for reasons better left unex- plained, I spent most of a recent weekend watching curling on television. The experience refreshed my memory of the hog line and the hammer and made me realize that curling is the only game that I "get" less than cricket. The lost weekend also got me hunting for a curling game I could play at home, without having to go to an arena or lift heavy rocks. Sadly, there are none for PlayStation or Dreamcast. There isn't even an Intellivision curling game.
Admittedly, the appeal would be pretty regional. It would be hard to sell a curling simulator to folks south of the border, but in Canada I smell a hit.
Unfortunately, there are no Canadian content regulations for video games to encourage the development of products that would appeal only to Canadians. Electronic versions of games exist for virtually every sport. Basketball, hockey, football, soccer, baseball, college hoops and high-speed driving all get several different models. The XFL looks like a real-life video game, with up-close camera angles and outsized on-field violence.
Several sports exclusively played -- or at least more celebrated -- in Canada, though, have been left out in the cold by manufacturers. Curling is just the beginning. Lacrosse, Canada's national sport, is sorely lacking an at-home version, as are cross-country skiing and off-road mountain biking. A street-smart road hockey game, where players are on concrete rather than ice and have to dodge oncoming traffic as well as put the rubber ball in the net, is begging to be created.
Other games slightly further out but still essentially Canadian could include Snowplow Driver, in which you're a rural plow driver in a heavy snowstorm and rack up points for the number of mailboxes, cars and small animals you can hit with your blade, and NHL Trade Deadline Rumours, which cranks up the tension to unbearable levels by cascades of potential deals that could improve your struggling team but fall apart at the last moment.
With a bit of work, and perhaps some superfluous violence thrown in, all these games could be top sellers.
After some lengthy searching online, I finally found the only two curling video games in existence. Neither has sweeping or shouts of "Hurry!" and "Hard!"
www.electricscotland.com/games/Curling.html A cross between South Park and curling -- guy in a kilt tosses rocks down the ice. Simple but effective.
www.gamedb.com/ssps/0/1/00448 Richard's Curling Game comes with blaring bagpipes and 10 full ends, the rocks actually curl and you can go head-to-head against the computer or a friend. No brooms, but it's as close to the rink as you're going to get without leaving the house. *