For some reason, probably due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of us found our way back to various online games.
Previously dead lobbies teeming with gamers, some dying games seeing new life born into them.
My personal poison has always been TrackMania Turbo on PlayStation — I was never the best racer in the world, ranked 26th in Australia, and about 1600th out of about 6 million racers globally, sure I wanted to be on top, but it all came down to milliseconds, and while I had to concede I just didn’t have the consistency to rise much further, I can’t help but feel anything but gratitude for the community contributors who built maps for people to race on.
Some of these maps have been driven over millions of times by everyone from a kid just mashing buttons for fun, to die-hard racers aiming for the world number one ranking.
A very select few of these maps have become the defacto standard, hardcore players return to them time and time again. Many of the creators are faceless, virtually unknown, but they are responsible for bringing countless hours of entertainment and joy into the world.
LaGarasch, whoever you are, your maps are brilliant. They require skill and timing, so that a beginner can feel like they have a chance, and an expert can find a trick, whether it’s to hold a slide or avoid one, or something else. But they are also architecturally beautiful. Brutalist scenes of joy.
I chose to single out LaGarasch, but there are other creators who seem to transcend race-line and architecture like CarterSpade, and racers like xdenalii, the #1 racer in my state where I am ranked 4th — we played Apex Legends together and I sucked at it, but I always enjoyed trying to catch up to him in Trackmania.
I’m just a lowly racer ranked less than 30th in his country, but some games create communities, and sometimes the architects and leaders of these communities seem to fade into nowhere, even as their accomplishments are enjoyed by millions. I just wanted to inscribe this somewhere, in case the servers are ever shut down and this post is all that’s left of that piece of history, however tiny.