Since the inception of racing games, gamers have loved to compete against the clock, and their friends, in virtual simulations. There is an intensity to a racing game, an increase in adrenaline levels, and freedom that doesn’t exist in the real world.
Racing games don’t have to be realistic either; they can be colorful and imaginative – such as Mario Kart or Star Wars Racer. If, however, you’re in the market for an exact rendition of a Formula One car, virtual racing games can provide that too – here are five of the best car games of all time.
Gran Turismo is a classic franchise in the racing genre that has seen several incarnations over the last twenty years. The original version was released in 1997 for the Playstation and featured 140 cars and 11 race tracks. The game was an immediate success, offering players two game modes (arcade and simulation) to test out their virtual driving capabilities.
Many sequels and spin-offs followed the original release, all with eager anticipation from fans and enthusiasts. However, there were significant differences in titles over the years, and not all of them were a resounding success. Perhaps the most well-known and much loved Gran Turismo title was Gran Turismo 3, released in 2001. It had fewer cars than previous titles, but they were all excellent creations that yet to be forgotten.
Mario Kart: Double Dash
Every time Nintendo releases new consoles, fans are eager to test out the latest Mario Kart title. There have been some excellent versions over the years, including ones that introduce something novel into the mix – the red shell, the oil slick, the glider, and the double dash. But it’s not just the features that make Mario Kart one of the very best racing games of all time; it’s the playability as well.
Perhaps one of the most iconic and fondly remembered titles is Mario Kart: Double Dash. The title was released for the GameCube in 2003 and received a warm reception from fans and critics. Using 3D Polygon graphics for the racers and introducing new gameplay options, such as cooperative gameplay, allowing two riders to occupy the same kart, the game is also remembered for its superb themed tracks.
If realism is what you look for in a racing game, you probably won’t forget F1 2018 for its graphics, tracks, and playability. Initially released for Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, and Xbox One, F1 2018 featured substantial revisions from its predecessor, extending the career mode to allow players to develop the engine, chassis, and aerodynamics of the cars.
F1 2018 did an excellent job of approximating the 2018 Formula One World Championship and rendering it a highly playable and entertaining video game. It includes the very same 21 circuits, ten teams, and 20 drivers that participated in the competition, as well as exact digital replicas of cars such as the McLaren M23. This enthralling production is all you need to revisit the 2018 event and make it your own.
Star Wars Episode 1: Racer
Perhaps the best thing to emerge from Star Wars Episode One was the podracing game released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64 and Sega Dreamcast. Fans of the film – if there are any – will be familiar with the dusty landscape of Tatooine and the cast of characters who compete in the action-packed racing sequence. Add to the number of other imaginative tracks and gameplay modes, and the result is an extremely creative racing game not to be overlooked.
There is nothing realistic about it – it falls into the same category of racing games as Wipeout and F-Zero; but if you love virtual racing for the adrenaline rush and competition, as well and unexpected obstacles, then Star Wars Episode One Racer must be high on your list of all-time favorites. Following the release of this title, two more podracing games came out, including Star Wars: Racer Arcade, and Star Wars Racer Revenge, released in 2000, and 2002.
Winding back the clock to the mid-eighties, you will find Outrun, one of the first racing video games. First released by Sega in 1986, it was only available in arcade cabinets. The game was developed by Yu Suzuki, a Japanese game designer, and featured graphics that were cutting edge at the time. Suzuki sought inspiration from European landscapes, and the goal of the game is to avoid traffic and reach one of five destinations.
Players control a Ferrari Testarossa Spider from a third-person perspective. The camera angle is close to the ground allowing players to identify closely with the characters. The roads curve and dip challenging players to stay on track, and various obstacles come into view. The game is played against the clock, and there are multiple stages to overcome before winning the trophy. By today’s standards it is undoubtedly tame, but signals the beginning of a new genre.