Hello! This post begins a run of fantastic guest posts where various writers will come and talk about a variety of subjects. We start this week with some of the best racing games ever made!
The Greatest Racing Games of All Time
Racing games are an easy way to experience at least some of the thrills of chasing supercars around famous tracks. They're fun, pretty much family-friendly (most of the time) and most importantly, they're easy to play but difficult to master. With titles ranging from the hyper-realistic to the cartoonish and wacky, there's a racing game to appeal to pretty much anybody. Let's look at some of the best ones ever committed to disc/cartridge.
Star Wars: Racer
The new Star Wars films add very little to the original saga. Ask any fan what he/she thinks of them and you'll be sure to be treated to a volcano of Gungan-fuelled rage. However, the new films had one saving grace: pod racing. That saving grace was milked for all it was worth. The Star Wars: Racer arcade machine brought the blisteringly fast pace of pod racing to life AND resulted in life-size sit-in pod racers popping up in arcades across the world. Brilliant.
Originally released in 1992 for the Sega Genesis, Virtua Racing was a truly cutting-edge arcade-style racer. It was presented in eye-wateringly beautiful 3D graphics and you could select your own camera angle, allowing you to view your blocky little F1 car from a variety of angles. Sure, it looks more than a little bit clunky by modern standards, but Virtua Racing was a very special game back in the days before racing titles became eerily realistic.
If you have ever enjoyed an arcade machine where you sat on/in a plastic vehicle to play, you have 1985's Hang On to thank for it. The game itself was simple - it was little more than a basic motorcycle simulator - but it was the controls that set it apart. Hang On was the first game to feature a ride-on arcade controller. Look around your local arcade at all the ride-on/in racing games and you'll see Hang On's legacy.
This 1999 hit broke all the rules. All you had to do was pick up taxi customers and drop them off at their desired location as quickly as possible. Beyond that, there were no rules. You could speed, run red lights, send your taxi flying over ramps and generally do things that you'd have never dared try during your driving lessons. Such is the continued popularity of this golden oldie, it's available from the Arcade Stores on the Xbox 360 and PS3, despite the fact it was originally released over 10 years ago!
Project Gotham Racing 3
Xbox 360's Project Gotham is disappointingly not a Batman-themed racing game. However, the reality of the game is nearly as exciting as the idea of a Batmobile drag race. Basically, it's a standard modern racer, but it awards kudos points for tricks you pull off while almost crashing your car. Ever wanted to jump a bus in a Acura NSX? Project Gotham Racing is the game for you.
Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart isn't just one of the best racing games in the world, it's one of the greatest computer games ever conceived. Simple enough to appeal to casual gamers and nuanced enough for competitive play, Mario Kart was propelled to new heights by the Wii's innovative control system. The Wiimote and steering wheel combo added more fun than realism, but it brought the joys of Mario Kart to a whole new generation.
Wipeout was one of those wonderful gaming anomalies that could have only occurred in the 1990s. Futuristic hover cars? Check. Power ups? Check. Incredibly beautiful tracks? Check. Pumping club soundtrack? Check. The 2008 reboot of this glorious franchise surpassed the high expectations set by its forebears and put Wipeout back in the spotlight. Better still, it allowed you to load your own MP3s to replace the soundtrack with something a little more laid back.
Rally driving games have been popular since the days of Sega Rally, but Dirt 2 is the best of the bunch. What could be more fun than taking a pleasantly realistic rally car and thrashing it around a muddy track with your mates? It's a simple game and it doesn't feature power-ups that let you throw turtle shells at each other, but it's still a modern classic.
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
Like almost all racing games, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit doesn't spend much time weaving an elaborate back story. However, what it lacks in storytelling it more than makes up for in sheer style. The game is visually stunning and has a nice little twist that racing game fans will enjoy: you an play as either the po-po (commonly known as the police) or as an illegal street racer. Each side even has a few cheeky tricks up their sleeve (stuff like calling in air support).
Gran Turismo 5
What can we say about the Gran Turismo series that you don't know? It's the single greatest achievement made by racing games programmers. It's beautiful, realistic, and amazingly successful. If you've not played any of them, go out and buy at least one!
This post was provided by PassSmart, the UK's simplest way to find a local driving instructor
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