Posted on January 23, 2013
My Top 100: #29 – Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
I’ve already mentioned why I haven’t included many racing games on my countdown, even though I like racing more than any stick and ball sport. I’m obsessed with it, in fact, so that might explain why I’m so nitpicky when it comes to the games. If it’s a simulator, I’m not going to put it in a list of “games”!
The Gran Turismo series falls right in the middle, though. They aren’t casual “pick up and play” racing games, but at the same time, I wouldn’t go so far as to call them simulators. You can tinker with just about everything under the hood, accumulate cash and further your in-game career… on the other hand, the minute you hit the track, you can either choose to race like a pro (precisely hitting apexes, drifting and using pit strategy) or race like an idiot (walls can be your friend)!
The visuals for Gran Turismo 3 were looking incredible long before the PlayStation 2 was even released. It was “just a tech demo” shown somewhere in 2000, so nobody really knew what the end product would end up looking like. Still, it was enough to generate quite a bit of hype for its 2001 release.
I picked it up in August of ’01, and thankfully, it was the same racing that I fell in love with during that summer of ’98. Just much nicer-looking!
We’re coming up on 12 years since it’s been released, and I’ve been picking away at it ever since, trying to achieve 100% completion; getting gold on all license challenges, winning every race and every championship (including endurance races), getting every car in the game into my garage… absolutely everything.
Granted, I’ve only been playing it here and there whenever the mood strikes me. Some of the longer races aren’t as easy to put time aside for, but one day, I’ll get them all done. Whenever that happens, it will be fantastic.
I bought GT3 on our NASCAR trip in ’01, which went on a bit longer than it usually did. After race weekend, we traveled to Castleton, NY, to visit good friends we had made on our many trips to Pennsylvania. We had met them at the hotel bar a few years earlier, and since they also made the yearly pilgrimage to Pocono Raceway, we just happened to hit it off quite nicely. They invited us to stay at their home in Castleton, and they had a big barbecue with the whole crew to celebrate. Good times!
When we finally got back to Canada, I was greeted with a letter from Saint Thomas University. Not only had my application been successful (whaaaaatttt), but the letter had a list of all the classes I was enrolled in! Whoo!
I celebrated by playing quite a bit of GT3 that night we got home. For some odd reason, even though I had owned my PS2 since January of that year, I didn’t have a memory card. The next day, I picked one up, and REALLY gave the game a workout.
That night, though, the mood in the house got tense. I had an old friend coming to town that I hadn’t seen in about 6-7 years. The last time we had hung out, we were in Grade 4 or 5, and though we were definitely friends back in the day, I wasn’t quite sure what he’d been up to. My parents had heard things through “the grapevine” (which was, apparently, the precursor to Facebook), and they weren’t particularly keen on letting this guy camp out in our back yard.
I remember being absolutely livid! I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t just let him pitch a tent in our back yard for a few days. I didn’t care what they had heard, or who he hung out with (“Big deal, so that guy smokes cigarettes, that’s all he smokes!”), and I went to bed quite angry that night. He ended up staying at my friend (let’s call him) H’s place instead.
After the old friend left town, H was livid. As it turned out, my parents had every right to be suspicious; this guy figured it was a good idea to bring a particularly strong-smelling unnamed substance into H’s house! Whatever people do with that sort of thing is their own business, and though I was young and curious, I had never tried drugs of any kind… but to bring it into my home, where my parents and sister live? C’mon, man.
Moral of the story, your parents usually know what they’re talking about.