Safely Burnin' Rubber

Zyngor | Friday, August 29, 2014
Hey there, so I suppose my loose topic for today was inspired by one thing I've feared doing for awhile in real life, and have finally taken the first step - driving. While I suppose I may be a decade older than several of the other folk in the DMV, I've just never really ran across an overabundance of situations where my feet couldn't take me there, and just the thought of me operation a motor vehicle gives mes the jitters. Anyways, figured I could revel in my permitness and think about some of the racing games I have played.

God bless the mute key.
I'd say one of my first experiences with virtual racing came in the form of those Tiger Electronic handheld games. I can remember playing Road Race, a Formula One/Indy/whatever racer. There may have not been flashy graphics, but it was one heck of a speaker on that thing (almost deafening). The premise of the game was basically more of a "dodge duck dip dive and dodge" the other vehicles on the race track, or game over. Still, I was young, and a game was a game (which, I pretty much feel still the same way). I also played (runs upstairs to check) Off Road (rally racer) and Speed Boat (self-explanatory). What I think I liked best about these at the time was that it simply gave me the freedom to play it anywhere: in bed, outside, in the car. As long as the AAs had enough juice, they were a good complimentary with the Game Boy (of which I don't think I really played any racer titles, of which I can recall).

It's like Ferris Bueller, but even more days!
Jump some years later, over on the PC. This was probably when the Need for Speed series was all that in a box of cookies and glass of milk on top. I got hooked on Need for Speed 2: SE. For me at the time, there was nothing quite like going over a big incline at high speeds, and basically taking a joyride to space. You could get some sweet air in that game, though it usually resulted in some horrible crash landing. Ah well, that's what respawn is for. I think I can also recall it being one of the first games where I got to play around with cheat codes, of which it has a pretty lengthy list. Wanna ride around in a log? Sure! How 'bout a Wild West wagon? Saddle up partner. I was also big into dinosaurs at the time (paleontologist was my dream career, then I had to go and get an English degree...), so racing around the track as a T-rex was pretty ecstatic.

I never really went to many arcades, so unfortunately there weren't too many cabinet racing titles I've given a whirl. There was one I'd play at a frequented restaurant, but I can't recall the name. It was a pretty generic sports car racer...looked like it took place in some tropical location. Other than that, I guess I was pretty cheap as a kid, and would rather stick with home entertainment I didn't have to keep feeding quarters.

Fast forward some more years, and for awhile I became interested in some different racing games that were either a bit different from the norm racer (like Star Wars Episode 1: Racer, a pod racer), or I guess not really a racer persay, but some of the Grand Theft Auto games. Hey, it's got auto in the title, it MUST be wholesome entertainment!
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
I think after that came another NFS title, this time Need for Speed: Underground. This got me back
into playing some good 'ol street racing, and I rather enjoyed the career mode in this, which basically allowed you to start from humble beginnings and race your way up the charts. You could also purchase vehicles and add upgrades and decals to your sweet ride, so a bit of RPGish elements in the pot. I have since played several others from the NFS franchise, from Porsche UnleashedShift, to may favorite of the trio, Hot Pursuit. I think it's just cool to play as both sides of the street racing experience, and performing maneuvers as the police to take out the racers is just a blast.

Probably around that time of Underground was when I heard about Trackmania, a F2P racing game
Yep...physics at its finest.
by French developers Nadeo. Besides being free (the base game, at least - they have since released several other TM titles for charge), it just has a very clean and simple feeling about it. What's also neat is that it comes with its own track editor, so there are a ton of maps you can either play (or decide to try out your constructive flair). I believe the base game comes with the traditional open-car racer, but the expansions have since released other vehicles, like rally cars, alpine 4x4s, and muscles. Because it was F2P and had downloadable maps, I have thrown a good many hours into that one.

There are a couple other titles thrown in the mix that I've revved myself up to try out. There's Burnout Paradise, an open-word racer with plenty to discover, and plenty of cars to unlock on the way. I probably can't have mentioned the GTA bit without mentioning one of my favorite Dreamcast titles, Vigilante 8: Second Offense, a straight up vehicular combat game. Like I said, not racing persay, but they still used the feeling of speed with the ferocity of combat to create an interesting shooter experience. There was also Dirt, a pretty solid rally racer and part of the Colin McRae Rally series, who was a big time rally racer. As such, the game feels like a more authentic rally experience, at least when you have your partner in the passenger seat, feeding you directions.

All in all, I think I've played a decent amount of racing games, and while mostly on PC, got the chance to give some other consoles/handhelds a whirl at the time. While I was never really competitive enough to go head to head with other players, I think virtually driving the car around the track is a pretty safe way to at least get the feeling I'm a drone hovering behind the car, feeding it directions. Which...I suppose I really am doing. In any case, I wonder what would be more difficult: legitimately and carefully driving the entirety of Grand Theft Auto III, or actually making it through my real-life driving experience.

Any driving games you dig? Was there an era you think have made the biggest virtual driving successes? Share below!

I've also done a little work on the blog. Changed up the banner (stretched the design across the top, kept it fairly simple), moved a couple post bits around, yadda yadda. Seem good enough for now, considering I'm not HTML guru?


  1. Ahhh you did change your blog a bit! I thought it looked different somehow :D Looks good to me :) more important, do you like it? :)

    I was never into racing or any kind of car games so cant comment much on that, still, interesting to hear your history with this :)

    1. Thanks! Yeh,I'm happy with it, at least for now. Speaking of different, I like what you've done with yours, too! Very colorful, and still easily readable. Keep up the great work!

    2. thank you! thinking of adding some stars to the background... looking a bit boring to me at mo lol... might be too much but let see!