Price: GBP 3.49
My memories of Jumping Flash are mixed as I only ever played it as part of an interview at Psygnosis for a games testing job. I had to play the same section for three hours and write down any bugs I found. I had assumed my experience of writing for Amiga magazines would impress them, but instead I found myself on the receiving end of a rant from a disgruntled producer about how reviewers "just say games are crap without thinking about how long people spend making them." To which I responded "Don't spend so long making crap games then".
It was around this point that the interview came to an abrupt halt.
Jumping Flash, as it happens, isn't crap. One of the very first PlayStation titles it's obviously not as polished as later offerings, but compensates with the sort of inventiveness and ambition that often gets squashed once a platform is established. A clunky 3D platformer, you play as a giant rabbit-shaped robot vehicle and must track down all the carrot-shaped jetpods in each level before heading for the exit. Blocking your way is a veritable army of angry fauna, including frogs in top hats and fire-breathing dragons. To help you out, you can collect various weapons and also have a pleasingly powerful double-jump, which lets you sproing up to floating platforms with admirable athleticism. Your view automatically tilts down as you do this, and the view of the entire level spread out beneath your metallic bunny feet was enough to assure gamers that the (old) next gen had truly arrived.
Looking back, the game seems out of place on the PlayStation - to look at its offbeat style and cute cyber-animal themes you'd swear it was a Nintendo game - but it's nice to see that its place in PS history hasn't been overlooked. Beneath the 3D exterior lurks a fairly uneventful game but if you can put up with the slow pace and stiff movement, there's plenty to enjoy in this unsung quirky gem from the dawn of the 32bit era.
Price: GBP 3.49
As I admitted when reviewing F-Zero X on the Virtual Console, I never really warmed to Wipeout. Shocking, I know. The tight, twisting corners and need to master the airbrakes just never gelled with my personal preference for crudely wellying around tracks. I could only sit forlornly by and watch the cool kids as they belted along to the sounds of Orbital and Leftfield, stroking their limited edition double vinyl clubland soundtracks and whooping like weasels.
Of course, I always realised what a watershed moment the game represented for gaming in general. It briefly made sitting on your arse with a joypad an act of urban sophistication and I can see why so many became entranced by its sleek style and slick aesthetic.
Viewed twelve years later, those factors still impress even though the game no longer feels like the unstoppable adrenalin rush it once did. Just as the halls of your old primary school seem impossibly tiny through adult eyes, the speed rush of Wipeout now looks a lot more sedate. It's no slouch, of course, but what was once on the eye-popping cutting edge no longer looks quite so special. Luckily, it has its infamously fiendish tracks and precision gameplay to fall back on, and those still work like a charm.
Personally, I'd rather see Rollcage available for download but I suppose that doesn't have quite the same cultural cachet. Even so, a few quid for a legend like Wipeout is an absolute no-brainer. Snag it.