The 9 Best Driving Games of All Time

In lieu of the recent release of the latest driving game to hit the shelves, Project CARS, we thought we’d take a look at the best racers throughout the history of gaming. Project CARS is a pure racing simulator, with authentic handling and crisp graphics, but no-one can deny that other driving games have influenced this great racer. Let’s take a walk down memory lane…

Pole Position (1982)

Pole Position
Photo by Deondre Jones / CC BY

Widely considered the first true racing game, Pole Position started off on the Atari arcade. In 1983, it was the most popular coin-operated arcade game out there, and it inspired other game-makers to follow in its footsteps.

Super Mario Kart (1992)

Super Mario Kart
Photo by Dalstonist / CC BY

Released on the Nintendo SNES, Super Mario Kart was so popular that it sold 9 million copies worldwide, and became the third best-selling SNES game of all time. Super Mario Kart is still enjoyed today by many, and has been re-released on the Wii Console. It really is a classic.

Colin McRae (1998)

Colin McRae

Photo by Geforce / CC BY

Colin McRae is often considered the first semi-realistic rally game, leading to a craze of slicker, more streamlined racers. Named after legendary rally driver, Colin McRae, he even got on-board to help offer technical advice, when the game was being created.

OutRun (1986)

OutRun
Photo by Conor Lawless / (CC BY 2.0)

Created for the Sega Genesis, it was the best-selling video game of its time, and you can play it online now for free! It’s considered a “driving” game, rather than a “racing” game, and even gives the player a choice of music. If you’d like to spend some time on a classic, retro car game, you can’t go wrong with OutRun.

Gran Turismo (1997)

Gran Turismo
Photo by Lompi / CC BY

Under the Playstation brand, Gran Turismo was the highest-selling video game franchise. The first game was 5 years in the making and was generally positively acclaimed by critics. It was so popular that it has 10 spin-offs.

Forza Motorsport (2005)

Forza Motorsport
Photo by Eurogamer / CC BY

The best-selling Xbox racing series, Forza Motorsport was effectively Microsoft’s answer to Gran Turismo. Forza aimed to create an authentic driving experience from a wide variety of race cars.

Burnout (2001)

Burnout
Photo by Eurogamer / CC BY

A game where crashing became fun, rather than a failure, Burnout awards bonus points for near misses with other cars, and there are turbo boosts too. You have to avoid smashing into traffic, which costs time, leading to a relaxed, exciting experience, a little different to your usual racing game.

Need For Speed (1994)

Need for Speed World
Photo by AztroNFS / CC BY

Widely recognised as the most successful racing game series in the world, Need For Speed’s greatest strength was the huge variety of customisation options at the player’s disposal, keeping them interested in the game.

Grand Theft Auto (1997)

GTAV
Photo by theGTAplace / CC BY

An exceptionally popular – but controversial – game, Grand Theft Auto isn’t exactly about racing, but cars play a large role in this open world platform. Modelled on American cities, Grand Theft Auto allows players the freedom to do whatever they like, whether that’s cruising around the map listening to the unique radio stations, or attacking random strangers on the sidewalk.

Which of these classic driving games are your favourites? Let us know in the comments!

Author Bio

Ed Scott is an auto enthusiasts on a console and behind the wheel. For more news and views on the car industry and other automotive topics, check out the We Buy Any Car Blog

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