Top 10: Greatest driving games
The history of driving games goes back to 1974, when Atari released Gran Trak 10 and Taito released Speed Race – two very different takes on guiding a square through parallel lines.
The kids playing those first racers would never have predicted the genre today, which spans from frenzied weapons-based racing in fantastical fantasy locations, to painstaking, near photorealistic recreations of real world motorsport. And plenty besides.
The following top 10 is our view of the best or most influential videogame racing series over the last 30 years or so. It’s by no means an exhaustive history of racing games, nor a reason to abuse us on social media for not mentioning Crash Team Racing or Road Rash II. You can if you want though. Enjoy…
Ridge Racer (1993)
Ridge Racer is racing in the arcade style, which is to say it’s less about realistic handling and more about 100mph+ drifting around generic courses in generic cars. That’s not to disparage it - there’s generally far more fun to be had doing that than there is finding the apex in a Honda Jazz in order to shave 0.001 seconds from a lap time, for example, *cough* Gran Turismo *cough*
Aside from Ridge Racer Unbounded (which was influenced by Burnout) the game has generally never strayed far from the same basic mechanic - overtake as many cars as possible before the timer runs out. Occasionally clenching a fist in personal glory after nailing the perfect high speed powerslide. Or, if there's someone next to you, forgetting yourself and shouting something really embarrassing, like "BADADINGALING!" That never happened.