The Great Steamboat Race vs. NovaLogic

The Great Steamboat Race

Before I'm ready to watch a race, I like to watch a more different race.

They do seem to like their races in Kentucky. And who can blame them? The Kentucky Derby comes complete with mint juleps and fancy hats, not to mention the Great Steamboat Race. That’s right. You thought the Kentucky Derby was just about betting on horses with names like Cain’t Say No and Glorificus? No! Before the horses race, the people of Kentucky get warmed up with a steamboat race. Yes, steamboats. Old-timey, slow-moving steamboats.

(The Great Steamboat Race is also a piece of music composed by Robert W. Smith and frequently performed by high school concert bands.)

Since 1963, the Great Steamboat Race always takes place on the Ohio River on the Wednesday before the Derby begins. Two steamboats race for 14 miles, between the George Rogers Clarke Memorial Bridge and Six Mile Island, at a pace of about seven miles per hour. Yup, it’s a breathlessly exciting event alright. Traditionally, the race has been between the Delta Queen and the Belle of Louisville, though occasionally other boats will join in for the fun. Sometimes this causes a minor scandal, like in 2002 when the Belle of Cincinnati won, only to fall to shame when it was discovered that the BoC was diesel powered!

What’s great about the Great Steamboat Race is its staunch celebration of the traditional and charming rather than the new and speedy. In most boat races, faster would be better, but in the Great Steamboat Race, your boat had better be a steam-powered clunker, or you are out of there. Plus, thousands of people gather on the riverbank every year to watch two steamboats chug 14 miles – they are outside socializing, not inside rotting their brains and stunting their social skills with stupid bubble-based video games.

– Alison



Don't pretend that this isn't more captivating than a boat race.

All right, if King’s Quest II is going to beat an ancient samurai then you’ve gotta give me this one. King’s Quest II may have been a cute game and all but let’s not let nostalgia blind the fact that you really wished you were able to play Double Dragon on your home computer back then instead. Well, the good people at NovaLogic recognized this need and have been at work since the early ’80s to bring the excitement of the arcade to your home. They first did so with a successful adaptation of Bubble Booble for the PC.

Don’t get me wrong, the Great Steamboat Race is novel and quaint and all but it hardly beats a two-player game involving two dragons using bubbles to avoid obstacles and defeat enemies that you can play from the comfort of your own home. Screw that, from the comfort of your office! Give it a shot right now! Tell me that wasn’t amazing! Now that you’ve got this link, as if you can even pretend to care about some stupid boat race in Kentucky. You’re hooked!

And it doesn’t stop there, NovaLogic has started developing it’s own games, including Delta Force 2: Xtreme, which I’ve never played but basically looks like you blow up a bunch of stuff so it’s gotta be awesome. This is all done with a love for gaming and a desire to keep you distracted in your basement for countless hours with no need for the outside world whatsoever. The Great Steamboat Race is fun and all, but we’re talking video games here and in the Tournament of Everything, video games totally trump things of tradition and culture.

– Justin

Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  

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