Top 100 Racing Games 2.0: Preparations

That whole promise of writing more about video games? I've just been playing Borderlands 2. It's more fun on the PC for me, since mouse and keyboard are more intuitive controls given my experience in gaming. That doesn't exactly make for interesting blogs.

Instead of rambling about control schemes, let's change it up and delve back into my favorite genre, shall we?

In 2010, I posted a list of my 100 favorite racing games, based on judgement of roughly 119 titles I had played over my lifetime. It's a bit rough, but its main purpose was to fulfill the "make a huge list" quest on the site, and I figured I'd go about completing it in a legitimate manner. The response seemed mostly positive, and a few nods from the staff were certainly encouraging, given the effort taken to write a blurb on each game.

It's 2012, and I've played at least 140 racing games now. I've had friends on the site ask me where titles like Forza Motorsport 4 and DiRT 3 would fit into the list. An update is most certainly in order.

In the near future, I'll be taking down my old list from the site, eventually replacing it with a superior and up-to-date version. Time permitting, I'll post blogs counting down my favorite games before unveiling the new list, including extended thoughts on my memories and experiences I had with each title. It should be a lot of fun for me, if nothing else.

Some things I'll point out now, for the sake of lowering any expectations:

  • This is a list based solely on my opinion, and nothing more. Sales, critical response, and general importance to the genre's development will have little influence on my rankings. Instead, it will be determined by my answer to a single question: If you could pick up and play only one of these games right now, which would you choose? On this list, between any two games, my answer should almost always be the higher-ranked game. The bottom end of the top 100 will seem somewhat arbitrary as a result.
  • I'm considering racing games as any game in which a major goal is completing a set distance or getting from point A to point B (even if point B can never be reached, in the case of some older arcade games) as efficiently as possible through superior driving or handling of a machine. It may not be the only goal or purpose, but it should be considered a significant and necessary goal for the game's successful completion.
  • Any mods like Quake Rally won't be included, and if I've only played a demo of a game, I won't include it. This includes Wipeout, sadly.
  • No, I'm not going to play iRacing, unless you want to send me a three-month subscription and a brand-new high-end steering wheel controller for free.

Many games in my library have been neglected over time, unfortunately, either due to a lack of time or a quality PC back when I first purchased the games. For that reason, I'm going back through a few titles to accomplish significant tasks before rendering final judgements:

  1. DiRT 2: Earn the For Colin achievement. Complete!
  2. DiRT: Unlock the full Pikes Peak course. Complete!
  3. GRID: Reach the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Complete, I guess!
  4. Race Injection/Race 07/STCC II/WTCC 2010 Pack/GT Power Expansion: Figure out how many of these things in my Steam library are titles and which are add-ons, and try them all out for at least a few races. Complete! This will be included as Race Injection on my list.
  5. Midnight Club II: Play until I'm sick of it, or otherwise get its gist. Failed! I forgot Midnight Club II gets moody with Windows 7.
  6. Take on any recommended games I've missed, time, money, and setup permitting.

My self-imposed deadline to finish my top 100 and its various write-ups is May 28th: otherwise, I'll have to delay finishing this list to experience GRID 2.

I'm looking forward to writing about all of this, and hopefully you'll enjoy my upcoming thoughts. I'm not sure where any games will end up, but debating with myself over the next few weeks should prove interesting.

Posted by Dethfish

I've made a short list of games I can remember that I don't see on your list. These aren't all really recommendations, some could probably go in the top half of a 100 worst racing games list, but some might actually be worth looking at.

Thinking back to all these made me realize how many bad racing games I've played. It looks like you've played at least a few more bad ones than me though.

Posted by Trace

@dethfish: I actually remember all of these games! In almost every case with the older titles, I couldn't rationalize spending the money at the time, or just flat-out didn't have the money. I didn't care for Jet Moto's demo, so Jet Moto 2 was overlooked. Diddy Kong Racing came out at a time when I was angsty and hated anything that seemed kiddy or anime-like, which is why I never played it (or Pokemon). Porsche Unleashed was an almost-buy for me, but I held off for some reason I can't recall.

Beyond that, I have a broken PS2 and no PS3, so many of these games won't be possible for this list.

The one title I could play right now is NFS: The Run, which I've actually watched a full-length playthrough of on YouTube. I'm trying to avoid installing or using Origin right now, though, which rules out the PC version, and I have a hard time justifying $20 for the 360 version. Still, it's possible, and it deserves mention for the race start sequence and the final race, if nothing else.

I'm trying to think over other modern racing titles that could be included, but given the cost and likelihood of a game breaking into the higher rankings, all I'm seeing is F1 2012, F1 Race Stars, and The PS3 Games I Would Totally Play If I Had a PS3™.

Posted by Dethfish

@PsEG Baja is an old current gen game. It also probably does not justify paying $20 to play though. I remember it being bad, but maybe I just sucked at it and it's actually amazing.

I'd be tempted to just give you my ps2 if I hadn't recently given it to my little brother. A ps2 is a great console to have lying around somewhere, just in case, especially considering most PS3s aren't backwards compatible. Also, the Vita has Jet Moto, Rally Cross and a bunch of other ps1 racing games for download. So just get a Vita, they're totally not the exact same price as a PS3 or anything.

Edited by Chaser324

I just played Super Hang-On for the first time in forever. I think it holds up extremely well and is still a ton of fun to play, but I needed to see if an expert on the genre agreed with me.

Unfortunately, your old list has been removed, and I can only salvage the top 50 from the Wayback Machine which is devoid of any hanging on.

In spite of the fruitless search for self-validation, I'll settle with this quote as a consolation prize:

No, I'm not going to play iRacing, unless you want to send me a three-month subscription and a brand-new high-end steering wheel controller for free.

Posted by Trace

@chaser324: I just double-checked my personal version of the latest top 100 (which was last updated in May, incidentally right before I got hooked on iRacing), and it's not on there, even sub-100. I don't think I've played enough Super Hang-On to have a qualified opinion of it, though my brief plays of the arcade bike version were quite fun.