It’s 1999 and the gaming world is looking at the Dreamcast as the harbinger of the next generation of console gaming. In the waning days of the arcade, quarters are being thrown into a game called Crazy Taxi with wild abandon. Soon, Crazy Taxi is ported to the home consoles and the job of getting passengers to their destinations as fast as possible is happening in living rooms all across the nation. Sega is ascendant and all, for the moment, looks well.
On a hot summer day, a young college graduate seeks digital amusement while on a family vacation in Florida. The young man, enjoying his last days of unemployment before being slaved to the Man, walks into an arcade that has always delivered the goods and holds the potential of what the future may hold. The young man walks toward the row of Crazy Taxi machines which spew out a terrible cacophony of terrible late-nineties pop.
Before the young man can drop a quarter into the machine, however, his eyes spot a curious cabinet over in the corner. Looking visually similar to the cabinet which is in front of him, the game is strikingly different. Clothed in a zebra skin and broadcasting the MIDI-created sounds of the African Safari, he looks at the title and smiles. Thus begins a two year love affair with the game called Jambo Safari. A game where capturing animals replaces passenger delivery and the wild abandon of swerving around the Savannah takes over from downtown Pseudo-San Fran. All was not perfect, however, as the young man searched his home city in vain for a Jambo Safari machine of his own to play. It was not to be. He pined for the ability to play Jambo Safari in his living room, as he had done with the very similar Crazy Taxi.
“The graphics seem to be similar.” he thought curiously.
“It has to be using the same engine!”, he uttered in frustrated hope.
Time passed and the young man grew older. He waited and waited for the news of a release date for his cherished Savannah simulator, but no news came.
The days grew long, as did the years. The Dreamcast sank into a too early oblivion and the next generation of consoles swallowed what was left of the arcade scene in it’s HD jaws. The young man was married, had a child and thought of his lost love only in silent and wistful passing.
On a normal day, a day like any other, the not-so-young man witnesses a news post. His heart leaps with joy.