Carmageddon: Reincarnation well and truly Kickstarted

Max Damage rides again.

Whenever the morality police go looking for a videogame to blame for some horror or another, some incarnation of Grand Theft Auto is usually first in their sights. GTA didn’t always hog all the attention however: back when the first GTA was released in 1997 it had to share the vehicular manslaughter simulator du jour spotlight with Carmageddon, the debut PC title from a small independent British developer called Stainless also released that year. Alas while GTA is currently gearing up for its fifth official incarnation (not including spin-offs like Chinatown Wars and Vice City), Carmageddon has been largely absent. Absent perhaps though not forgotten, as proven by the 11,000+ people who have helped Stainless’ Carmageddon Kickstarter reach its $400,000 target.

Carmageddon, which sold around two million copies worldwide despite being banned in several countries, was even more senseless than the original GTA. While Rockstar merely encouraged you to mow down rows of pedestrians with a nudge and a wink in Carmageddon it was damn-near mandatory at times. Inspired by the 1975 movie Death Race, Carmageddon was one of the first 3D sandbox driving games that had you entering supposedly traditional races in various locations around the world. You could certainly win them traditionally if you were boring, but it was always more fun to win by trashing all the other cars or crushing every pedestrian on the level under your wheels. Grim? Most certainly. Tasteless? Of course. Fun? You bet your damn backside it was, and we’ll soon be able to do it all again in Carmageddon: Reincarnation.

Beneath the tabloid sensationalism that surrounded it the original Carmageddon was a unique and unpretentious experience of a sort you don’t see much of these days. It was a product of a time when the British development scene in particular had a more distinct character and games in general something of a punk sensibility, unafraid to shock a few Daily Mail-reading pensioners for the sheer hell of it. It’s not a time I’d ever want to return to permanently but it’s still a fun place to visit, and we could do with more proper mindless bloody escapism instead of successive po-faced attempts to imitate movies. Even modern poster-children for “Games as violent mindless whizz-bang sillyness” like Modern Warfare are tragically serious and pretentious next to the likes of Carmageddon or Quarantine. Speaking of which, where’s my modern Quarantine reboot?

In the meantime if you want an inkling of what the fuss is about you’ll soon be able to buy the original Carmageddon and its expansion, “The Splat Pack”, together on GOG.com for a mere $9.99.

Matt

About Matt

Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind bitscreed.com and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.