We're on the precipice of the Forza Horizon launch and what will almost certainly become an obnoxious shitstorm perpetuated by people who wear racing shoes while playing console simulator racing games. They'll complain about the "physics" and how it isn't "real" enough for them.
These are the same people who ruin the experience of racing video games by decrying the lack of purity, that shove their lap times in your face, and see a mid-race crash as some sort of affront to all that is right and holy.
Well, guess what, no one gives a fuck how fast you are in Gran Turismo, Forza, or any other racing game. The joy of racing, like the joy of car culture, is something that's strongest when it's shared, and it's competitive assholes like you that ruin the shared environment.
Let me start this off with the exceptions, so no one gets caught in the crossfire unfairly: if you've built a rig in your home to play iRacing, SimRaceway, or any other high quality computer-based simulator the lap times are definitely important as that's the point. If you're doing GT Academy that's also the point.
But even then, up to a point, no one actually gives a shit. I used the Long Island Medium to go back in time and ask real racer Carroll Shelby if he cared about someone's online lap time and he socked me right in the jaw for asking what he called "One stupid fuckin' question."
You shouldn't be ashamed of being good at these games. You should absolutely brag to your friends about your lap times and rag on them for being slower. You just shouldn't take it too seriously.
This also goes for those of you who look down your nose at arcade racing games and people who like arcade racing games. This is about as ridiculous as someone easting Spam chastising someone eating Tofurky for not experiencing "real food."
The realest of real simulators isn't the same as racing a real car, and until you try to race in real life no one will think you're a badass. I've raced a Cadillac CTS-V in Forza around Laguna Seca, and then did the real thing. It's not the same. Forza and Gran Turismo do a decent job of simulating the environment, and you can learn a lot, but at its best it's still the vehicular equivalent of a Fleshlight.
It's probably easier for me to say this because I do, very badly, need this to be true. I am not a terrible driver in real life, but I'm certainly not a great driver online as anyone here who has raced me can attest.
Yet, more importantly, I hope anyone who has raced me online can also attest to having a fun time, because online racing is as much about showing off your ridiculous Hello Kitty Lambo paint scheme and smashing into your friends as it is about proving to everyone you can slice seconds off at Ascari.
You know what one of the best racing games is? Mario Kart Double Dash. It has a low barrier to entry, the physics are ridiculous, and even being exceptionally good at it doesn't mean you can't get taken down by one of those fucking blue shells. You can, and should, spend all night playing Mario Kart with your friends.
If car culture is to survive we need more people to care about it, and online games are a fun way to do this. I bought an Xbox just to play racing simulators and it makes me care even more about cars than I already do. Let's not make it harder to enjoy by being a dick.
Being fast in a racing simulator is a fine accomplishment, but so is tuning a LeCar up to 1000 HP and racing it against a Bugatti. In fact, I'd say that's the better accomplishment.