Some memories die hard. For one gamer, the demo of Need for Speed 2 – and its Canadian track specifically – echoed so strong that, over two decades later, he found himself on his favourite childhood track.
British YouTuber Tom Scott has a tale that a lot of people can recognise. As a kid, he grew up binging demos from gaming mag CDs, like many kids from the ’90s. One of his favourite demos was Need for Speed 2, which let you play as a single Blue card on NFS 2‘s Canadian track.
Of course, what Scott didn’t know at the time was that EA Canada were the lead developers on the game (with EA Seattle responsible for the PC version). Their studio was based in Vancouver, so they made the track off areas around their studio. And despite the low-poly nature and limits around what the PS1 could do at the time, EA Canada did a great job of bringing the area to life.
They did such a good job, in fact, that Scott remembered the track when he was in Vancouver and stopped at a totem pole near a car park – which EA Canada included in Need for Speed 2. So having been struck with a bolt of nostalgia, Scott drove parts of the track and explored Need for Speed 2 in real life.
It’s pretty common these days for games to have photorealistic representations of real-life tracks, scenery and so forth. Even open-world games are doing a good job of bringing various cities to life, with some adjustments. But for a game to still have such a strong hook two decades on, and to replicate its environment so well with a fraction of the power available today, is a little bit special.
For reference, here’s a playthrough of the full track.