When deciding which title to feature each week I find it can be hard to remember those games that I spent so much time with as a child. Looking for inspiration I took a trip back to my parents house, found the draw that still houses an original Playstation and looked through my games. Next to a copy of, the completely not forgotten gem, Tomb Raider II I discovered a platinum copy of Micro Machines V3, which instantly brought back a flood of memories. Hours spent sat in front of a small screen getting lost in the pocket-sized worlds.
Micro Machines V3 was released on the Sony Playstation in 1997. These were the years of the original Playstation, with its rectangular design and those stylistic vents on each side. Long before its illegitimate child with modern technology came along, known as the PSone. Developed by Warwickshire based game developers Codemasters, who are responsible for such greats as Operation Flashpoint, Overlord, Collin McRae, Lord of the Rings: Online and the soon to be reborn DIZZY series. The Micro Machines game series is based upon the toys of the same name. The tiny cars and trucks have been on sale since the 80s and are popular with kids that want all the joy of car ownership but on a smaller scale. The tiny toy vehicles first entered the video game world with the release of the Micro Machines (1991) on the NES. The original set in place the ideas of top-down racing on a miniature scale ever though it was in a primitive, less physics based form. Three more titles were produced before V3 these were; Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament, Micro Machines Turbo Tournament 96 and Micro Machines Military. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5NGUbHit9W0 V3 introduced the series to the scary new world of 3D, while still keeping the top-down racer style. Players took control on small cars, that are intended to be viewed as drivable versions of the real life toys. Players must the compete again the computer or each other to complete a circuit first, the standard racing game format. Exploring the environments was a big part of the game with many short cuts and hidden areas to be found. All of the courses were various parts of a house, as the cars were compact a full race could take place atop a pool table or kitchen surface. It was these environments that really caught the imagination of a kid, being able to be shrunken down to examine parts of the garden or beach was such a great concept. The games controls took the philosophy that which ever way the car was facing, left and right were relative. This is a great idea for games in which the canera is set firmly behind the car, but with the top-down angle of V3 this proved difficult for players not used to the game. The controls did work well for those that had become accustom, which made for some great multiplayer experiences. There was a definite focus on getting your friends involved, as the box art came with the slogan of "Maximum Multi-Player Racing" as this was the late 90's and everything had to be to the maximum. The game reflected a lot of styles from the time, from the music, colour scheme to the early computer design character models. It would be harsh to state that stylistically it looks dated, but it is definitely from that time, it it very 1997. The graphics have bot ages too badly by modern standards as they are relatively simple, not as offensive to the HD eyes of today as some other 3D titles of yesteryear. So If you are looking for some nostalgic racing enjoyment, get your Playstation from storage, grab a friend and soak up the maximum fun.