As somebody who grew up playing predominantly PS2 games, I witnessed what many people have since deemed the ‘Golden Age of gaming’. And whilst that applies to a whole host of different genres, some of the games I look back on most fondly when remembering the PS2 are racing games.
I grew up playing Need for Speed Underground and Midnight Club, typically on my own, but sometimes with my friends or family. I have good memories of me and my sister booting up the London level in Midnight Club 1 and spending the entire time pushing cars into a particular tunnel and trying to cause a massive traffic jam, and seeing how the game responded with spawning new cars and the like. I’ve spent countless hours just in free roaming, doing nothing more than driving around and jumping off big ramps in Smuggler’s Run. RC Revenge and its successor, the somewhat remastered RC Revenge Pro was basically my Mario Kart growing up. Whilst I never considered it at the time, I was kinda into racing games back then.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the more realistic racing games, though. I played some Gran Turismo, but I’d never truly get into it until I decided to try Gran Turisomo PSP about a decade down the line. When I was little, I was content with watching my sister play Gran Turismo 3. As I recall, she built up a huge garage, and her favourite car was a Chevrolet Corvette of some description, though she often made her in-game money but Yaris racing around a circular circuit over and over again. She also had this system where she’d sort her garage by the amount of miles a car had been driven and rotate out which car she used to try and keep them all in a similar area. Me, I just used cheat codes to get all the cars and took the fastest one out for a few minutes until I got bored.
I don’t typically make time for racing games anymore, until I’m finally in the mood for it, and always forget how much fun I have in them. Whilst I have transitioned into some more realistic racers such as Racedriver GRID, I do still try the odd arcade racer. One somewhat different racing game that I’ve been hooked on for years now is Trackmania 2: Stadium. If you’re interested in it, look up Trackmania Nations Forever, Stadium’s free predecessor which admittedly isn’t all that different. It’s a great game to chill out to when you get the hang of how it works and the general flow of the tracks.
I’m one of the few people who enjoyed the 2012 version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The cars didn’t exactly handle the way you’d expect them to, but as somebody who enjoyed Burnout: Paradise and the way the online integration work, Most Wanted (which was made by the same people) was a welcome change for me. I originally owned the game on Playsation Plus, but after I stopped doing that I pretty much gave up on the idea of playing it again until it showed up dirt cheap on Origin one day. In fact, I think I’ll go download it now…
The reason I bring this up in the first place is because I’m currently playing the aforementioned Racedriver: GRID, having wanted to play GRID: Autosport but with the car and team ownership and management that comes with Gran Turismo. (Well, not the team part but you get the idea.) Problem is, I can’t find jack to write about on a specific racing game like GRID. It’s good. The cars go fast. The handling is handleable. The tracks are tracklike and the graphics are a little brown for my liking. There, review done! So I decided to just go on about the genre in general instead. There’s plenty I could say about some particular racing games – such as Road Trip Adventure and RC Revenge Pro – but perhaps I shall do so in future blog posts next time I revisit them.