As opposed to other genres, driving games seem to have an eternal and everlasting appeal. While shoot-em-ups and RPGs have benefitted from advances in technology to improve graphics and gameplay, even the most basic driving titles still deliver ample amounts of excitement.
However, that doesn’t mean to say the latest and greatest driving games lack substance. Most modern titles provide adrenaline-pumping, high-octane racing thrill that is almost comparable to the real thing and helps inspire the next generation to want to study for their driving licence. But regardless of whether it’s retro or state-of-the-art that you’re after, here are 10 of the best driving games of all time.
- Gran Turismo
Arguably the first driving series to provide players with a realistic racing experience, Gran Turismo was a trailblazing title. But it wasn’t just the gameplay that impressed, as you had to acquire a racing license by passing your driving test and build-up a garage of cars to compete in certain competitions.
- Super Mario Kart
Easy to play yet incredibly addictive, the original Super Mario Kart is one of the most iconic video games ever. Not only did friends compete to pick their favourite character first, they would also battle for the chequered flag by deploying flying tortoise shells and slippery banana skins to thwart on-track opponents.
- Pole Position
Yet another primitive title, but nevertheless one that provided the blueprint for future driving games, Pole Position featured the now standard chase cam view. It also had qualifying laps, checkpoints, and the first real-world racing circuit (Fuji Speedway in Japan).
- Grand Theft Auto
Not all driving games need to involve racing to be great, as Grand Theft Auto has proved time and time again. Although driving is only a small part of this action-adventure series, players can get behind the wheel of nearly every type of vehicle imaginable and simply cruise the city streets for hours on end.
- Daytona USA
To this day, Daytona USA machines can still be found in arcades all around the world thanks to explosive and immersive gameplay. By modern standards the graphics leave a lot to be desired, but a retro soundtrack and competitive racing makes up for it.
- Forza Motorsport
In terms of modern-day franchises, few come close to Forza Motorsport. While it provides everything a racing addict could ever want, such as officially licensed cars, a wide selection of tracks, a realistic driving model and a deep career mode, Forza Motorsport is great for beginners too.
Yet another title that doesn’t fall into the ‘racing’ category, Driver was all about navigating the streets and alleyways of an actual city rather than mindlessly making your way around a monotonous circuit.
- Burnout Revenge
The aim of Burnout Revenge was not to avoid other cars on your way to the finish line but actively crash into them. The more damage you inflicted, the more money and rewards you received. To satisfy the player’s desire for destruction, Burnout Revenge also featured a full-blown car crash simulator.
- Crazy Taxi
As opposed to the Sega Dreamcast version, which lacked enough content for household consoles, the arcade incarnation of Crazy Taxi worked perfectly. Players had to pick up as many customers as possible before their time and money ran out.
- Micro machines
Super Mario Kart may well have been the king of driving games on the SNES, but Micro Machines wasn’t far behind. The top-down perspective was a little tricky to comprehend, but this only added to the title’s tense and exciting gameplay.