I’ve only written one of these articles, which you can read here. However, it’s as if the rest of the vurbmoto staff assumed I would never write this article again. Why do I say that? Because it hasn’t been listed as feature article in our “Features” drop down menu. To be fair, I also do not have the elusive vurbmoto Hipster beanie, or return calls from the found/CEO/owner @WashedupWes. So, perhaps, I don’t actually work here and this entire article is superfluous? Who am I even writing for right now? You? Me? Nobody? Is anybody out there?
While I search for answers, let’s sit back and read another installment of Forgotten Gems, where I write about rad pieces of film, video games, and more from the 19990s and early 2000s and blatantly misremember how cool shit actually was back then and you disagree with me. It’s gonna be great.
The year is 2022. Ten years earlier, Red Bull, who is a damn energy drink company, sent a man into the stratosphere so that he could then free fall back down to Earth while the aforementioned energy drink company streamed the entire thing across the globe… Live. An energy drink company. Did that. If you ask me, that is what I would call the definition of progression.
Meanwhile, in 2022, video game creators are still fumbling when it comes to creating a realistic and authentic looking Supercross/motocross video game for us to enjoy. Maybe we need Red Bull to dip its toes into the video game space for us? While Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Video Game is on installment 526 of its franchise, I do not believe the game has reached the realistic potential we all crave and deserve. Sure, they have real riders, real SX tracks, real bike manufactures, and more, but the physical game play and look isn’t close to what I believe is capable.
Why do video game riders look more stiff then John Baker and Francis Poncherello cruising down the 210 freeway while filming an episode of one of my favorite shows, CHiPs? I realize there is a technical element to all of this that I do not understand, but again, if an energy drink company can put a man into space, certainly we can have dirt bike video games that looks accurate.
Now that I’ve pissed off the remaining two people that read my bull shit, let’s go back to the golden ages of the sport and video games. When we think about dirt bike video games of the 1990s, we think of gems like ExciteBike, Jeremy McGrath Supercross ’98, Championship Motocross Ricky Carmichael, and one of my personal favorites, Supercross Circuit which was truly the first of its kind in looking and feeling real.
However, enter the forgotten gem of 1998: Motocross Madness for PC. In terms of video games, Motocross Madness truly changed my perspective on how realistic a dirt bike video game could be. The video game was one the first of its kind where the sounds of the dirt bikes were accurate. The 125s and 250s sounded exactly how they should sound, as did the four-strokes. That, in and of itself, was a big win in the genre of dirt bike video games.
While the MX Vs ATV franchise really elevated the graphics and realism of dirt bike video games throughout 2000s, Motocross Madness, was at the first game that truly felt “real” in terms of graphics, rider posture, being able to do real whips, and overall feel of game play. Vividly, I remember coming home from a day of riding and going straight to the computer to play Motocross Madness until my eyes were shutting because I was so exhausted. If you had a bad day at the track, coming home to play some MCM1 or MCM2 would make the day much better. What I am explaining here is purely public opinion, but to help me back up my opinion, let’s provide you with some statistics.
MCM1 went onto win 1998’s Race Game of the Year from Computer Games Strategy Plus; PC Gamer US named it the best racing game of 1998, and the game was a finalist for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ 1998 “Sports Game of the Year” and “Outstanding Achievement in Software Engineering” awards. Meanwhile, MCM2 also had similar accolades upon its release as Computer Gaming World named MCM2 the best racing game of 2000, claiming “far and away the most viscerally pleasing and outright fun racing game we’ve played in a longtime.” MCM2 won the “Editor’s Choice Award” from PC Gamer, while Computer Games Magazine nominated MCM2 as the “Best Racing Game of the Year.” Sure, these two installments released in 1998 and 2000 so perhaps these accolades mean nothing 23 plus years later, but I believe they stand the test of time as two of the best motocross video games ever created.
When MCM2 released, it featured former 2000 125cc East Coast Supercross champion, Stephen Roncada, on the cover. The game also featured the ability for users to create their own custom tracks, sets of gear, bike graphics (back then we called them custom skins), and licensed motorcycle manufactures via Yamaha, KTM, Suzuki, and Honda. Oh, and uh… One other thing. It was the first time I ever experience a racing game that featured online gameplay with anybody around the world thanks to the MSN Gaming Network, otherwise known amongst us dorks as “The Zone” if I remember correctly. Amongst the myriad of features that made the game so exciting, one that stood out the most to me was the custom track situation. Anybody, anywhere in the world could build their own custom tracks via Adobe Photoshop and Armadillo Terrain Editor and upload them for other users to download and play online with others. Some of the most unique, creative, and technical Supercross and motocross video game tracks were realized thanks to this feature. Track creators were creating replicas of the early 2000 SX tracks while other track creators focused on creating the entire outdoor motocross circuit in very realistic fashion. This, of course, lead to different online series’ where people would race a Supercross replica series and then move into the outdoor replica series. And, while the custom track editor feature was perhaps the most realistic and accurate editor ever for a motocross game, the custom bike and gear skins were just as realistic and authentic.
One last thing about the custom track editor, it was this video game franchise (I think) that helped show us fans that Stephen Roncada was quite a video game enthusiast. Aside from being on the cover of the second installment of MCM and his love for In N Out Burger, RonRon was consistent in building custom tracks for all of us gamers to download and race on. One of which was the replica of RonRonLand, which was Stephen’s private Supercross track in his backyard. As I mentioned in the last installment of Forgotten Gems, RonRonLand was, to my knowledge, the first-ever private Supercross track that a racer built in their backyard. It was a big deal back then and when RonRon created a replica of the track for us MCM nerds to play, I was like a kid at Christmas. I couldn’t download it fast it enough. Those were truly some magical and exciting times in our sport and world of dirt bike video games.
Come present day, my video game obsession has mellowed out a bit. I don’t play too often and, when I do, it’s GTAV Online with a few good friends or MLB The Show via a PS4. That’s the extent of my video game play, but I am aware of MX Simulator, which reminds me a lot of the MCM franchise. And, in my opinion, like MCM 1 & 2, MX Simulator proves that you can create a realistic dirt bike video game with a rider physics that look and feel authentic and as accurate to real life as one can get. So, obviously it is possible.
Nonetheless, the short-lived Motocross Madness franchise was such a iconic video game, yet an often forgotten gem as we tend to think of the other games I mentioned, along with the very iconic and popular MX Vs ATV franchise, which did a great job of taking the MCM physics and putting into a video game console form. There was just something about MCM that’ll be very special to me and I can’t say I ever see another video game provide the same feelings and vibes as that series and community did.
If you remember playing this game, what was your favorite aspect of the game? And, do you think we’ll ever see something come through our niche bubble as good as MCM? Or, have we in the name of MX Simulator and I am just so out of touch that I don’t even realize it?