An Open Letter to Rockstar Games

03.12.2009 | 11:18 am

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.

The Premise

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

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).

Boss Levels

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.

Kind Regards,

The Fat Cyclist


  1. Comment by The Incredible Woody | 03.12.2009 | 11:37 am

    Sounds like the most awesome game EVER!!

  2. Comment by jason | 03.12.2009 | 11:38 am

    Oh snap, that is hilarious.

  3. Comment by Kala | 03.12.2009 | 11:41 am

    I’d buy it!

  4. Comment by Linda | 03.12.2009 | 11:41 am

    Oh boy, I’m in…LOVE this idea! LOL Great post, Fatty!

  5. Comment by MikeonhisBike | 03.12.2009 | 12:03 pm

    That sounds like the best game ever and the kids won’t fight me to play it either. Bonus!!!


  6. Comment by pipebaum | 03.12.2009 | 12:09 pm

    Hook it up to my trainer and I would buy it in a minute. Winter is way too long in Minnesota.

    8 below this morning (22 below for the metricly inclined)

  7. Comment by Bandobras. | 03.12.2009 | 12:13 pm

    The only section of middle aged mtbing you seem to have left out of the game is the excuse formulation. Don’t leave home without at least a couple of good excuses. You know you’re going to need them sooner rather than later.

  8. Comment by bikemike | 03.12.2009 | 12:17 pm

    YES and get bonus points for picking up used gel packs on the side of the trail, to get that little extra energy you need.

  9. Comment by Weiland | 03.12.2009 | 12:31 pm

    Make it Web 2.0 aware where you can have it play youtube videos of the soccer game shot by the significant other or the grand parents of your kids soccer game you missed while out on a ride.

  10. Comment by Jason Griese | 03.12.2009 | 1:13 pm

    Make it like a SIMS games.

  11. Comment by Paul Gutman | 03.12.2009 | 1:57 pm

    I think the cheat for the clicking boss round is “zipper”.

  12. Comment by TomE | 03.12.2009 | 2:03 pm

    If this comes out in either xBox 360 or PSP I will own it!!!!

  13. Comment by Christa | 03.12.2009 | 2:05 pm

    Reminds me of my mother, who says she will start playing computer/video games when they have one where you have to keep the house clean, the kids under control, and make supper at the same time.

  14. Comment by TomE | 03.12.2009 | 2:06 pm

    Fatty….I remember a game your kid did awhile back. I’m sure he could create this today!!!!

  15. Comment by mark | 03.12.2009 | 2:12 pm

    sad thing is, “fixed gear freestyler” is already in development for the wii.

  16. Comment by Mike Roadie | 03.12.2009 | 2:55 pm

    Guilt Meter……… it!

  17. Comment by mikeb | 03.12.2009 | 2:56 pm

    Now that was funny, and as a middle aged rider, sadly so true. A new Fatty Classic! You are on a roll.

  18. Comment by Clydesteve | 03.12.2009 | 3:28 pm

    actually i dislike reality shows.

  19. Comment by Steve Dennis | 03.12.2009 | 3:34 pm

    I forwarded your email to the founder of Rockstar Games – lol! He’ll love it, he’s a great cycling afficionado.


  20. Comment by MTB W | 03.12.2009 | 4:26 pm

    Hilarious! You are in true form today. However, you should also add how to ridicule/avoid being being ridiculed by your other middle aged friends to the climbing and descent portion when you/your friends have to walk a hill or fall going over a small rock. That is, after all, one of the reasons why some of us ride.

    I would also add how much pain you will be in when you try to keep up with younger riders (as I did when I threw my back out trying to keep up with a former pro rider 12 years younger than me but didn’t know his pro status until halfway through the ride).

  21. Comment by Aaron | 03.12.2009 | 4:39 pm

    Good stuff. Well done.

  22. Comment by Kris | 03.12.2009 | 4:45 pm

    After the whole Chipotle burrito card victory…are you hoping for a free xbox360 and free games for life from Rockstar? Not a a bad scam.

  23. Comment by southforkbikes | 03.12.2009 | 5:03 pm

    I think an exciting addition to gameplay would be a going home early from a fun party so that you can wake up at 5 am to go riding and be back at home by 9am when everyone else gets up so that you can rake leaves all day level.

  24. Comment by WheelDancer | 03.12.2009 | 6:27 pm

    Classic Fatty, perfect in every way!

