Andrew B tells Commodore Format why John Ferrari’s 1985 action game The Human Race is special for him.

The ‘80s was the last proper decade. Anyone who didn’t experience it will have no idea what I mean by that. It feels like a different lifetime ago now, growing up as a Thatcher’s child and the world changing so fast. The C64 was the king of home computing and it was an accessory for the “smart” or rich kids. Great music and great graphics, we thought. But looking back, even though the music has stood the test of time, the graphics and gameplay haven’t. I just wonder what was I thinking – how on earth did we play those games back then?

I had a couple of friends and we’d go to each other’s houses to play on the C64 or Spectrum and get immersed in modern tech. These occasions were actually few and far between as we spent most of the time outside, BMXing, skateboarding, climbing trees and even playing on building sites or setting up Tarzan swings in dilapidated abandoned buildings. There was always a burnt-out car, and we’d play on nearby active railway lines. Such were the days.

One game in particular does bring back some good memories – The Human Race. It was bought for me by my late friend Darren Riddle who unfortunately died in a car accident in his early twenties about 20 or 25 years ago. We were best mates at Birstall County Junior and Infant School and were the only two kids at school with a C64. We lent each other cassettes and one year he got me The Human Race for my birthday. My first impression was the great music, the graphics weren’t bad at all, but boy, was it tough.

Although it isn’t my all-time fave C64 title, it’s the game that my late best mate Darren bought me before we went our separate ways to high school. Before mobile phones and the internet, keeping in touch with people was quite difficult – especially for a kid. My memory isn’t what it used to be and to try and remember special moments with lost friends from 35 or 40 years ago is hard, they’re just becoming more fleeting. I’ve lost a few friends over the years, Darren was my second mate I lost from junior school after Mark Harrison who died of leukemia at 15, but because of that one act of kindness I do have something to remind me of Darren. I still have the cassette in my collection, and although The Human Race may not be my all-time favourite C64 game, it is definitely the most special. CF