If you've been playing racing video games for a good while, you know there are more than a few classic franchises that don't get much action nowadays. With the modern focus on either sprawling open worlds or state-of-the-art simulation, there just doesn't seem to be space for the experiments and in-betweens. Today, I'm putting it to you: I want to know what your favorite racing game is that you think deserves more praise.
It can be new or old, a specific title or a series—it doesn't matter. Given my fondness for '90s racers that have laid dormant for decades, personally there's a good number of games I'd be willing to shout out. But, in the interest in keeping this short, I'll just go straight to my nominee, Wipeout. Sony's series of futuristic, design-forward, antigravity racing games is as old as the PlayStation brand itself. And while it's certainly never lacked for critical praise, I've always felt it dodged the mass appeal it really deserved, at least here in North America.
See, Wipeout took the United Kingdom and Europe by storm, as it owes its genesis to the U.K.'s rave scene in the early '90s. When Wipeout 3 launched in 1999, Sony blanketed a portion of Dublin's metro system with slick, cryptic ads created by legendary studio The Designers Republic, who collaborated with the developers on the graphic interfaces and visual art that built those first few games. But the franchise never quite captured the zeitgeist west of the Atlantic in the same fashion—and it's been ages since it has, anywhere, at all. The last Wipeout we got was the Omega Collection for PS4 in 2017, that merely repackaged the last two installments in the series.
There have been many other futuristic racing games over the years, but in my opinion none could ever match Wipeout's eye (and ear) for cool, thoughtful world building, and sophisticated physics. Wipeout wasn't a simulation of anything, of course, but it still felt authentic, tangible, and satisfyingly technical to play. If there comes a day when motorsport is a competition of levitating machines barreling high above city centers at hundreds of miles per hour, I'd imagine Wipeout is probably what it would look and feel like. Or, at least I'd hope.
That's me, but what about you? What's your beloved racing game that simply doesn't get its due? Holler back in the comments, if you'd be so kind.
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