Racing game

Racing game

* Many board games can be said to be racing games, such as Snakes and Ladders, Cribbage, or Formula Dé. (see race game)
* There are also toys made for racing, like slot cars and radio controlled cars.One of the more common uses of the term racing game is to describe a genre of computer and video games. Racing games are either in the first or third person perspective. They may be based on anything from real-world racing leagues to entirely fantastical settings, and feature any type of land, air, or sea vehicles. In general, they can be distributed along a spectrum anywhere between hardcore simulations, and simpler arcade racing games.


The arcade title Gran Trak 10, released by Atari in 1974 is generally considered as the progenitor of the genre. Gran Track 10 presents an overhead view of the track in low resolution white on black graphics, on which the player races against the clock to accumulate points. While challenging, it is not competition racing.
Night Racer, released by Micronetics in 1977 extended the genre into 3 dimensions by presenting a series of posts by the edge of the road. There was no view of the road or the players car and the graphics are still low resolution white on black. Like Gran Trak 10, Gameplay was a race against the clock.True "racing" as we know it was started by the Namco game Pole Position in 1982. This time the player has AI cars to race against, and time limit to keep pushing the players to go faster. Pole Position is also the first game to be based on a real racing circuit. Pole Position introduced color graphics at a much higher resolution than earlier titles.

Racing games in general tend to drift toward the arcade side of reality, mainly due to hardware limitations, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. It is however untrue to say that there were no games considered simulations in their time.

In 1984 Geoff Crammond, later to develop the "Grandprix" series (Known collectively as GPX to its fanbase) produced what is considered the first attempt at a racing simulator, REVS, for the BBC Microcomputer. The game offered an unofficial, (and hence with no official team or driver names associated with the series} recreation of British Formula 3. The hardware capabilities limited the depth of the simulation and restricted it (Initially) to one track but it was far above any other games at the time in terms of detail.

In 1986, Sega produced Out Run, one of the most graphically impressive game of its time. It used two Motorola 68000 CPUs for its 2D sprite-based driving engine, and it became an instant classic that spawned many sequels.

In 1987, Namco produced Final Lap, the first arcade game that allowed multiple machines to be linked, allowing for multiplayer races. In the same year, Atari produced Road Blasters, a driving game that also involved a bit of shooting.

In 1988, Atari introduced Hard Drivin', the first arcade driving game that included force feedback as well as 3D polygonal graphics. This is the first game where the wheel actually fights the player during take aggressive turns. It also featured a crash replay camera view.

In 1990 the now defunct Papyrus Design Group produced their first attempt at a racing Simulator, the critically acclaimed . Accurately replicating the 1989 Indianapolis 500 grid it offered advanced (For its time) 3D graphics, setup options, car failures and handling. The damage modelling, while not accurate by today's standards, was capable of producing some spectacular and entertaining pile-ups which the game was also known. It was later almost forgotten with the success of Crammond's F1GP but to this day many argue that it boasted superior graphics to the 1992 title.

In 1992 Sim Racing gained a new champion in the shape of World Circuit, developed by Geoff Crammond's group Simergy. It boasted unparalleled detail and a full recreation of the cars and circuits of the 1991 Formula One World Championship, though as with REVS it was not granted an official license by the series, thus teams and drivers were renamed (Though could all be changed back to their real names using the Driver/Team selection menu) with Ayrton Senna becoming Carlos Sanchez and so forth.

On the other end of the spectrum Sega produced Virtua Racing. While not the first game with 3D graphics (see REVS), it was able to combine the best features of games at the time, along with multiplayer machine linking and clean 3D graphics to produce a game that was above and beyond the arcade market standard of its time. Also Nintendo broke new ground by introducing the Mario Kart series on the SNES with Super Mario Kart. Using the familiar characters from the Mario franchise, the game not only departed from the realism paradigm by using small karts for the players to drive, but also featured bright, colourful environments and allowed the players to pick up power-ups to improve performance or hamper other racers. This franchise also spawned multiple sequels.

In 1993, Namco struck back with Ridge Racer, and thus began the polygonal war of driving games. Sega struck back in 1994 with Daytona USA, while Midway introduced Crusin' USA. Atari didn't join the 3D craze until 1997, when it introduced San Francisco Rush.

In 1996, Konami introduced GTI Club which allowed free roaming of the environment - something of a revolution that had only been done in 3D before in Hard Drivin'.

