We can’t always be out cruising the countryside in our cars - it’s just a simple fact of life. Wonderful then, that we have video games that allow us to race, perform stunts and otherwise tear up the roads in cars that we would never otherwise be able to drive. We’ve picked five of our favourites - we’d also like to hear some of yours.
Stunts (PC, 1990)
This was the gateway drug for many into the world of racing video games. Released on PC as personal computers started to appear in homes, this game had a revolutionary physics engine that replicated the effect of driving on different surfaces, including gravel and icy roads. It also had you flying off massive ramps (physically impossible to construct in the real world), so it wasn’t short of thrills either.
Furthermore, once players had mastered the game’s courses, a track editor allowed racers to design their own race tracks with all manner of ramps, jumps and hairpin curves, giving the game a massive amount of replayability.
Mario Kart (Nintendo Consoles, 1992)
There’s a reason that this game gets remade with every new Nintendo console - it’s just a hell of a lot of fun to play. Combining tracks that wind through fantastic, psychedelic environments with a tactical edge (gather those shells!), it made every race a frantic challenge Every serious gamer has their own favourite racer, whether it be Mario, Princess Peach or Donkey Kong.
Nintendo are currently in production of a mobile version of the game, bringing it to both iOS and Android. Based on sales figures for previous iterations, the upcoming title could potentially be the most downloaded of all time.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS4, Xbox, PC, 2002)
Grand Theft Auto V might have a bigger map, more vehicles and a longer storyline, but Vice City had the unmistakable atmosphere and cool of the eighties. This game was perfect for cruising the coastal in your ‘Grotti Cheetah’, occasionally veering on to the footpath to scatter pedestrians and fire off a few rounds.
Video game reviewers praised Vice City for many of its technological innovations and narrative quirks, but for mine, the massive licensed soundtrack was icing on the cherry. Something about the sheer number of high-speed car chases to ‘I Ran’ by Flock of Seagulls makes this one of our favourite video games of all time.
Mad Max (PS4, Xbox, PC, 2015)
The Pursuit Special, aka the V8 Interceptor might be one of the most iconic cars in videogame history, and this open world game might be the closest you’ll ever get to driving it. Set in the post-apocalypse era of the Mad Max games, players are tasked with restoring a muscle car, the ‘Magnum Opus’ and racing across miles of broken, cracked roads to reclaim his V9 interceptor, stolen by a band of psychotic bandits.
Every part you salvage throughout the world for the car has a different effect and over time, you are able to construct a vehicle capable of winning races, making amazing jumps and ploughing through other cars. A hell of a lot of fun!
Forza Horizon III (Xbox, PC, 2016)
Each of the Forza games is worth playing, but there’s nothing quite like the version of Australia presented to you in this game, along with 350 cars to drive around in it. Locations such as Surfer’s Paradise, the Hunter Valley, Yarra Valley and the Outback are beautifully reproduced, along with courses and rally tracks that will test your driving, drifting and stunt skills to the limit.
One great innovation of this game is that it places you in the shoes of the race series organizer, responsible for hiring drivers, scheduling events and performing stunts to build excitement for the event - if you live, eat and breathe racing culture, this is the game for you. There’s ours, what are yours? Share on our social feeds and we will showcase some of the best answers!
Don't forget, gamers drive cars in the real world too! We have some great private number plates to celebrate your passion for digital entertainment.