Posted on November 8, 2012
My Top 100: #51 – Gran Turismo
I’ve been reluctant to include racing games on here, mostly because they’re a dime a dozen. If it’s a NASCAR game, there’s been one released every year since ’97, and very little innovation seen from year to year. IndyCar and Formula One games are a little more sparse, but fell into the same funk where minimal additions were made to newer titles.
With Gran Turismo, we were promised that it would revolutionize racing games as we knew them. Though I was really into stock cars at the time, other types of full-bodied auto racing didn’t spark my interest that much. In terms of games, Ridge Racer and Rage Racer were the only ones I had played. Even then, the unrealistic drifting and temperamental controls made the games quite frustrating.
The sheer number of real life cars that were slated to be in Sony’s exclusive racer was mind-boggling, and that alone had me curious. Nevermind that it would have uber realistic physics, fully tunable vehicles and countless race modes. I wanted to race a ’91 Honda Civic Special Edition, a 1990 Nissan Sentra, or a 1994 Honda Accord!
It wasn’t every day that you got to race the cars sitting in your driveway!
During the summer of ’98 on our yearly trip to Connecticut and Pennsylvania, that was the only game purchase I made.
Aside from having my favourite NASCAR driver win pretty much every race during my summer break (not quite, but almost), that summer was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
To begin with, my great aunt was not doing so great health-wise. This is stating the obvious, but cancer sucks. She had gone from a joyful old lady who was always laughing, to weak and barely able to move within a month or two. As with my other great aunt who passed away a year earlier from the same thing, I didn’t want to see her in that state, or even admit that it could be happening. All I could do is stay behind at home, as my mom in Baie-Sainte-Anne would call with periodic updates. She ended up passing away that August, and that was quite a bit easier to deal with than her suffering.
Our house was undergoing renovations as well, and every window in the house was being replaced, along with our front door. There were loud mechanical saws going all the time, carpenters going in and out of the house, and even taking a poop was an ordeal. I enjoy my poops, dammit! I didn’t want some dude hovering around, waiting for me to be done to do his thing.
The one bright spot was the Gran Turismo-ing. I would tune everything out; the noise, the worry for Phine (Josephine, my great aunt), the people walking around the house… everything. I just sat on our living room couch, and played hour after hour of that king of all racing games. I only started with $10,000 in-game credits and a ’93 Honda Del Sol, but so much racing was had. I wanted to buy every car, get them all suped-up and as powerful as possible. I couldn’t wait to see what every car looked like with racing modifications.
Playing it put me into a weird, zen-like state. I’d still be playing this game today, had I not foolishly deleted my save file somewhere down the line… dammit!