1996 – Brian Lara Cricket ’96

Brian Lara Cricket ’96

 Brian Lara
Developer(s) Audiogenic
Publisher(s) Codemasters
Series Brian Lara Cricket
Platform(s) Sega Mega Drive
Release date(s) 1996
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single-player
Media/distribution Cartridge

Liam: Cricket games are awesome. Sadly the only countries they sell well in are the UK, and the ANZACS (who get royally screwed over with game prices), and they always end up missing out on the more lucrative North American markets mean that cricket games get a tiny percentage of the money going into a franchise like Fifa or Madden. Still I believe they manage to punch above their weight. 2 player coop games are just as fun as 2p competitive games with co-ordination and communication required to beat any team. They require very little knowledge of the game and are generally very accessible for the average gamer. Although I know Joel isn’t looking forward to this game I think he will be pleasantly surprised by a generally great game.

British publisher Codemasters have been the biggest player in the cricket game market, first through a series of Brian Lara endorsed games in the 90’s and early 00’s, and after the legends retirement, in Ashes cricket 2009 and International Cricket 2010. Barring the annual International Cricket Captain release and the fiendishly difficult Cricket Revolution (Pakistan’s first commercial computer game) they pretty much have the field to itself. This is set to change this year with Ashes Cricket 2013 which has nothing to do with Codemasters.

Brian Lara is a worthy cover star for this game. In a sport rules by statistics and numbers, few players are capable of being numerical powerhouses as well as possessing the finesse and quality of a player like Lara. As a kid growing up he was my favourite batsman to watch by a long distance. This game was branded Shane Warne cricket in the Australia, who at the time was probably my favourite bowler to watch – despite mostly having to watch him utterly take apart England – however Brian Lara remains a highly respected legend of cricket while Shane Warne is ‘that metro-sexual banging Liz Hurley’.

As you can probably tell by this point I am a bit of a cricket nut, in fact I probably love cricket as much as I love video games and the thought of a world without decent cricket based video games leaves me in a cold sweat. I think this is because although I love cricket… I am fucking awful. I’ve long abandoned any possibility of a call up to the England team (if you are reading Mr Flower – Give me a call!) and I have relegated myself to playing cricket games and being the ranked world #1 ‘air cricket’ batsman/bowler.

I haven’t played this game for probably about fifteen years – I think my base knowledge of cricket and ancient muscle memory will take over and I will be a comfortable winner. Hopefully the winning runs coming from a streaky French cut down to 3rd man after fishing outside off.

Joel:  This one’s clearly here for Liam, I think he’s worried and needs a shoo-in. Let’s see, what do I know about cricket? There are some guys (or girls, I assume girls play too) some of them bat well, some of them bowl well and presumably they all catch pretty well. The ball is red and has been known to break people’s faces. You run back and forth a lot. There’s a few more things I know, but I think you get the point – I’m not a fan. I’m struggling to come up with anything constructive to say here as I’ve never played this or indeed any cricket game before. How about a vaguely entertaining cricket anecdote? That’ll bulk out a few paragraphs. Yes..

Sometime in my late teens, my dad asked me, at the 11th hour, to help him out by filling the last place on his cricket team. He knew full well my feelings about the game but inferred that if I couldn’t fill in, the game would have to be forfeit. What could I do? So I reluctantly agreed to come along.

When we arrived, I was sent out to what I would call “the sticks” – I could just about see the crease- (look, look, cricketing word, I didn’t even have to look it up! No idea whether I spelled it right mind you..) -in the far distance, but it was a beautiful sunny day so I tried to make the most of it, knowing that eventually I’d get to bat – the only remotely appealing part of the game. So there I stood, baking in the summer sun, for what felt like at least 40 years, in truth it was until the end of the first innings (again, I think that’s the right word) when it was time for our team to bat. And time for the missing player for whom I was filling in to arrive. Great. Take a seat Joel, whatsisface has arrived!

Well that was the last straw, frankly. Enough was enough, I headed to the pub. Now, this part of the story is going to be much less verbose as things quickly became hazy after I saw the sign behind the bar saying “FREE T-SHIRT WITH EVERY 4 PINTS OF BODDINGTONS!” I’ll just leave you with this – when my dad arrived to collect me, I had 3 new t-shirts and a mild case of sunstroke.

So to summarise – The only important thing I know about Brian Lara Cricket ’96 is that I’m going to get absolutely spanked. Maybe I’ll use this opportunity to take a nap.


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