Here on the Mighty Robot blog, we've talked about why we think driving games have the potential to take the world by storm in the near future. But what we haven't yet talked about is just why racing games remain so popular as a staple of gaming culture. So, let's talk about it.
Since the days of horse-drawn carriages, humans have always had a fascination with vehicles. There's a good reason one of the first toys children are given to play with are inevitably toy cars. Vehicles – especially cars – have the ability to transform our lives, allowing us the freedom to explore the world around us. Moreover, they're just damn cool.
An easy example of what we are referring to, is seen when one puts a toddler, boy or girl, upon the driver's seat of any vehicle and like magic, they will hold the wheel, stand up and move their arms trying to pretend they are travelling away at a great rate of speed, sound effects included. Driving is in our DNA.
Cars have been integral to gaming since the very first games emerged. Games like Speed Race, Rally-X, and Pole Position laid the groundwork for Nintendo classics like Super Mario Kart and F-Zero, making driving a key genre in gaming. And games' fascination with cars has only grown from there as technology improved and new possibilities opened up. Driver and Grand Theft Auto introduced us to open-world driving, while Gran Turismo focused instead on track-based racing.
So what makes such a mundane activity in the real world so fascinating in the digital realm? Perhaps it's an opportunity to live out a fantasy of being a maniac on the roads. Sideswiping a commuter in the outside world is a quick way to get yourself locked up, but in video games it's usually brushed off with absolutely zero consequences. You wouldn't find a car in the real world with a giant lighter attached to it, capable of blowing up any vehicle in its path, but that's absolutely possible in games (and one of our upcoming games, in fact).
Perhaps it's to do with the sense of speed that games can provide. You could pay up for a track day and drive an enormous, incredibly expensive race car at high speed for an afternoon – though probably not as well as you'd like, nor for as long as you would want. In games, you need only turn on your console, PC, or phone whenever you please and you can be behind the wheel of a supercar in a matter of minutes. And you don't need to be a trained Formula 1 driver to keep it under control.
Or perhaps it's because driving is such a part of the collective consciousness that we all simply know how to do it. If you want to play a multiplayer driving game with a friend, you don't need to spend ten minutes explaining the rules. Gas means go, turn left and right, don't crash unless it's on purpose. It's a simple set of mechanics that the vast majority of adults engage in, and children watch others do all the time. And if you want to screw your friend over and not tell them which button fires the rockets, then that's your prerogative.
For Mighty Robot, the simplicity and instant gratification that getting behind the wheel of a fast car and smashing it to pieces is all part of the draw of our games. Our combat-focused, arcade driving games will scratch the itch of any office worker who's wanted to trade in their shirt and tie for racing overalls and crush other cars in a monster truck. And driving is so easy to understand that our players can instantly connect with the games, while we build in exciting mechanics and objectives to inject something new into the genre.
We're still fine-tuning the projects we're working on before we fully reveal them, but expect them to be loud, fast, and tons of fun – more than you'd get driving a real car, for sure.