The best and worst videogame of all time

f-zero

F-Zero GX. This game is about 10 years old now, and I don’t think it’s very well known outside of the “gamer” community. For those of you who aren’t familiar: this is the futuristic racing game that Captain Falcon, the Super Smash Brothers character, is from.

I have been playing F-Zero GX a lot lately. But I don’t know why. The game is painfully hard. It has a reputation of being the hardest game on the Gamecube, and of being one of the hardest games of all time. It can be extremely frustrating. Calling the game “challenging” would be an understatement.

I’ve become good enough to competently play at the “Expert” level difficulty, but I can’t come close to succeeding at “Master” difficulty, the hardest game mode. The game also features a story mode, which is incredibly difficult as well.

The game was fun at first, but as I have tried and tried to play at the Master difficulty, and crashed and died over and over in the process, the game has just become purely frustrating.

Which is the point of this post:Why do I even play this game?

For me, videogames are a fun hobby when I am bored, need a break, or have time to kill. “Difficult” is not a word I would associate with an enjoyable game. And F-Zero is crazy difficult. Yet I continue to play, and I can’t stop, even though this game and all its high-speed intensity make my hands sweat profusely (something that no other game does to me).

There’s something really incredible about F-Zero GX. Something that pulls me in, despite how exhaustingly hard the game is. Well, a lot of things, actually.

The high speeds of the game are completely unrivaled by any other racing game. You seriously move so fast in this game that it’s really hard to follow what you are seeing. The controls are very much twitch-based, and the slightest movement of the control stick could spell your doom (or success!). The game’s unique controls help you feel like you are actually piloting a futuristic space racecar. So, the whole game is very immersive, and the concept of “Science fiction hyper-fast racing game” is an awesome thing to get immersed in.

And I would say it’s because of that immersion that the difficulty becomes not only tolerable, but desirable. When I play a game like Mario Kart, for example, I never lose (except when playing online against other players who are my equal). That makes Mario Kart somewhat boring to me, as I always know how it’s going to end: with me getting first place. F-Zero’s difficulty makes me want to come back to the game, to keep trying. It’s so fast and berserk that you’d never be able to guess how each race is going to go. Unlike any other racing game, or, dare I say, any other game, F-Zero is genuinely exciting from the beginning to the end of each race. Heck, “exciting” is an understatement; F-Zero is pulse-pounding. I even notice that my neck muscles tighten up while playing.

I keep playing because, unlike other difficult games, F-Zero is consistently fun, and extremely personally rewarding when you actually do win a race. You feel your victory, and it feels great beyond words.

Much like other difficult things in life, such as exercising, we can have a really hard time but feel amazing when we succeed. F-Zero GX, unbelievably, brings about that same kind of satisfaction.

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