When I was in high school, students in the state of Michigan were required to spend a couple of days each year taking the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test. Though the exact details elude me, I recall that one or two high school grade levels were not obligated to take the test each year. So on those years when the test was taking place but your grade was not actually taking it, you would find yourself blessed with a couple of half days. And they were glorious.
In our efforts to fully enjoy one of these mini-vacations, some of my friends and I – being goofy high school kids with nothing else to do – went to Best Buy. There, in a bin filled with terrible video games all being hawked at the low, low price of $9.99 we found a great way to waste ten dollars and a handful of hours.
Yes, my friends, I bought Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing.
The game itself is a nearly pointless iteration of the kart racer genre that was, improbably, still going strong at that time (let’s say 2003). Outside of the Star Wars license, there is no reason that anyone would have purchased this game. It is wholly unremarkable.
And yet I bought it (because I’m kind of an idiot). The upside of this purchase was that, unlike most games of its era, Super Bombad Racing actually allowed four players to play the game together on one TV. Despite the fact that the game itself was kind of terrible, this social aspect – in a time before Xbox Live – was enticing. (It should be noted that, for four people to actually be able to play, one of us had to fork over something like $30 for one of these damn things.)
And so my friends and I sat around a TV some random morning and had a grand time playing a silly, stupid Star Wars game while a bunch of our peers took a horrible, soul-draining standardized test. It seems to me that the endless idiocy of consumerism is sometimes worth celebrating.