Computer games: Playstation 2

The old Playstation has been packed away for a couple of years now, a far cry from that memorable Christmas when my poor missus unknowingly consigned herself to months of TV-less purgatory by buying me the said item.

Like all good things (from my perspective at least), it eventually palled. I never was too bothered about delving into the games’ strata of minutiae – up on rebound, softer on bumps etc – and so the Fearnley household began to watch TV again.

That, though, is set to change.

The new Playstation 2 stayed packed away for a few months too, but having acquainted myself with it over an eye-bulging weekend of kerb-bashing, Armco-whacking and pacenote-decoding, it’s likely to clutter up the lounge for some months now. Sorry, love.

The improvements in picture quality, sound, graphics, sense of speed and vehicle response are incredible. I just love the way Michael Schumacher’s head nods, bobs and weaves under acceleration, braking and cornering in F1 2002 (£39.00), and how on Colin McRae Rally 3 (£39.95) the snowbanks of Sweden grab the wayward tail of your Ford Focus and pull the nose in. Falump!

TOCA Race Driver (£39.99) is less purist than the above two games in that it revolves around the story of a saloon-car hotshoe following in the footsteps of his tragically killed hotshoe dad (or some such thing), but it did allow me to drive a variety of tin-tops around accurate recreations of Mantorp Park (I’ve always wanted to know), Bathurst and Vallelunga, steering wheel twitching with feedback over the rumble-strips, cats twitching under the sofa, cursing those true-to-life sound effects – and the cursing of a bad workman blaming his tools.

He had no reason to: Playstation 2 and these driving games are outstanding. PF