    I think there is a whole line of accessories that could be a secondary market for the game such as the Guilt Meter which can be cross-marketed to unrelated groups with little more than a simple packaging change. Just the various religious markets for this could be huge; Guilt Meter Catholic Edition, Kosher Guilt Meter, Guilt Meter LDS…

  25. Comment by aussie kev | 03.12.2009 | 8:26 pm

    another variant

    Middle-Aged track Bike Enthusiast.

    there is only one “game” in this – not to get dropped by all the young kids untill at least 2 laps to go !!!!

    win susan


  26. Comment by KanyonKris | 03.12.2009 | 9:34 pm

    Gold, Elden, gold!

  27. Pingback by | The RocBike Review » Links of the Day: March 12, 2009 | 03.12.2009 | 9:52 pm

    [...] An Open Letter to Rockstar Games – Fatty proposes a new video game: “Middle-Aged Cross-Country Mountain Bike Enthusiast.” [...]

  28. Comment by fatpete | 03.12.2009 | 10:15 pm

    I think that’s fourfold. Kinda like my chin.

  29. Comment by annette | 03.12.2009 | 10:39 pm

    awesome again. i can’t wait to play it.

  30. Comment by eliel | 03.13.2009 | 12:53 am

    Classic Fatty! One of the best post ever! Again, thanks for making us laugh.

    Win Susan!

  31. Comment by Saso | 03.13.2009 | 2:13 am

    Good thing is you can play and eat Jell-O simultaneously.

  32. Comment by buckythedonkey | 03.13.2009 | 2:42 am

    May I request a Deathmatch mode?


  33. Comment by Walter | 03.13.2009 | 4:28 am

    Excellent. I would play this game.

    I honestly think there is something here; your game concept essentially revolves around resource management, which is what makes good strategy games so interesting.

  34. Comment by americanson | 03.13.2009 | 9:27 am

    I am in tell me where to send the money.

  35. Comment by Steve, Penzance | 03.13.2009 | 6:59 pm

    Sorry, but this is the best thing you’ve ever written. I can really relate to… um, I mean imagine that you’ve captured the harsh realities of entering the zone when your head has accumulated all this wonderfully useful experience, and your damned body is refusing to utilize it! Welcome back, Fatty.

  36. Comment by yellowJersey | 03.15.2009 | 2:35 pm

    Okay, I laughed out loud the entire time I was reading this post. That was hilarious! Any ideas on what the multi-player mode will feature?

  37. Comment by Rob | 03.16.2009 | 12:04 pm

    I sent the “Convince your significant other that you deserve a new bike” level concept to my wife for technical review. Her response:

    “not possible. game lost.”

    Back to the drawing board!

  38. Comment by fred | 04.17.2009 | 7:58 pm

    gotta get in the game somewhere THROBBING SWOLLEN MIDDLE AGED PROSTATE PAIN from bouncing on a MTB seat over rough terrAIN for hours on end

  39. Comment by chris | 04.21.2009 | 10:33 am

    this games sounds really good but put some jumps and downhills so you can choose to do cross-country or freeride or downhill

  40. Comment by Liam | 06.5.2009 | 1:38 pm

    OMG, This has made my day :D! Props!

  41. Comment by spencer | 09.10.2009 | 3:12 pm

    sorry, but who wants to play a video game of a cross country rider……..i would rather shoot myself than play that. People would rather go big and fast and so things in a game that they cant in real life. More people would rather control a guy hucking off big cliffs or riding through gnarly rock gardens than just go ride flat ground and repair a bike on a video game. Plus most people who play video games are teenagers and younger……they want to do fun and crazy stuff on a video game

    anyways thats just my opinion

  42. Comment by troy. | 09.16.2009 | 2:17 pm

    i enjoyed reading your article and you seem to have put alot of thought into this. but, unfortionatly i completely disagree with you no one this is going to buy a video game like this is going to be interested in a “cross country” mountain bike game.. I post on Pinkbike .com and see that there is a much larger amount of kids who would be more interested in a “freeride” or “dirtjump” game.. im sure rockstar is not going to put out a slow moving none over the top game that is not going to sell. im sure a much smaller company with lesser Epic games in its history would maybe think about making a XC game but i think rockstar is the wrong company for the job.

  43. Comment by --- | 12.9.2010 | 4:28 pm

    ow about agame .. like BULLY for PS3


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