Genre: Racing
Year: 1996
Developed by: Nintendo EAD
Published by: Nintendo
Platforms: N64
Feeling Like: Jet Skey

It is 1996 and a majority of Mr. Ollech’s Grade 7 class are huddled around a TV in the classroom. School ended hours ago, but we were all there to perform, or backstage support our theatrical production of House of Frankenstein. Since were an all boys school, a few of us were “rewarded” with female roles; I was one of them. Isabel Channing, the lover of the Phantom of the Opera. I had such a blast onstage that it would lead to a lifetime of treading the boards.

But the Green Room was where the real fun was had.

Prior to the show, we would play various N64 games. Since this was late 1996, we only had a few real selections and Wave Race 64 was the obvious winner. I remember not believing how realistic the water looked; using wave heights as momentum to launch myself in the air and pulling off unnecessary flips made it VERY hard to concentrate on studying lines or remembering my cue.

Being down never means you’re out

Jet Skis are weird. They’re fast, dangerous, unnecessary vehicles. Nobody uses them for commuting or for tugging cargo across vast oceanic distances. Nope, they’re purely for looking like a jackass along the water and for making people on land jealous; Jet Skis are awesome.

I’ve only ridden on a Jet Ski once, naturally it was amazing. My Aunt Sharon took both Kyla and myself at their cottage on Gold Lake in Ontario. I’m pretty sure their version wasn’t supposed to take three people, but that’s non-lake people talk. We did it, it was terrifying, it was great. Thankfully, we didn’t have to race anybody or go off jumps to collect points.

Which is why we have video games. (Not pictured – Aunt Sharon)

This was one of the first 3D games we all got a chance to try, mind you. Every facet of it was amazing and it actually still looks pretty good, 24 years later. Maneuvering in the air, taking tight turns, risking shortcuts, navigating the beautiful tracks and taking on big waves were all part of it. I rarely hear about it discussed online, but after watching a few videos to recap my memories, I’m sort of stumped as to why. Maybe it was too early in the N64’s launch to make an impact? Mario Kart 64 and other racers lapped it in terms of public perception, perhaps?

Another aspect that’s utterly unforgettable is the voice acting. Well, I don’t know if you can call it voice acting – voice announcing maybe? You have a pleasant, calm female voice welcoming you to Sunny Beach, or Drake Lake (my favorite). Then, you have a male announcer who clearly took something prior to his recordings and is ultra passionate about racing on the waves. Nearly every buoy you pass correctly will result in him yelling “OK!” or “OH-KAYY!”. Getting your Power to Max Power will result in a “MAXIMUM POWER!” It’s hard not to laugh, and get fired up when this guy is urging you on. Who gets this excited at a niche water sport?

Well, other than a bunch of 12 year olds hopped up on sugar prior to performing their very first play in front of the entire school and their families. How was the show? Well, it went OH-KAY!

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