Lessons from the Master: The Zen of Enduro Racer

June 1st, 2006 by Benj Edwards

Enduro RacerMy absolute favorite Sega Master System game is Enduro Racer. It's based on a Sega arcade title of the same name, but the play style is completely different. Instead of the "behind the rider" view of the arcade, you get a 2/3 overhead view of the action. The coolest thing about the SMS version Enduro Racer are the bike upgrades — there's something really satisfying about souping up your motorcycle with an improved "suspension" and watching it soar over the strategically placed ramps on the course. And who can forget "engine," which makes your bike run so fast that it can be hard for your brain and fingers to keep up (Note: if you get that upgrade you should avoid the ramps). Sega Control StickI always play the game with the Sega Control Stick, which I feel makes quick maneuvering around obstacles easier. It also somehow adds to the motorcycle feel of the game. That's about the only time my Sega Control Stick ever gets used.

The biggest bummer regarding Enduro Racer is the fact that there are only five tracks. In the course of the game, you play the tracks twice: once with only one opponent (a car or another motorcycle), and again with two opponents at a time. But when it's all over, there's quite a surprise treat at the end. Think of it as a little philosophy, Enduro Racer-style. Let's take a look at what happens when the credits roll.

Enduro Racer
It all starts quite innocently here. So far it looks like your average cheap 8-bit game ending.
Enduro Racer
But then it starts to get a bit heavy as text scrolls and the sappy Japanese game ending music starts…

"Enduro" is a symbolic journey through life via the media of a race.

Ah. So now we're on a first-name basis.

The results are insignificant and what really counts is competing.

Enduro Racer
Of particular importance are the lessons to be learned concerning one's self from the various encounters you experience along the way. (Such as cars, other motorcycles)

There is no victor or loser in this test of endurance.

Translation: Every race you just experienced did not really happen.

Enduro Racer
The only thing that really matters is that you make a commitment to begin the long and trying trek.

This game is then dedicated to all of the "life riders" who have started out on the solitary trip to find their own individual limits.

This whole "life riders" thing sounds like the perfect makings of an inside joke. Remind me to randomly reference it in future entries.

Enduro Racer
Last, but not least, may we sincerely congratulate you on a perfect run.

Why thank you, Enduro.

Enduro Racer
The End

This screen is quite a relief. While actually watching this wordy ending sequence scroll slowly up the screen ("What, no pictures?!"), part of you has a sinking feeling that it might continue on for a few hours, spouting out chapters and chapters of additional quasi-philosophical advice. At this point, my life is usually significantly changed enough — any more self-introspection and I might implode.

So there you have it. To all you life riders out there: the next time you put down an apparently dinky-looking 8-bit game, think back to Enduro Racer — a deceptively simple interactive experience that, when it's over, ends up transcending all media and teaching you new things about the very meaning of your existence.



2 Responses to “Lessons from the Master: The Zen of Enduro Racer

  1. El Blog de Manu » Master System (2ª Parte) Says:

    […] El desarrollo era completamente diferente a la recreativa homónima, pero es un juego de lo más carismáticos dentro de la 8 bits de SEGA. Como nota curiosa, el final tiene un mensaje de lo más trascendental. […]

  2. thepic Says:

    EPIC!!! EPIIIIIIIC!! i said.

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