Need for Speed: History of Racing Games
Most players do not know how important racing games were in video game history. All the way back to the 1970’s when video games were large physical arcade machines, racing games were pushing the limits of what was possible in video games.
In early racing games, developers introduced new game play mechanics like the scrolling levels later adopted in other game genres. First person driving games were also invented early on during the historical racing game era.
The inventions happening within all the emerging car games of the 1980’s brought players even more creative game play mechanics. This is when “radar” was created. The mini map showed the direction of other players. This system to help players navigate continued evolving to support more complex game worlds.
In the 1990’s, Nintendo consoles paved the way for new sub genres of racing games like kart racing. Instead of arcade style racing or racing simulators of the past, these games featured fun power-ups like turtle shells. The wacky power-ups changed how racing games could be played, adding more offensive options to the traditional time challenge of racing.
In the 2000’s, console platforms continued to push the limits of what was possible in racing game worlds. Improved 3D graphics and much bigger open worlds evolved racing games to the next level. Racing could be mapped to city streets in open worlds. The large worlds in turn opened the door for shortcuts that were not possible since the arcade era of racing games.
Since the old times, the internet has made racing games a free for all as many genre options are available today. From arcade style, to simulation, 2D side-scrolling, and way more sub genres. Online racing games offer many vehicle types to choose from, like bikes, motorbikes, jet skies, and boats. I would say the sky's the limit but I think developers will dream up even more new ways to race.