QOTD: What Racing Game Hooked You?
Most gearheads of a certain age got their first tastes of behind-the-wheel speed not through their right foot but through their right thumb. Atari, Nintendo, PC … or – for the youngsters among us – PlayStation and Xbox.
Me? Well, here’s the one that hooked me into the world of pixelated dashboards and synthesized exhausts.
That’s right, folks. Your humble author poured hours upon hours into Test Drive: The Game upon discovering it in a school computer lab in 1988. Many virtual miles were spent driving up that poorly rendered Highway 1, only to have it all come to naught with a terribly timed overtaking maneuver resulting in a cracked windshield and much pounding of the computer keyboard. This vexed my elementary school teachers.
Other games littered my hard drive over the years, including atrocious examples of monster truck games, which were basically car-flattening exercises accompanied by the sound of screeching tires … on gravel, natch. I never fully figured that one out. The only thing that would annoy me more is when a coder would append FiveLiterMustang.wav to a virtual Honda Civic.
Thirty years later, I find myself enjoying Forza Horizon 3, an open-sandbox type game set in Australia on Xbox. It’s physics-defying feats of automotive silliness are not grounded in reality, but the scenery is jaw-dropping and, somehow, the simulated party atmosphere actually makes a player feel they’re in the middle of a car-themed festival. It doesn’t top the original Forza Horizon on either of those counts, though, and the less said about Horizon 2, the better.
I gave up on Gran Turismo for PlayStation after being frustrated by the lack of in-car camera views and gestation periods rivalling that of continental drift. These days, I’ll reach for Forza 6 and my Thrustmaster (Isn’t that a great name? THRUSTMATER) wheel and pedal combo if I want more a serious driving simulation.
How about you? What was the first digital driving game you remember? Yes, MarioKart counts. So does the Crash Bandicoot CTR game on PS1. Alternatively, what’s the game you enjoy today? You can go ahead and click one of the three recommended articles below.
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Pole Position - sit down arcade version. Mario Kart was great fun playing with my kids.
My first "racing" game was Night Driver on the Atari 2600. Then Pole Position in the arcade, Excitebike on the NES, Test Drive on the Commodore 64, and GT on the original PlayStation. I just might have to dig out my C=64 this weekend.