It’s stream day here at Jalopnik! Last week our pals Steve, Andy and José discussed potential motorcycle purchases, though my brain is fuzzy on the specifics because I was preoccupied with making a name for myself in Midnight Club’s version of Los Angeles. Well, I may not ride, but I do happen to know what the best riding sim is. Today we’ll be playing it over at twitch.tv/jalopnikdotcom at 4 p.m. Eastern.
It’s called Tourist Trophy. Released in 2006 — the waning days of the PlayStation 2's active lifespan — Tourist Trophy was developed by Gran Turismo makers Polyphony Digital. Polyphony repurposed the GT4 engine and many of the game’s assets for a motorcycle riding simulator. As the PS3 was on the horizon and the Xbox 360 was already out, many overlooked Tourist Trophy, though those that didn’t rightfully know it as the best racing experience on two wheels you’ll find in gaming, to this day.
Tourist Trophy featured over 120 bikes and almost every asphalt track from GT4, save for Circuit de la Sarthe, home of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Yes — that means you can ride on the Nürburgring Nordschleife in this game. Certain cuts had to be made on the gameplay side of things — bikes and rider animations are quite intricate to model and were a heavy lift for the old PS2, so Polyphony pared down the number of AI competitors to three in order to ensure that rock-solid 60 frame-per-second target was met.
Honestly, the lack of rivals on track doesn’t really matter. The physics are the star of the show in Tourist Trophy, and Polyphony’s ability to convey the shifting heft of your rider in addition to the bike’s own mass is the dev team’s crowning achievement. It’s still a joy to play, and realistic or not, I’ll take it over modern riding sims like Ride 4 any day of the week.
I’m excited to settle in with a dedicated two-wheeled racer for the first time on one of the streams; I just know José’s going to love it, and probably teach me me many things about bikes! Join us at 4 p.m. ET over at the jalopnikdotcom Twitch channel to find out what it’s all about.