Since the beginning of video games, one of the most popular game formats has been racing games. And why not? These games allow us to drive as fast as we want and as crazy as we want without having to worry about getting hurt, receiving traffic citations, or having to attend traffic school after the fact!
These offer a degree of single-player fun, by racing the computer or exploring a map by whipping around in your car. There’s also the enjoyable multi-player aspect of racing a friend or even nowadays racing online against competitors throughout the world.
While there have been numerous racing games created, there are certain ones that have stood out over the years. Some of these stood out for the innovation they brought to the video game market at the time and others for the incredible amount of detail and thought put into their development. Regardless of the reasons, these are five of the best racing games of all time.
This game, created for the Atari 2600, set the future stage for all of the racing games to come after it. Pole Position was the first game to produce the third-person view from slightly behind the car, which gives you the perfect vantage point to see the entire car and the road ahead. This has become the norm nowadays in racing games, but in 1982 this was a groundbreaking innovation for racing games.
Mario Kart might be the racing game with the longest lifespan as its first release was in 1992 and new versions of the game are still being made today. It seems like every generation that has grown up with video games maintains a special place in their hearts for Mario Kart. The game took racing beyond just driving the car as it introduced colorful environments, extra features, like turtle shells, that could spoil your competitors, and power-ups to give you an edge. Plus, the go-karts featured tapped into everyone’s obsessions with racing anything possible.
In 1999, Crazy Taxi came out across numerous systems and offered an entirely new foray into racing games. Instead of racing competitors, you raced against the clock as you drove passengers from one place to another. That was the purpose, but the fun of the game came from the minimal rules enforced as you raced from one location to another across the city. You could jump over traffic and fly off jumps around the hills of a city that looked a lot like San Francisco.
Forza Motorsport 4
Forza is one of the several long-term racing game series and dates back to 2005. Forza Motorsport 4 is one installment that stands out amongst the others. The game had an ideal blend of features that pleased both hardcore and causal fans. Some of the best aspects of the game was the fine-tuned handlings, the great roster of cars, and the incredible detail that went into the car design.
Burnout 3: Takedown
Burnout 3 introduced a different blend of driving games where the goal wasn’t just to beat your opponent but to debilitate them as well. The game provided options to take out your competitor with a takedown, which when executed properly left them smashed up on the side of the road. There was other insanely fun features as well, like the Crash mode that encouraged you to drive into traffic in order to produce the most damage possible. The game was endlessly entertaining and felt more like what you see in movies driving than normal video games. The success of the later versions were built of the initial success from Burnout 3.
Does your list of best racing games match up with this one? What are some of your favorites?