[Games of Summer is a recurring seasonal retrospective highlighting those magical titles that evoke wondrous thoughts of warm weather, carefree days, and discovery. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll reflect on said titles and analyze why they meant so much to us then -- and just as much now.]
I don’t know… maybe I was a nerd. But back in the day, during summer recess, I actually thought about school. I missed my friends, I missed class, I missed being apart of something. Summer for me was pretty “blah” as a kid. Growing up in the city, the pool and sprinkler (aka the fire hydrant on the corner) were pretty much all the summer excitement that we were going to get. As you can see, that can get pretty lame, pretty quick. For that same reason, the game that reminds me of summer is Rival Schools for the original PlayStation.
It embodied everything I loved about school, minus the beating the crap out of each other. But hey, who didn’t wish that they could have knocked the hell out of their teacher for assigning a pop quiz (knowing full well you didn’t study and were completely unprepared)?
Rival Schools was easy to pick-up, a button mashing classic, and had some lovable characters. Like Akira, the cross dressing biker chick. Or Diago, the bad boy with the cool eye scar. And even Tiffany Lords with her humongous…glove. All the classic personality types were there. The jocks, the outsiders, the rich kids; it was easy to find a clique with who you could belong. It was like The Breakfast Club of video games. The 2-disc game was an awesome translation of the arcade version and offered training and even sub-sports related mini games.
So faithfully, during the summer, I played Rival Schools and day-dreamed of school days past and those to come. With a game like this, nerds could easily transform into the school’s star baseball players, the outcasts could easily re-imagine themselves the most popular people in class, and the loners could actually find themselves getting along with others. And if that isn’t enough and all else fails…just beat the crap out of everybody.