The recent (and bewildering) success of Steam titles like American Truck Simulator have shined a light on the pleasures of digital trucking, but over the years there have actually been quite a few games about hauling cargo on the open road. This list highlights 10 of the most notable. While I’d like to say that these are all forgotten classics, the reality is that some of these games rank among the worst ever created. Most are at best goofy historical curiosities. There are still some excellent times to be had on the digital highways, however. So tear up the swindle sheets, turn on some C.W. McCall, and get ready to put the hammer down. We’re going truckin’.
Back in the 1990s, most prominent racing games were largely arcade affairs. Players enjoyed the experience of games like Cruis’n USA and Ridge Racer and even Need for Speed II dropped the more realistic simulation of the original in favor of a more arcade-styled gameplay system. It’s safe to say there were very few games going the racing sim route outside of the NASCAR titles licensed for development by Electronic Arts. In 1997, that changed when a new game hit the scene that was about to start a franchise and revolutionize the hybridization of arcade elements and realistic racing simulation, not to mention become one of the most popular PlayStation games of all time. Today, we celebrate the arrival of the original Gran Turismo on North American shelves in 1998.
Before 2005, there were only a handful of racing franchises that dominated the landscape. If you asked any player what a good console racing game was, they would probably point you in the direction of Need For Speed, Gran Turismo, or even Burnout. While each of those games set a style and garnered a fan base all their own in the world of vehicle video game enthusiasm, there was yet one more franchise on the way that was about to turn the genre on its head. In May 2005, Forza Motorsports arrived on shelves for the original Xbox, and with it came an all-new level of realism the likes of which had never appeared in a racing game before it.
Twenty years ago, Sony and SingleTrac released their first entry in the gun-toting destruction derby and vehicular combat series, Twisted Metal. It's time we look back at the octane-fueled mayhem of Twisted Metal and the large influence the original game had in putting the first PlayStation console on the map.
Simply titled Need for Speed, this racer marks the franchise's first current-gen exclusive, finally focusing on getting the most it can from modern consoles without having to worry about including last-gen tech. Fortunately, this helps NFS look absolutely gorgeous, which ultimately matters when you factor in the underwhelming graphics of Gran Turismo 6 compared to the fine polish of Forza Motorsport 6. Utilizing the full extent of the current-gen hardware, Need for Speed revs up into a promising experience that is all about underground and urban street racing, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee a smooth ride.
EA has released an FAQ for its upcoming Need for Speed reboot that is due out this November, revealing all kinds of new info for this revamped racer.
Nintendo has launched a new bundle for the Wii U that includes the console, Mario Kart 8 and both of its downloadable content packs (yes, that includes Link).
The rains at Sebring International Raceway have been coming down hard throughout the day, and there's no sign they'll be letting up before the green flag drops. The wiper can barely keep the windshield clear enough to see beyond the edge of the hood, but this race is happening no matter what. The asphalt and concrete, slick beneath the rubber tires, is treacherous even at the lowest gears. Then come the puddles. If you're quick, you can avoid them. If you're too quick, you can't. Before there's time to react, both driver and car are embraced in a futile dance with physics as they careen all the way off the track and into the tire barricade. You're no longer competition; you're a warning from Mother Nature. Be wary, racers, for the same fate awaits you if you don't respect the elements.
Slightly Mad Studios' recent racer is never leaving the garage for Nintendo, as Project CARS' Wii U version has been cancelled.
The indie racer Spectra is pulling up to the starting lines and is ready to hit the highway. Boasting procedurally generated levels, a fast speed, amazing beats and fluorescent neon visuals, it’s quite easy to see that Spectra could have everything you’re looking for in a racing title. While there has been an outbreak of indie, retro-style games hitting the market over the past few years, very few of those titles have been racing games. Gateway Interactive have utilized classic arcade visuals to help bring Spectra to life. Don't worry about brakes or acceleration here, because Spectra is all about testing your reflexes.