posting as a voracious fish.

Posted by: Dianna at August 4, 2005 01:38 PM

oh my god, a "drop dead gorgeous" reference?!? as i live and breathe!

Posted by: julie at August 4, 2005 02:27 PM

Continually, I hope.

Posted by: Dianna at August 4, 2005 03:18 PM


I used to like that game too. But kinda lost it once the win 98's aged off! Besides I am not much into racing games. Tell me if its still available somewhere, though. I think I would give it a shot again. I suppose you have tried this, already. Might just work.

And nice blog, btw!

Posted by: Anshul at August 4, 2005 09:52 PM

The link in the previous comment seems pretty helpful. If you still have problems you can look at for some more tricks. Most notably if your computer can handle it you can try installing DOSBox.

Posted by: Katia at August 5, 2005 08:31 AM

Oooh... I had wondered about DOSBox, actually. I had it before I changed my operating system, but haven't re-installed it yet and haven't been sure if it'll help with a game that's supposed to run in Windows instead of DOS. I'll try it and see what it can do for me.

The main problem I'm having -- since I just realized I didn't mention this -- seems to be with my video card and/or driver (nVidia). When I try to launch the game I get "3D error - no 3D hardware found". I've downloaded and re-installed the driver, I've installed DirectX per the advice of the troubleshooting guide, and when I run the game's system requirements check it recognizes that I have the hardware (though it still grumbles about the wrong operating system), but it won't use it to run the game.

I managed to find two patches that were released to make the game compatible with Windows XP, but strangely enough neither of them mentioned this problem. Naturally, neither of them fixed it either. Hrmph.

Posted by: Dianna at August 5, 2005 11:06 AM

You can try running dxdiag (Start->Run->dxdiag) and fiddling with the settings of the video card. In particular you can try dialing the hardware acceleration up or down.

Posted by: Katia at August 5, 2005 11:31 AM