By 1997, the typical PC was capable of matching an arcade machine in terms of graphical quality, mainly due to the introduction of first generation 3D accelerators such as 3DFX Voodoo. The faster CPUs were capable of simulating increasingly realistic physics, car control, and graphics. Colin McRae Rally was introduced in 1998 to the PC world, and was a successful semi-simulation of the world of rally driving (previously only available in Sega's less serious Sega Rally Championship). Motorhead, a PC game, was later adapted back to arcade.

In 1998 Gran Turismo was released for the PlayStation, and has since become one of the most popular racing franchises ever, with the series selling more than 44 million copies worldwide. The series combined fairly realistic racing with playability, enabling players of all skill levels to play.

1999 marked a change of games into more "free form" worlds. Midtown Madness for the PC allows the player to explore a simplified version of the city of Chicago using a variety of vehicles and any path that they desire. In the arcade world, Sega introduced Crazy Taxi, where you are a taxi driver that needed to get the client to the destination in the shortest amount of time. A similar game also from Sega is Emergency Ambulance Driver, with almost the same game play (pick up patient, drop off at hospital, as fast as possible). Games are becoming more and more realistic visually. Some arcade games are now featuring 3 screens to provide a surround view.

There is a wide gamut of driving games ranging from simple action-arcade racers like Mario Kart Double Dash (for the Nintendo Gamecube) and Nick Toon Racers to ultra-realistic simulators like NASCAR Revolution, rFactor, Live for Speed and Grand Prix Legends to sci-fi racers and everything in between.

General genres

Racing simulators

Simulation style racing games strive to convincingly replicate the handling of an automobile. They often license real cars or racing leagues, but will use fantasy cars built to resemble real ones if unable to acquire them.

Although these racing simulators are specifically built for people with a high grade of driving skill, it is not uncommon to find aids that can be enabled from the game menu. The most common aids are traction control (TC), anti-lock brakes, steering assistance, damage resistance, clutch assistance, automatic gearbox, etc. This softens the learning curve for the difficult handling characteristics of most racing cars.

The Formula One World Championship has a fan base all over the world and is one of the racing series with the most simulation adaptations.

Some of these racing simulators are customizable, as game fans have decoded the tracks, cars and executable files. Large internet communities have grown around the simulators regarded as the most realistic and many websites host internet championships.

Currently the Racing Sim "rFactor" has the largest driver base because of its heavy capability of modding.

Arcade racers

Arcade style racing games put fun and a fast-paced experience above all else, as cars usually compete through odd ways. They often license real cars and leagues, but are equally open to more exotic settings and vehicles. Races take place on highways, windy roads or in cities; they can be multiple-lap circuits or point-to-point, with one or multiple paths (sometimes with checkpoints), or other types of competition, like demolition derby, jumping or testing driving skills. Popular arcade racers are the Daytona USA series, the "Rush" series, the Cruis'n Series and the classic "Out Run".

Over the last three years there has been a trend of new street racing; imitating the import scene, one can tune sport compacts and sports cars and race them on the streets. The most widely known ones are the (Need for Speed series), , Street Racing Syndicate, Burnout and Juiced.

List of racing game sub-genres

On the road

Simulation-style racing games

Racing games that are more focused on realism.

* "F1 Challenge" (Formula One)
* "Grand Prix Legends" (1967 Formula One)
* "F1GP", "Grand Prix 2", "Grand Prix 3", "Grand Prix 4" (Formula One)
* "Forza Motorsport" series
* "Gran Turismo" series (Track Racing)
* "GT Legends" (60s and 70s GT series)
* "GTR" and "GTR 2" (FIA GT series)
* "Human Grand Prix III - F1 Triple Battle" (Formula One)
* "Human Grand Prix IV - F1 Dream Battle" (Formula One)
* "Live for Speed" (Mixed car type racing)
* "NASCAR Heat" (NASCAR series)
* "RACE" and "RACE 07" (Official WTCC)
* "NASCAR Racing" (NASCAR series)
* "netKar Pro" (Open wheel car racing)
* "Racer" (Mixed car type racing)
* "Rally Trophy" (Old rallying)
* "rFactor" (Mixed car type racing)
* "Richard Burns Rally" (Rallying)
* "X Motor Racing" (Mixed car type racing)

Semi-simulation-style racing games

These games are neither simulators nor arcade racers; they stand in the middle of the spectrum.

