Developed by Rainbow Studios
Published by: Microsoft
Motocross 2 official page: http://www.microsoft.com/games/motocross2/
More Motocross 2 Madness resources
What's the Appeal?
Motocross and dirtbiking in general don't draw audiences as large as other pro sports. They don't have huge TV deals and their stars don't go about promoting Wheaties cereal. The sport doesn't have the international popularity of Formula 1 or Rally, or the massive local fanbase of NASCAR.
Rip off the start!
And crash 13 seconds in
What it does have, however, is extreme aerial stunts, spectacular racing through hostile terrain and awesome crashes. The crashes might not be as satisfying as the 200MPH collisions at Talladega Superspeedway, but there are a lot more of them. Besides, almost no other sport has the people involved thrown around visibly like ragdolls. We might not call ourselves Romans, and we don't necessarily watch gladiator battles from a Coliseum, but our fascination with death and pain doesn't seem to have gone away.
So Why Make a Game on It?
With its limited mass market appeal, Motocross might seem like a bad sport to emulate on PC, but in fact that might not be such a controversial decision. NASCAR games were and are quite popular despite being simple and having only a limited mainstream audience to appeal to. Part of the reason is that NASCAR lends itself very well to internet play - hardcore or otherwise. It's easy to learn and hard to master. Just like anyone can run around and shoot in Quake, or build and attack in StarCraft, any fool can fire up NASCAR and make a lap around the track. But the subtleties of the game that differentiate master from apprentice - like in Quake or StarCraft - are what help drive its popularity. Everyone has room to improve, to eek out a hundredth of a second on a lap.
If man was meant to fly...
... he'd have wings
Motocross, like NASCAR, would seem to lend itself to the same philosophy. Anyone can get on one of the bikes and ride around, making jumps off of dunes and hills. With practice you can even land most of them consistently. But the trick is to land properly, to make a series of jumps flow - only jump as far as to land on the descending edge of one hill to get speed to climb the next.
At least, that is what happens in real Motocross. How does Microsoft's version stack up?