Atari Poop – Enduro
I normally hate racing games. I usually find them boring, unless you can play them while not technically racing (like Carmageddon); however, Enduro is unique not only among racing games, but also within the history of video games in general. The person behind Enduro decided that his time-traveling exploits shouldn’t be wasted on making a game that incorporates elements from a bunch of his favourite movies. Enduro is the product of time-travel, a dystopian future, propaganda, and an intense hatred of the European Union.
When John Itor arrived in 1975, he was a man on a mission. He had been sent to prevent something from happening, something that seemed innocuous at first, but eventually led to the destruction of Earth, and possibly humankind (the Moon colony might not be doing too well). He had to destroy the European Union and stop it from ruining our planet. He waited a few years before deciding how to best achieve his goal, but then all of a sudden, a brand new medium appeared. It was popular with young people, which he saw as the people he needed to reach. So, with video games’ ever-increasing and seemingly limitless popularity, he decided that a video game would be his best tool. He chose to create a game for the best selling console, the Atari 2600. Using the pseudonym “Larry Miller,” he went with a racing game, given the sport’s (and I use the term “sport” here loosely and reluctantly) popularity in European countries. A few more years later, in 1983, he finally completed it.
On the surface, the game is pretty drab and boring, but everything is done for effect. First, you drive a car that’s completely identical to every other car racing except for its colour. Apparently, in the future, everyone will drive the same car. This is a subtle way of telling us that individuality is dead. Conformity becomes the rule. Also, there’s no music, only the dull roar of your car’s engine, pointing to the complete elimination of art. This is the future that awaits you, Europe. Listen to those crazy right-wing yahoos in England. History will show that they were right. If you think this is terrifying, just wait. It gets worse.
As you whiz by the other cars, your environment slowly changes. As you’ll see in a minute, the bright colours you see above slowly become muted while a strange, reddish glow begins to appear on the horizon. Suddenly, a blinding white flash comes without warning, then disappears. Next, the sky rapidly becomes engulfed in red, then everything goes grey and black. Finally, everything seems as though covered by a thick, grey mass, allowing only to see a few feet in front of you. There is no more colour. Everything is shades of grey. The world just seems dead.
THAT is video game poetry, boys and girls. I will take Enduro’s depiction of a nuclear bomb going off and its ensuing devastation any day over your Modern Warfares and your Fallouts.
In the end, Titor’s plan was ruined by events outside of his control. Since the “many-worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct, the past Titor visited differed slightly from his own. In his past, there was no video game crash in 83/84. Even if there hadn’t been one, it’s likely the second mistake would’ve ruin his plan anyway. When Activision had the games manufactured, a typo was missed. Everything, from the cartridge to the promotional materials had this typo. The game was never meant to be called “Enduro”. It was supposed to be called “End Euro”.
Also, John Titor is probably John Travolta. Think about it: John TRAVOLta.