This story is over 5 years old.


‘Cruis’n USA’ Took the Fast Lane Straight to My Heart

The arcade-turned-N64 racer gave me a need for speed, and a way to connect.

I thank my parents for my fondness of all things nerdy. Starting with the Super Nintendo, my sister Alex and I were lucky enough to get each new Nintendo console the moment they came out. Zelda, Mario, Donkey Kong, we knew them well, but when the N64 launched in 1996, it was a game changer.

My parents worked… way too much. Countless nights we spent home alone, playing Mario Party together or watching each other play Super Mario 64. We got restless and lonely and desperate for something new. My mom took us to our favorite video store and we found out we could RENT games. What the fuck?! Rows of games, all for us, and the first game my sister and I laid eyes on was the one with the shiny red car on the front, that's right, Cruis'n USA.


Above: we played Cruisin' USA as part of our 72-hour launch stream!

 "Remember when we'd fight over who got to use the purple controller?" my sister asked, laughing. "We always chose the silver car, their car selection was so bad." She had a point. I was 7 and she was 5 when Cruis'n USA came out. We had no idea what made a car better or faster than the rest, we just liked the cars that stood out.

"I remember racing along the beach, and being cheered on," she reminisced. We loved that fucking game. We clipped through trees and mailboxes. We drove off course and came in last so many times, but we loved that game. Lonely nights suddenly turned into trips to places we'd never been or heard of. We were two little girls on top of the world, laughing, crying, sometimes fighting, but it didn't matter because we were together.

Revisiting Cruis'n USA during our 72-hour-stream brought me back to the childhood bedroom I shared with my sister, and reminded me just how important that game was to us as kids. When I asked my sister today what her favorite game memory is, she laughed and said, "I'm not sure, but I remember when I got GTA: San Andreas for my birthday and you played it before I did." Guess my need for speed never really went away.