Added: Raelyn Pendleton - Date: 25.12.2021 22:59 - Views: 24777 - Clicks: 7516
In , Lee Mather, a year-old from Staffordshire, became the greatest player in world rugby. An overnight sensation who was quicker than Rory Underwood and more elusive than David Campese. The speed with which he played the game came from another rugby galaxy. Mather could hit supersonic and then shift seamlessly into hypersonic. With maximum velocity reached, he would acquire inertia and glide round opponents, kicking up victory dust as he went.
He turned the team he played for, Rage All Stars, from a handy outfit into a side capable of beating the All Blacks. His exploits never graced a real rugby field. Lee Mather, the rugby superstar, exists only in the world of Jonah Lomu Rugby — a computer game which rugby fans from Kent to Kentucky will universally agree is the most iconic the sport has known. The real-life Lee Mather was a studio dogsbody working on the game for the developers, Rage.
Responsible for everything administrative, from the compilation of player statistics, testing the game, burning discs, sorting the office IT. As the real Lee Mather told TheXV for this article, the notoriety his avatar has gained took him by surprise. And quite often that developed into people talking about the quickest player in the game being Mather. And that takes some doing. It's amazing how good Twitter can be.. One theory is investment — or the lack of it — from the gaming industry. With the major publishers having their he turned by sports with a tried-and-tested record of making a profit; football, American football, basketball, and almost any racing genre.
The greater reason is that rugby is extremely hard to simulate in a fun way. It needs rugby passion, persistence, and a deep knowledge of the sport. A mix of rugby nauses and novices who condensed a complicated, frenetic, exhilarating sport, into a simple-to-play, frenetic, exhilarating computer game. A recipe that has too often been forgotten, or ignored, by developers who came afterwards. I always think the of a really good game is when people are sat there playing it in their lunch hours or staying later to play it after work.
As publishers of the game, Codemasters also needed someone in the room who knew their rugby. The developers spent a lot of time tweaking the UI user interface to make sure it was playable to a wider audience. It is the playability of JLR that stands out above everything else — a fact recognised by gaming reviewers at the time.
The pleasure of varying your actions takes place and the many subtleties of rugby appear; passes, mauls, kicks, tackles follow one another, all accompanied by little fuss and no sideways running to score tries. Each sequence becomes natural over time, we have the impression of being there, so the game is rugby realistic. It made passing the ball slick and simple — L buttons to pass left, R buttons to pass right — it seems so obvious now but in it was innovative and fresh.
Rage also dispensed with realism in the quality of the passing. In JLR, everyone is an Aaron Smith, capable of whipping bullet passes to team mates, making the game so much quicker. For sheer silliness and delivery, my nomination is:.
It made it into a sociable game. Another key component was, of course, Jonah Lomu. Jonah was a star of the game who had a presence, an enormous presence. I remember meeting him at a charity rugby match in December [in Ebbw Vale]. He was a very unassuming guy, a very nice guy and absolutely huge. It must have been so intimidating meeting him on the pitch. As Codemasters and Rage approached the release date for the game in , there was a growing feeling of excitement and pride that they had done the sport proud whilst creating a really entertaining game which anyone could play.
The company was very, very pleased. So much so that the production run of the game lasted for eight years, winding down eventually in July Yet it was Brian Lara Cricket which received the franchise treatment from Codemasters, with new versions released in , and But then they too shut down their rugby division, leaving rugby gamers waiting for a new flagbearer to carry the genre forward. Jonah Lomu Rugby was massive for me growing up and I really hope for the next generation they get that game soon which they get the same buzz from.
There used to be a game called Destruction Derby , where you had a figure of eight with cars going round and round and they just crashed into each other. It would be amazing if they did something different like that in rugby. So would Codemasters consider re-entering the rugby genre? Sadly, that seems highly unlikely as the company now focuses exclusively on racing games — with a certain Lee Mather now the Franchise Director of their hugely popular F1 series.
Nonetheless the opportunity is there for a bold and imaginative games publisher somewhere to pick up the ball and run with it, just as Codemasters, Rage and Mather did almost a quarter of a century ago. We rely solely on new subscribers to fund high-quality journalism and appreciate you sharing this so we can continue to grow, produce more quality content and support our writers. Exclusive free article from The XV.
Jack Zorab 07th Sep If you knew, you knew. Jonah Lomu. Premium rugby journalism, No . No clickbait. Start free trial.Find Mather
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