One of my first experiences with downloadable content on PlayStation 3 was David Jaffe’s Calling All Cars. I love the guy to death for bringing Twisted Metal to life in the early days of the PlayStation and I had hoped that Calling All Cars would be a micro-sized homage of some kind to the 3D car combat series. With little more than my nostalgia guiding me, this being 2007 and the early days of Twitter where light-speed reviews had yet to blast across the internet, I bit.
And, wow, was that a sour lemon. Aside from the art style and the catchy old-timey music, the game was little more than a Mario Party minigame fluffed up by 50% and zipped up as a download. What few online games I ever got into were brutal and even against the A.I. I wasn’t have any kind of fun. It’s not the game’s fault as I was expecting something completely different, I’ve just never gotten the emotional plastic surgery to smooth out that particular wound. Scrolling past it on the XMB is like running a finger over a scar while thoughtlessly brushing your teeth; the memories come rushing back before you can cork them up again. It’s kept the unsavory experience (and purchase) in my mind much longer than I ever spent playing the game.
So hearing that Calling All Cars’ online servers were shut down last week was scornfully delicious, like watching a really terrible Ex take a nasty fall. But it’s also like seeing that nasty fall turn into a near-fatal hit-and-run just as you let out a stifled guffaw. Now it’s like a lobotomized cripple that can’t communicate with the outside world. I didn’t really hate Calling All Cars, we just didn’t get along so well and, regardless, it’s always sad to see a game get yanked offline for the rest of eternity. May your fans carry on your legacy in their living rooms. I’ll continue dragging out my dusty copy of Mashed for those rare group gaming gatherings.