In honor of the vehicular hoonage video games allow us to safely perpetrate, we've selected these, the ten greatest cars from the annals of video game history. They have challenged the deftness of our readers thumbs, the quickness of their eyes and the flexibility of their notions of how gravity works. Whether in a racing sim, an action title or crime-ridden universe, these ten vehicles represent generations of rubber-burning enjoyment. Hit the jump to see them all.
What is a "Spy Hunter" exactly and why is everyone trying to run the "Spy Hunter" off the road? It's hard to say, but few people locked into the excitement of playing Spy Hunter bothered to do anything but toss Road Lords off the screen to the hypnotic beat of the "Peter Gunn" theme. It had smokescreens, it had oil slicks and with a trip to the weapon van it was seriously armed. Most of all, it was sexy.
You started out with a Mazda Demio, worked your way up to a Del Sol and struggled your way through to a Mitsubishi 3000GT stacked so high with performance parts you could barely keep it on the road. You did all these things but you weren't anybody in Gran Turismo until you could plop down the insane cash for the even more insane Suzuki Escudo Pike's Peak Racer. How insanely fast was it? As Dr.Danger pointed out, you could achieve unreal speed by setting up a long draft on the oval course. Given the right setup the physics engine would even let you do a somersault with it. [Photo: IGCD.net]
Growing up with arcades, there were two kind of people: the ones that looked for the multi-colored Street Fighter joysticks and the ones that looked for the (if you were lucky) triple steering wheels of Ivan "Ironman" Stewart's Super Off Road. It was the first steering wheel a lot of kids like Unregular got their pizza-stained hands on and, due to quick gameplay and NITROS, most of them were never the same again. [Photo: TeamTeaBag]
Twisted Metal has a special place in our hearts for merging the concept of head-to-head destruction with a driving game in such an enjoyable package. Everyone had a favorite vehicle and a belief that their special weapon was the key to success. But no car managed to stir the imagination like Sweet Tooth, the insane clown in a Chevy Ice Cream Truck. It was tough. It was fun to drive. It had a giant clown head on the top of it. It was the ultimate extension of teenage angst in a purely digital form. [Photo: IGCD.net]
Who knew that a game essentially about go-kart racing could be so much fun? It manages to feature no vehicles or weapons from the real world. The race tracks are often shaped like characters. The physics of the game are completely unlike even kart racing. Yet time-after-time we manage to sit down with our friends and enjoy hours of the game on any console it appears on. As with other games, there is debate as to what kart is truly the best, but Mario's red kart clearly carries with it the best balance of speed, size and acceleration. Be on the lookout for that kart and LamerX with a red shell on your tail.
It takes a lot of effort to stand out in a game that features, amongst other vehicles, an Armored Personal Carrier and an ambulance. What makes the Infernus so special to the Grand Theft Auto series is the durability of its enjoyment (if not its actual, rather poor, durability). Whether it's the Vector-based Infernus of GTA III or the Murcielago of GTA IV, there's little that's as much fun as hopping in the high-speed ride, finding the best ramp and learning how to fly higher than a helicopter. We imagine Msketchler is trolling a virtual world in one now. [Photo: IGCD.net]
The Blue Racer from F-Zero stands out on this list, and not just because it is the only car here without any wheels. When F-Zero debuted on the SNES it blew our minds. With its quasi-3D graphics it felt like a revolution in gameplay. It was as if we had gone from horse-and-buggy to hovercar. Though the differentiation between cars was for the most part completely visual, everyone seemed to want the Blue Racer when it was their turn at the controls. It not only carried the cover and looked the fastest, it felt the fastest. It is the only futuristic racer that Dr. Danger would pilot around Mute City. [Photo: Wikimedia]
Rather than bothering with the complicated licensing involved in creating a NASCAR-type game, SEGA pushed through a rather detailed racing simulator with made-up names. As the driver in the original version of Daytona USA you raced a Hornet, and only a hornet. Is it a Ford or a Chevy? We don't know. We just know that when anyone is invited to an event at Dave & Buster's the first test of skill is behind the wheel of Hornet. It looks like a stock car but it drives like a dream and takes abuse like Rodney Dangerfield. [Photo Arcade-History]
Before there was a fully 3D Grand Theft Auto there was Driver: You Are The Wheelman. As an undercover cop asked to infiltrate the world or organized crime, you have to dodge the cops and carry out jobs for the villains without becoming one yourself. Rather than throwing the driver into an officially-licensed Dodge Intrepid or something equally as ridiculous, the designers start out the driver in what is essentially a Buick Skylark. The mix of tire-smoking rear-wheel-drive and a growling V8 make for classic and unforgettable enjoyment. It's one big reason to never part with that PS1. [Photo: IGCD.net]
Though Hang On may have been the test-bed for the technology, the original Out Run arcade game was one of the first driving simulators to put the player head first into the action. It was the game that let us dream of actually cruising down familiar roads at high-speeds and it was the Ferrari Testarossa we associate with that dream. It combined the beauty of a classic Italian design with the fun of open-top driving. But the best feature, and the reason why we can't forget the car, was probably the girlfriend in the passenger seat. Any car that comes pre-equipped with a blonde passenger that's easily impressed by beating a checkpoint is the car for Kors and a ride worthy of our endless appreciation. [Photo: IGCD.net]