This morning, we asked what your favorite automotive video games are. They could be anything from driving games, to mechanic games, to games where you cruise around in a big rig and enjoy the sites. You all delivered in spectacular fashion, digging up games across genres, media, even countries. Here are our ten favorites.
Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2. I still boot up my PS2 and play it to this day.
Maybe this is just from my own upbringing, as a PS2 Kid, but there’s something deeply nostalgic about the way cars look in games from that era. Just enough polygons to be recognizable (the branded license plate doesn’t hurt), but smoothed over like a Hot Wheels. They hit this perfect mix of real and fake that just makes you want to go out and buy one of those street rugs.
Submitted by: ExGavalonnj
DiRT Rally 2.0
Dirt Rally 2.0 is the Dark Souls of racing games.
I play it with a wheel and and VR and the challenge is always there.
That game is why I firmly believe that racing without VR is flat. You can get real fear and immersion inside the headset.
Having played one of the earlier DiRT games, calling it “the Dark Souls of racing” is perfectly accurate. These games are unforgiving, harshly accurate in their physics, and an unbridled joy to play when you get them right. My time with DiRT also led to me installing a GPS app that read out directions in rally pace notes, which was extremely fun and extremely inconvenient.
Submitted by: Nate with shorter name
World Driver Championship
A lot of amazing options out there, but I always go back to my longstanding favorite from the N64 days: World Driver Championship.
There weren’t a lot of good non-arcade racing games out there, so while other friends were playing GT, I latched on to this and absolutely loved it. Drop me in an R12 Manta (which is definitely in no way a Corvette knockoff) and drop me on Lisbon and I’ll be happy.
The PlayStation and Xbox kids may not have had access to Mario, but we had the superior racing games — or so we thought. World Driver Championship, from what I can tell, seems to be right there with the early Gran Turismo titles (save for those pesky licensing fees to manufacturers).
Submitted by: sentinelT
I forget which Burnout series it was, but we had the Playstation hooked up to a projector, and would get drunker than Cooter Brown, and do the crash mode thing, complete with explosions.
It really was the ultimate drinking game. Get drunk, CRASH! High score naturally wins.
THAT was way better than having some drinks and playing cards.
Kids, don’t drink and drive. Having a drink and playing a driving game, however, is still allowed — and, for games that focus on crashing, even encouraged. The Burnout games had an air of lovable recklessness to them; while Forza and Gran Turismo were trying to make the most realistic physics engines possible with the tech they had at their disposal, Burnout was focused on making the biggest crashes.
Submitted by: Mod Motor Guy
I’ve always enjoyed the Gran Turismo series. My favorite of the bunch would be GT5 Prologue and GT5. It was this edition that was on the Playstation 3 for the first time. Besides the wide range of cars, I got to drive the digital version of mine, the Honda Prelude Type S (I had and still have the USDM Type SH), in the same shade of green.
Ah, Gran Turismo. My childhood friend and occasional babysitter. I was never good at Gran Turismo 3 growing up, as I was a child unfamiliar with concepts like “braking into a corner” or “decelerating at any time for any reason,” but the games still offered the chance to drive cars I would likely never see in real life — a godsend for young enthusiasts. The modern iterations seem even more sim-like. When Gran Turismo 7 drops later this year, trust that I’ll be buying it day one.
Submitted by: jsarino
First my 5yo son and I started playing GTA3 in “dad mode” because he just wanted to drive around, crash and find the crazy jump stunts around and/or do the firefighting missions.
Eventually we settled on BeamNG.drive.
Just doing the basics of driving with/without traffic, seeing how much damage a car can take and then hitting the “explode button” for fun is all one needs.
BeamNG.drive almost isn’t even a game. It’s more of a physics sandbox, allowing you to see what happens when extremely stoppable forces meet highly movable objects. It also plays nice with Automation, letting you drive and crash-test your own custom-designed cars.
Submitted by: FutureDoc
I can’t believe Mario Kart hasn’t been mentioned yet. Obviously, it’s heavily stylized and features few real-world inspired cars, but it’s a game series that’s had a pretty large influence on the racing genre as a whole. Not only that, but it can be both a game that’s fairly easy to pick up and play casually, as well as one that can be taken on competitively. Lots of titles have tried to copy its formula and gameplay with very few succeeding.
People act like Mario Kart’s lack of real-world cars makes it “not a real racing game.” I’ll posit another point of view: You race in it, therefore it is a racing game. In fact, independent studies (me, et al.) have shown that taking a traditional racing line can in fact win you a Mario Kart race — as long as you can avoid getting blue-shelled.
Submitted by: Fluffy6079
Initial D Arcade
Initial D Arcade at Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan
You may notice, dear reader, that this is the only entry on the list not to be represented by in-game footage. That’s because the idea of using actual cars (or, probably more likely, full-scale models) is the coolest thing I have ever seen in my life. I have an Initial D keychain. My license plate is an Initial D reference. If I hadn’t asked this question today, would you all have hidden this arcade from me forever? As soon as air travel is safe again, I’m buying a plane ticket.
Submitted by: SennaMP4
Euro Truck Simulator & American Truck Simulator
If we’re going by pure playtime, then I guess mine would be Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator. I’ve got hundreds of hours combined in those two.
Certainly there are truckers who spend long hours away from their families, sleeping in the only marginally-comfortable cabs of their trucks for days and weeks on end, driving thousands of miles a year to scratch out a living for their families and pay off the crushing debt they’ve incurred just for the privilege of doing so, and they’d be shocked to learn that some people actually ENJOY playing a game (sorry, “simulator”) of this activity. Most probably couldn’t understand the appeal.
I couldn’t explain that appeal to them, because I don’t rightly understand it myself, but dang it if there isn’t something strangely engrossing, cathartic, and soothing about hauling virtual freight across the EU and (so far only western) US in ETS2 and ATS.
On the other end of the spectrum from getting tossed around in a full-scale car, there’s Euro Truck Simulator. While the series has both American and European entries, the EU option always seems to be the more popular of the two. Maybe it’s because, when you’re sitting in the cab of a tractor trailer for hours on end, you want scenery that doesn’t match what you see out your window on your daily commute. Or maybe European cabover trucks are just cooler.
Submitted by: ReverendTed
Tokyo Xtreme Racer
It’s a tossup between Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero and Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3 for the PS2. 3 takes more strategy and is tougher to beat, but Zero is great for a lot of mindless fun- just tune the cars up to ridiculous horsepower and go really fast.
As a middle-aged guy with lots of responsibilities and too many hobbies I just can’t commit lots of time to gaming. I really love the old stuff because you can get the full experience with only sinking a few hours into it.
Mindless, high-horsepower fun is the platonic ideal of a racing game. I don’t want to work my way up through various racing circuits, I want to build as-exact-as-possible replicas of the cars from Formula Drift, Initial D, and Wangan Midnight. Any game that lets me do that is a winner in my book.
Submitted by: As Du Volant