There were two things that happened on Earth that I COULD NOT BELIEVE:
1. The entire planet was still and locked down and waiting.
2. My brother got 100% on Muppet RaceMania.
2 OH RILLLYY
These things do not happen now.
They did then, a long time ago.
Some people were playing Diddy Kong Racing. Less but still some people were playing Crash Team Racing. A few less than that were playing Mario Kart on Nintendo 64.
Nobody was playing Muppet RaceMania.
But we were.
3 I’M BEAN BUNNY
Because of Muppet RaceMania a friend at school lent me on VHS: The Best of The Muppet Show, Vol. 1 OR The Best of The Muppet Show, Vol. 2.
I told him one morning that I had woken up really early and had gone downstairs because I could not sleep to watch the Muppet Show VHS.
He said to our table DID YOU KNOW JACK GETS UP AT SIX O’CLOCK TO WATCH THE MUPPETS.
Because of Muppet RaceMania I noticed for sale at an electronics shop on VHS: The Muppet Movie.
The Muppet Movie has a lot of blue and a lot of road and America. It has the desert and a carnival and a car dealership and it has the 1970s movie camera haze to its visuals and the slight crackle wash to its sound. It has a deal of what I wanted of a country when I was young and it is a deal of what I have now I am older. The film fell in somehow with occasionally seen Sesame Street and miscellaneous possibly inexplicable Saturday TV repeats of Grizzly Adams and whatever other movies made before I had been born that showed New York City and northwest ranges and mountains.
There is room for a lot of things inside one’s head. Countries, planets, talking felt.
Because of Muppet RaceMania I was DESPERATE MORE THAN ANYTHING TO WATCH MUPPETS FROM SPACE.
We didn’t call them trailers. It was an advert. The advert for Muppets in Space was on a VHS for something else. It was one of my favourite things to watch. The trailer had the song ‘Celebrate,’ which was one of my favourite things to listen to, but I could only listen to it in the advert for Muppets in Space.
My mother bought me a Kool & the Gang CD that she saw in a shop. The last track on the CD was ‘Celebrate (Live).’ I listened to it a lot on the CD player in the same room in which we lay on the floor watching Hey Arnold! with our feet on the electric fire and where I tried to make a snowglobe with a jar and an action figure of Woody and where I warned my parents that I might be sick when Jaws eats somebody.
I FINALLY WATCHED MUPPETS FROM SPACE at a relative’s house. I remember little except I AM A KING PRAWN and a talking sandwich, but those clips were in Muppet RaceMania, and that is what I remember most of all.
6 OOOOH AAAAAAHYHPICK PICK ME. YEAHHH. HOOHOOH. OOH, I’VE BEEN PICKED. HAAEEAYY EVERYBODY I GOT PICKED, YEAHH HUAGHHH. I GOT PICKED
Even the games magazines didn’t give you all the information.
You had to go into the shop:
DO YOU KNOW WHEN DIGIMON WORLD IS COMING OUT
DO YOU KNOW WHEN CROC 2 IS COMING OUT
DO YOU KNOW WHEN BLACK AND WHITE WILL BE ON PLAYSTATION
DO YOU KNOW IF YOU WILL HAVE KLONOA
DO YOU KNOW WHAT SHOP WILL SELL THE PLAYSTATION FINAL FANTASY SIX
You had to spend a summer stuck on the space boss in Pac-Man World.
You had to spend the summer playing the demo for Anna Kournikova Smash Court Tennis.
Do you know why you had to play that?
The demo had Croc 2 on it as well.
7 DA BABADI BA BA BA BA BWAAH BA DI BA BA BWOW
Our uncle came for a while to stay. All of us went into the city, and we went to the park swings, and we went to a fair and chased around the house with water guns.
Our uncle played Muppet RaceMania against us. He couldn’t win against us, because grownups couldn’t. He really loved the Central Park level.
One day I got home from school and our uncle told me: I’m ready.
He had raced on Central Park for 6 hours.
We raced and he won.
Our dad could win on the snowy levels on Crash Team Racing, but that’s another story. If he was doing badly, he would drive backwards round the race. I did the same. It’s another story.
8 OH, I’M SORRY, I MEANT WHINER
There is always more to do in Muppet RaceMania. When we were young I did not think you could do it all. There are always more characters and more levels. To get Doozer you have to find him on every level and push him in his bulldozer/steamroller/dumper to the teleport before the time runs out. It was impossible and took ages.
They made a cartridge you could plug into the back of your PlayStation to put cheats on any game. The advert said you could do ANYTHING YOU WANTED. I imagined putting whatever characters I wanted into Muppet RaceMania or making my own characters or making them giant.
The advert wasn’t right. You could only do cheats with specific codes that you had to read in booklets. They didn’t let you put anyone you wanted in the game or make your own character. The cartridge stuck out of the back of the PlayStation like a monolith from movies that came out in the 1980s.
It made the game crash and freeze and break. If you wanted to make your own character you would through that wish break the game.
There is still always more to do, and I couldn’t do all the Doozers. I saw the Fraggle Rock level with a cheat.
My brother got the Fraggle Rock level and did all the Doozers and didn’t cheat. He unlocked some levels like Muppet Micro Machines that I had not ever known existed.
9 DANOW NA NOW NOWWWWW
I have played out loud songs from Muppet RaceMania in virtual work meetings. There has been no reaction or acknowledgement of music playing aloud. Maybe they are bigger fans of Diddy Kong.
10 WE WIN WE WIN WE WIN, ha haaaa, ha haa, WE WIN WE WIN WE WIN
The characters in Muppet RaceMania wobble around in their cars and go left and right in their seats and hardly ever face forwards. It is a bit like when our grandmother pushes her shopping trolley through the shop, except she does not shout UH OH or jump on other people with trollies or drive an oversized hotdog or a piece of cheese or throw chickens.
I said: You know what I can’t believe?
Someone said: The whole planet is locked down?
I said: He got 100% on Muppet RaceMania. I can’t believe it.
J. F. Gleeson lives in England. Does he like PlayStation games? You tell me. Read his work (present tense) in Maudlin House, Ligeia, DreamJournal, RejectionLetters, the BearCreekGazette and Goat’sMilk. Read his work (future tense) in Mandrake and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Click links to his work on his website.