Probably close to 10 years ago at this point, I discovered a few videos on YouTube uploaded by a user named hiropooooong that quickly became my version of automotive gaming comfort food. They’ve stayed with me to this day, in spite of their subpar visual quality. Every now and then I’ll revisit them for a quick hit of the warm and fuzzies. Today, I’m going to share them with you.
Their concept is simple: Take music from the 1995 arcade classic Sega Rally Championship and lay it over top of ’90s World Rally Championship footage. That’s it — it’s just a montage of bouncing Imprezas, drifting Deltas and speeding Celicas, underneath some of the best racin’ jazz you’ll ever hear in your life.
Unsurprisingly, my fondness for these three videos is rooted in a deep, eternal love for Sega Rally. I suspect many children of the ’90s only discovered the sport because of this game, thanks to its accessible-yet-intoxicating mix of blissful handling physics and memorable track design.
The soundtrack was a critical aspect of the experience, too. Composed by Sega Sound Team veterans Takenobu Mitsuyoshi (best known for his Daytona USA vocal stylings), Tomoyuki Kawamura and Naofumi Hataya, it’s the peak of groovy, fun video game music from the era. I remember looking forward to replays on the Mountain Course, just to hear that killer guitar solo as I watched my run through the village.
Also worth noting are the adorably cheesy words of advice and encouragement peppered throughout the game, which you can hear as well in these videos. “If you have to drive only one course for the rest of your life, this is the one,” the announcer says softly, I imagine while looking longingly into a blue sky. “Is this heaven? ... Yeah.”
Still, I don’t think you necessarily need memories of sitting cross-legged in front of a Sega Saturn and a too-small tube TV to enjoy these videos. All that’s required is an appreciation for rallying, especially from three decades ago.
Every time I watch this footage, I’m reminded just how large those old Group A cars were, and how they were almost never driving in a straight line. At about the 1:35 mark in the first video, you can see François Delecour’s Sierra RS Cosworth wiggling and skittering under braking for an eternity before it smoothly glides around a hairpin. These machines might lack pace compared with what we see in the WRC today, but the way they moved was arguably more poetic.
But, enough context. Take a moment, watch these videos and try to de-stress a little. In the words of the game’s smooth-talking announcer, “cool breeze, birds and clouds. Relax and enjoy.”