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Classic clip from Bethesda Softworks' XCar


I use to work on this PC game called XCar: Experimental Racing at Bethesda Softworks about 20 years ago. You can't find much info about the game online because it's before the internet got popular. But I managed to dig up this old news reel I had sitting around on a VHS tape at home. This stuff is classic!

Year: 1997. It's from WJLA TV7 5pm News, which is a local channel in the Washington DC area.

It's amusing to see how the reporter raves about how realistic the game was (he was starting to sweat while playing.) By today's graphical standards in gaming, it's ironic this clip feels so... vintage.

BTW - That Asian dude in the news clip... Yeah, that's me, 20 years younger and sexier.

Some notable things about the vid:

  • The game box was really unique, and a nightmare to assemble. It had a clear plastic shell, and the box within it was shaped like an X. It didn't hold together very well, so extra tape had to be used. I remember this because I helped out down in the shipping facilities when we were in the middle of getting the product out the door.
  • For promo purposes we partnered with a maker of a hydraulic racing chair which you see in the video. And yes, the chair itself cost about a ridiculous amount of money as the reporter indicated. And no, it really wasn't very realistic, since it was so jerky your eyeballs could have been shaken out of your sockets.
  • Yes, there really was all that sort of telemetry data you can play around with. But to be honest, it was utterly confusing what each thing did, even if you were a diehard car fanatic! If only the net had game wikis back then.
  • The game was created by a satellite team at Bethesda Softworks that worked out of a little known west coast studio. They went on to make NHRA Drag Racing.
  • I was in my early twenties and was a mere peon working at Bethesda Softworks. This was my first time on TV so it was a real hoot!
  • And yes, Courtney Cox did use to work at Bethesda Softworks... but that was right before I got there.

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About johnmasterleeone of us since 2:56 PM on 02.11.2013


I'm a game developer, and head up several gaming studios, including Wicked Loot and FitGoFun. Been in the game industry for many years now. It's the only life I know.

I pretty much done it all. QA. Marketing. Game Design. Coding. Editor. The guy who had to wear the (stank) mascot costume at a gaming event. The guy who drove a truck to deliver games to a warehouse. For the love of the game.

It's sorta about games. But mostly about my life.