The Siren calls to me. They call in exquisite song, the kind that would make even the dulcet tones of the most beautiful songbird akin to the cries of brawling cats. It makes my palms ache with emptiness and the loose change in my pockets burn with anticipation.
I'm walking before I even realise it, navigating my way through crowds on autopilot. There are people nearing my siren, drawn in by their cry. White-hot jealousy flashes past my eyes. When my sight returns the competition are crawling away in fear, beaten and bloody.
I take a seat on a battered chair, lost to the intoxicating allure of the attract mode. The song is so loud that it blocks out the rest of the world. My brain has lost control, the French nobility to the revolutionary peasants that are my hands. Coin after coin slip into the machine with a satisfying clink. My feet dance their way through the menu, in cahoots with my traitorous fists.
The Siren sings of a different tale now, no less sweet. Once again I have competition and my heart pounds with rage. They are my enemy. At the Siren's behest we all surge forwards. I collide with a rival, the impact shaking my very soul until wise counsel issues from the aether to soothe me.
"Try to go easy on the car!"
I think anyone who has set foot in or wandered past an arcade since 1994 has heard the voice of Takenobu Mitsuyoshi. He is the composer and vocalist for SEGA's racing game Daytona USA.
Since the game made it over to the UK, I've never seen an arcade that hasn't had at least a two player Daytona machine. The four player set up is the more common one I see, and while they may be old and increasingly damaged now, they can still lure people in.
I like to think that the soundtrack is one of the reasons for that. It always seemed much louder than the other arcade machines, and the sound is so incredibly distinctive. It, like many of SEGA's tracks from the 90's, is of a different era.
You may know his voice from that game, but you may know his music from others. Many of SEGA's finest racers have had music composed by him. Manx TT, Sega Rally Championship, Virtua Racing, and he's even done music for the Virtua Fighter 2, 3 and Kids.
Oh, and a little game called Shenmue and it's sequel.
But why do I bring this up 21 years after the game first hit arcades, Daytona USA having had a limited release in 1993? Well, like with the intros to 90's animated shows I often found myself wondering if the artists performing those tracks ever looked back on it as an old shame. It was in checking that I came across a 2012 version of Daytona USA's iconic track 'Let's Go Away' by the man himself. I have been listening to it a lot lately because it is so full of joy and energy I can't help but smile.
It comes from a promotional SEGA video that has him talking about and playing the game, and also includes him singing along to The King of Speed as he drives. You may know that one better for two words: Rolling Start.
Takenobu Mitsuyoshi is still with SEGA, focusing on doing vocals for games. I find myself wishing for a Daytona-ish themed track for Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed at some point, with a Richard Jacques/Takenobu Mitsuyoshi collaboration for the music.
This Siren lures me not to a watery grave, but to a happy place filled with great memories and frenetic driving.
@EllenJMiller is an accomplished driver, having participated in the Daytona USA, the SEGA GT 2004, several SEGA Rally Championships, a couple of Road Rashes and the Racing Transformed World Tour. She has never beaten any civilians in an attempt to play Daytona USA but she has tutted loudly and stared at queue-jumping Dance Dance Revolution player before lynching them in accordance with British custom.