* "Colin McRae Rally" series (Rallying)
* "Driving Emotion Type S"
* "Enthusia Professional Racing"
* "Formula One" series
* "Need for Speed" series
* "Project Gotham Racing" (Mixed car type racing)
* "Project Torque" (Mixed car type racing)

* ""
* ""
* "Racing Evoluzione"
* "Sega GT" series
* "Test Drive Unlimited"
* "TOCA Touring Car series"
* "Viper Racing"

Arcade-style racing games

Racing games that are not focused on realism.

* "Automobili Lamborghini"
* "Auto Modellista"
* "Beetle Adventure Racing"
* "Burnout (series)"
* "Carmageddon" series
* "Cruis'n" series
* "Daytona USA" series
* "Enduro"
* "" (Japan-only)
* "FlatOut" and "FlatOut 2"
* "Initial D" and "Initial D Arcade Stage" series
* "Lotus Turbo Challenge" series

* "Nitro Stunt Racing"
* "Out Run" series
* "Pimp My Ride"
* "Pole Position" series
* "Rad Racer"
* "Rad Racer 2"
* "Ridge Racer" series
* "Rollcage"
* "Rush" series
* "Screamer" series

* "Sega Rally Championship"
* "Side by Side" and "Battle Gear" series
* "Speed Racer" series
* "Stunt Race FX"
* "Super Cars" series
* "TrackMania" series
* "Up'n Down"
* "Virtua Racing"
* "Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune" series
* "Ignition (video game)
* "Stunts (video game)

Street racing games

* "Midnight Club"
* "Need for Speed"
* "Juiced"
* "Speed Devils"

* "Street Racing Syndicate"
* "Tokyo Xtreme Racer"
* "Import Tuner"
* "Street Legal"

port Games

Event Racing

Games related to Sporting events.
*"1080 snowboarding" series
*"Amped" series
*"ATV" series
*"ESPN X-Treme Sports"
*"Snowmobile Championship"
*"Transworld" series

Exaggerated Sports Racing

*"Cool Boarders" series

Truck racing games

* "18 Wheels of Steel"
* "Big Mutha Truckers"
* "Excite Truck" - off-road truck racing game
* "Monster Truck Madness series"

* "Mercedes-Benz Truck Racing"
* "Hard Truck" and "Hard Truck II"
*"Also Super PickUps,Super Trucks and Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing

Motorcycle racing games

* "750cc Grand Prix"
* "Ducati Championship Racing"
* "Enduro Racer"
* "Excitebike"
* "Excitebike 64"
* "GP 500"
* "Hang-On"
* "Manx TT"
* "Moto GP"
* "Moto Racer"
* "Moto Racer 2"
* "Speed Kings"
* "Suzuki TT Superbikes"
* "Superbike 2001"
* "Super Hang-On"

* "Redline Racer"
* "Road Rash"
* "Suzuki Ailstare Extreme Racing"
* "Suzuka 8 Hours"
* "Tourist Trophy"
* "Superbikes Riding Challenge 07"
* "MotoGP"
* "MotoGP2"
* "MotoGP3"
* "MotoGP 06"
* "MotoGP 07"
* "SBK"
* "SBK 08"

Kart racing games

Kart racers, popularized by (and often credited to) the "Mario Kart" series, are a style of racing game that introduces the ability to pick up items during the race, and use them to boost one's performance in a race, or to attack other players and hamper their progress. Like arcade racers, kart racers feature simple racing physics and imaginative environments to race in. The terminology itself was taken from Go-Kart racing.

Kart racers include:

* "Atari Karts"
* "3D Ultra RC Racers"
* "Banjo Pilot"
* "Bomberman Kart"
* "Chocobo Racing"
* "Club Kart"
* "Crash Nitro Kart", "Crash Tag Team Racing", "Crash Team Racing"
* "Crazyracing Kartrider"
* "Diddy Kong Racing" - Kart, hovercraft, and plane racing.
* "Digimon Racing"
* "DK Jet"
* "Drome Racers"
* "Freaky Flyers" - Plane Kart racing.
* "Kart Attack"
* "Kart Rider"
* "Konami Krazy Racers"

* "Lego Racers", "Lego Racers 2"
* "Looney Tunes Racing"
* "" - Futuristic Kart racer.
* "Mario Kart"
* "Mega Man Battle & Chase"
* "Mickey's Speedway USA"
* "" - Midway's answer to "Mario Kart".
* "Nicktoons Racing"
* "Pac-Man World Rally
* "PocketBike Racer"
* "Sonic Drift"
* "Speed Freaks" - AKA "Speed Punks"
* "
* "Toontown Online" (Goofy Speedway)
* "Wacky Wheels"
* ""( [ More] )

Water racing games

Racers that take place on the ocean.

