Dear Rockstar Video Games,
I recently read in Bike Biz about a rumor that you are considering creating a mountain biking video game. Initially, I was very excited by the thought of this. I love the idea of being able to sit on my couch and pretend to go mountain biking. This would save me from hours and hours of the inconvenience I currently have to endure by actually getting on my bike and going riding for real.
But then I noticed that this Bike Biz story is tied to Steve Romaniuk, a Mongoose-sponsored freerider known for jumps, speed, and big drops.
Frankly, Rockstar, I just don’t understand why you would want to create a video game based on that kind of riding. Who wants an adrenaline-fueled, physics-defying, air-launching, speed-rushing video game? It’s a recipe for disaster.
Instead, I would like to propose a different video game:
Middle-Aged Cross-Country Mountain Bike Enthusiast
I have given the idea for this game some thought, and upon reviewing my ideas below, you’ll agree this is by far the superior game idea.
You are a paunchy middle-aged man (or woman — your choice) who loves biking more than just about anything in the world, but you need to balance your passion for riding with job, family, and community responsibilities. You must also take into account your budget, your trick knee, and the fact that you’re not getting any younger.
The objectives of Middle-Aged Cross-Country Mountain Bike Enthusiast (MACXMoBE) are threefold:
- Have fun
- Lose enough weight to squeeze into the jerseys you bought last year without embarrassing yourself
- Finish in the top third of the Master’s category at a local race
- Don’t injure yourself, because you’ve got more than yourself to consider
Playing MACXMoBE is as intense as it is realistic. You’ll actually feel like a real middle-aged man as you thrill to the folllowing:
- Climb technical pitches at 2.5mph: You’re climbing a technical pitch on dusty singletrack. Your heart rate is pegged. Your back wheel is slipping. Hikers are passing you. Can you stay on your saddle, or will you have to put a foot down and push the rest of the way?
- Choose the safe line: You’re on a technically-challenging, steep descent, riddled with jumps, ledges, roots, and rocks. Can you safely avoid all of them, thereby ensuring that your limbs and brain are all intact and usable for when you go back to work next Monday?
- Convince your significant other that you deserve to buy a new bike: You have only four mountain bikes. Your friends have, on average, five. And you’ve been wanting to try out this 29″ thing for some time now. Convince your significant other that this is a worthwhile purchase, that you can afford this bike, that this bike is really, seriously the last one you’re going to want for a very, very long time, and that this bike is somehow different than the other bikes.
- Choose whether it’s more important to go to your 5-yr-old’s soccer game than go out on the ride everyone’s been talking about for weeks. And then either watch a 90-minute non-interactive montage of kids chasing a ball around a field, or start the next level with your Guilt MeterTM at maximum.
- Assess and try to correct the sharp pain you get in the front of your knee when you climb. Your knee hurts like crazy when you’re climbing. Should you move your saddle up? Down? Forward or backward? Or maybe it’s your crank length! Or you’re mashing too hard! Or it’s quite possibly unrelated to cycling at all! Speculate endlessly and fiddle constantly, looking for a sweet spot that may or may not exist.
- Try to keep up with younger riders: Somehow you’ve wound up on a rider ten years your junior? Can you keep up on the climb? How about on the downhill? Is it worth it to find out?
- Evangelize the cycling lifestyle to skeptical neighbors: Your neighbor has asked a few times about all the bikes in your garage, so now you’re going to convince him to come on a ride with you. Choose the correct combination of lies and he’ll join you, which earns you twenty Brownie PointsTM for being neighborly (which can assist greatly the next time you attempt the “Convince your significant other that you deserve to buy a new bike” level).
As you complete various levels and progress in difficulty, you will be forced to prove your commitment to the game by attempting these challenging Boss levels.
- Field Repair: You taco a wheel in the middle of nowhere. It starts to hail. Oh, and there’s lighning, too. And it’s dark. Fix the wheel and get home before you catch pneumonia.
- Endurance Race: A riding buddy has convinced you to do a 100-mile race. See if you can sit and play this game for 10 hours. Or maybe 14.
- Figure out what that strange clicking noise is: You’re just riding along, but there’s a clicking sound coming from either your rear wheel, your frame, your chain, or your bottom bracket. It’s hard to tell which. Diagnose the problem, then take your bike into the local bike store and try to explain the sound and your best guess as to what the issue is to the mechanic.
- Arrange a Group Ride With Other MACXMoBE Players: Quite possibly the most difficult boss level of all, you’re put in charge of finding a day and time when you and all your middle-aged friends — each of which also has a job and family — can ride together for two hours. Good luck!
Rockstar, I am confident you can recognize a winner when you see it. Please feel free to consult with me further about additional ideas for this exciting new game (and followups, like “Cyclocross Racer!”). I look forward to sharing in the enormous sales and profits MACXMoBE is sure to bring.
The Fat Cyclist