Racing Video Games

I have been a fan of racing video games for quite some time. I was not able to play them as much as I would have liked. School, work and all those things may or may not have gotten in the way! For the most part, when I had the chance, racing games were my go to game of choice.

It has been fun to watch the evolution of the games themselves over the years. Each of them have had their unique quirks and challenges. They have had one thing in common however. That is still trying to figure out how to go faster than the lap before!

I am going to share some of the racing video games that I have enjoyed over the years that have helped lead to iRacing!

Entry to racing video games

My first introduction to racing video games was Indianapolis 500: The Simulation on MS-DOS. This was released in 1989. Even though the game play was somewhat clunky, it game me my first experience of what racing around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway may be like. I did tend to crash a lot from what I can remember. What can you expect from a little kid who doesn’t know how to drive! The part that I remember most is the crash animation and the sounds of it.

Console Racing Video Games

I’ve had my fair share of game systems. I grew up with Nintendo and Playstation. Never really got into Sega (other than playing Sonic) or XBox.

F-Zero was released in the United States in 1991 on Super Nintendo. I don’t remember a lot about the gameplay. The futuristic styling and vehicles without wheels was the part that made that fun!

Another Super Nintendo release in 1992 that spawned a very popular line was Super Mario Kart. To this day, I still enjoy sitting down and playing any of the versions of Mario Kart.

The next racing game I remember shifts over to the Playstation. EA Sports Nascar 98! I was a big fan of Nascar at this point and it was the 50th Anniversary season. I almost exclusively raced as Jeff Gordon on this game. Being a Hoosier native also didn’t hurt nor watching his win in the Inaugural Brickyard 400. The most common race I did was going to Bristol and turning on paintball mode. Turn the difficulty down low and how many laps could I win by!

Star Wars Racer on the Nintendo 64 ended up being one of my favorites. May have been by chance since it came with the system. The whole reason for the N64 was to be able to play GoldenEye! Racer was released in 1999. I was starting to pick up on how to get through the turns and that crashing into cars and other things was probably not the best way to win races.

I have played a variety of the Need for Speed games on several platforms. At least I can say I started playing games in this franchise before the Fast and the Furious movie line began. When you can’t afford to buy a Super Car, who can blame you for wanting to race one in a video game!

As the quality and technology of the games improved, I also had to change how I drove. Each of these games, I wanted to win the race. So I admit, maybe I set the difficulty to easy so it was easier to win. Who didn’t do this every now and then? It also wasn’t too much of a problem to use the walls to help turn sometimes!


At this point in time, iRacing may not be my all time favorite racing game, yet. It is however vastly different. I like how in depth it is. Including how you set up the racecar. The track mapping is also pretty cool. If the tires go just over the line, it marks you as of course. The graphics that can be done today help as well. Even in the Summer of 2020, NASCAR drivers were racing virtually and being broadcast on TV. On a quick view, you may not even know you were watching a computer game!

The Learning Curve

In the first two months that I have had iRacing, there have been some ups and downs. Part of what I have needed to overcome was past racing gameplay and mashing the accelerator. It took a little bit to learn the brake helps you go faster! The next learning curve was being too heavy with the brakes or locking up the tires. Spent a bit of time early on sliding off track or spinning. Instead of charging in and seeing what happens, I have taken a step back and taken initial laps much easier. This has helped in learning the track and any quirks in the turns.

I do like to try and learn things on my own. Recently, I have started to watch laps and see what thoughts others have been sharing on how to navigate tracks. I prefer a combination of just trying things for myself and then visually someone else who has had successful laps!

Back Home Again in Indiana

Next Wednesday, D.J. and I will “return” to where this whole idea began. It may not be in an actual IndyCar or at the “real” track, but it is the best that we could do. One day in the near future, we hope to take a real car and a real team and compete in the Indianapolis 500!