Jetski racing games

* "Jet Moto" series
* "Kawasaki Jet Ski Watercraft"
* "Monkey Turn V"
* "Splashdown (video game)"
* ""

*"Surf Rocket Racers"
* "Wave Race"
* "Wave Race 64"
* ""
* "Wave Rally"

Speedboat racing games

* "Hydro Thunder"
* "Thames Racer"

Off-road racing games

Off-road racing is a format of racing where various classes of specially modified vehicles (including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and buggies) compete in races through off-road environments.

Futuristic racing games

Set in the future, these games take an abstract view to racing, they may feature abstract vehicles such as hoverbikes and race in alien environments. Without having to follow physical laws, the races and vehicles can move with tremendous speeds.

* "Ballistics"
* "Carmageddon"
* "Extreme-G"
* "Fatal Inertia"
* "F-Zero" series
* "Hi-Octane"

* "Jet Moto" series
* "Kinetica"
* "Out Run 2019"
* "P.O.D. series"
* "Quantum Redshift"
* "Trust'Twist'n'Turn"

* "Top Gear 3000"
* "Dethkarz"
* ""
* "Rollcage"
* ""
* ""
* "S.T.U.N. Runner"
* ""Wipeout" series

Racing role playing games

Racing games that incorporate the elements of a RPG, such as character attributes and levels.

* "Final Lap Twin"
* "Granada Racer"
* "Tokyo Street Racer"
* "Drift City

Arcade racing games timeline

* 1976 "Night Driver" - Atari
* 1977 "Speed Freaks" - Vectorbeam
* 1982 "Pole Position" - Namco
* 1983 "Up'n Down" - Sega
* 1984 "TX-1" - Atari
* 1986 "Out Run" - Sega
* 1987 "Continental Circus" -Taito
* 1988 "Chase HQ" - Taito
* 1988 "Hard Drivin'" - Atari
* 1988 "Power Drift" - Sega
* 1989 "SCI" - Taito (Chase HQ 2)
* 1991 "Rad Mobile" - Sega
* 1992 "" - Taito
* 1992 "Virtua Racing" - Sega
* 1993 "Ridge Racer" - Namco

* 1994 "Cruis'n USA" - Midway
* 1994 "Daytona USA" - Sega
* 1994 "Sega Rally Championship" - Sega
* 1995 "Rave Racer" - Namco
* 1996 "Cruis'n World" - Midway
* 1996 "Sega Super GT" - Sega
* 1996 "San Francisco Rush" - Atari
* 1998 "Sega Rally 2" - Sega
* 1998 "Daytona USA 2" - Sega
* 1999 "Battle Gear" - Taito
* 1999 "Cruis'n Exotica" - Midway
* 1999 "San Francisco Rush 2049" - Atari
* 2002 "Initial D Arcade Stage" - Sega
* 2003 "OutRun 2" - Sega
* 2004 "Rallisport Challenge 2" - Microsoft Game Studios

Toy Racing games

Racing game related to Toys.
*"Toy Commander"
*"Micro Machines (video games)

Driving games

Driving games do not have a lap racing focus. These games focus on arcade style driving with goals, tasks and mini games. Other arcade style driving games replace laps with checkpoints.

Driving games focused on goals, tasks and mini games

* ""
* "Crazy Taxi (series)"
* "Driver (series)"
* "Emergency Mayhem"
* "Grand Theft Auto series"
* "The Italian Job"

* "Spy Hunter"
* "Super Runabout series"
* "The King of Route 66"
* ""
* "Motor City Patrol"

Arcade style driving/racing games focused on checkpoints

* "California Speed"
* "Crusin' USA"
* "Carmageddon series"

* "Midtown Madness series"
* "San Francisco Rush"
* "Smashing Drive"

Vehicular combat games

In these games, gameplay is mostly focused on the combat aspect of driving games. Vehicles are equipped with weapons used to attack opponents.

* "Full Auto"
* "Impact Racing"
* "Twisted Metal"
* "Carmageddon"
* "Interstate '76"
* "Interstate '82"
* "Vigilante 8"
* ""
* "Demolition Racer (video game)"
* ""

External links

* [ Racing / Driving] on MobyGames
* [ Lance Carter's "History of Racing games"]


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