By on June 21, 2018

Three decades ago, video games could only offer the vaguest approximation of driving. Things are very different today. While a lot of modern software still forgoes realism for the sake a fun, simulators have grown in popularity and are becoming incredibly realistic. Real tracks are built to scale, weather effects have meaning, and automobiles behave in a faithful manner. Gamers can even swap their gamepads for honest-to-god cockpits.

Racing simulators have become so effective that Nissan’s PlayStation GT Academy program is now in its eighth year. The event pits thousands of gamers against each other in order to find some they can put behind the wheel of an actual race car. Players then receive additional simulator and on-road training before being allowed to compete in legitimate races.

While we could endlessly debate how well video game skills translate to actual racing, they do provide gamers with an opportunity to learn the tracks and sharpen reaction times. They’ve certainly proven competitive enough for the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile to sanction virtual racing leagues.  (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2018

Gran Turismo is arguably the first video game franchise to appeal to car enthusiasts en masse. While Sega’s Out Run had us sitting behind the wheel of a Ferrari Testarossa as early as 1987 and Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed let us abuse a handful of exotics by 1994, Polyphony Digital hit us with 140 licensed reproductions of real-world automobiles in 1997. Two years later, Gran Turismo 2 upped the ante with 650 new and used cars, even more tracks, and extensive modifications. This kicked off a bizarre symbiotic relationship between game developers and automakers.

Advancements in technology allowed burgeoning car fans to virtually experience their favorite rides, as well as new models they’d never even heard of. Developers took notice of the GT success story, as did manufacturers, which recognized the usefulness of these games as an incredibly potent marketing tool. Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have all developed concept vehicles that debuted inside a video game, Ford briefed Turn 10 Studios so it could nail the GT’s specs in Forza 6 before the car even finished development, Toyota offered a free demo disc of Gran Turismo 4 as part of its 2004 model brochure, and Porsche unveiled the GT2 RS during the Forza Motorsport 7 press announcement at last year’s E3 conference.

While corporate partnerships between automakers and game developers are nothing new, it’s exceedingly rare to see a vehicle intended exclusively for the digital realm drive off the screen and onto the racetrack. But that’s exactly what Audi has done with the E-Tron Vision Gran Turismo.  (Read More…)

By on November 28, 2017

NISMO Festival

Not long after promising to build new spare parts for the GT-R as part of its NISMO heritage program, the company threw a big bash at the Fuji Speedway circuit in its honor. More than 150 of its cousins showed up.

This is the 20th year for the NISMO Festival, which showcases the Nissan GT-R and the NISMO brand. It’s as if someone sprinkled fairy dust on an old Gran Turismo game and it sprang to life.

(Read More…)

By on August 31, 2012

The winners of Nissan’s GT Academy have been chosen. To nobody’s surprise in particular, their group photograph is completely unsuitable for this site. Turns out that the Internet is a little short on hot girls or street-wise African-American dudes who are totes into racing imaginary cars online. Oh well. Now, the shortlist of digital Sennas is off to try their hand at driving some real cars.

(Read More…)

By on August 7, 2012

Growing up, my parents were adamant about prohibiting video game consoles in the house; TV was time-limited as it is (the permitted shows included South Park and The Simpsons…go figure), the computer was for “educational purposes” (i.e. school work or reading about cars) and recreational activities took the form of a book or outdoor activities. Until that fateful day in Target.

(Read More…)

By on December 6, 2010

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Time and time again, it’s the comparison that kept occurring to me as I played Gran Turismo 5 on my PS3. The fruit of years – and years of development, Sony’s Forza-killer was finally bestowed upon us this November. Befitting its immense gestation period, the game is a mix of out-dated user interfaces and standard cars and tracks, a sublime driving engine, and incredible detail on some of the newer premium cars. Originally targeted at Forza Motorsport 2, it came out after Forza 3, and it plays like something in between the two.

(Read More…)

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