Posted on October 5, 2014
“This young man really is a superlative driver!”
I’ve already written a fairly lengthy love letter to racing games, so I’ll spare you the details about why I enjoy them so much. My current video project involves old Formula One games, and I’m so deep into it that my “video game brain” can barely process anything else.
That’s a poor excuse for the lack of posts this week and last, but hear me out!
There are a bunch of F1 racing games dating back to the 70’s, but I wanted to look at games from the 3D era. I’d try to look up YouTube videos of what certain tracks looked like in some of the older games, and instead of crystal clear onboard shots, I’d always get either unnaturally smooth-looking emulator versions or a handycam-recorded eyesore.
I have capturing equipment and almost all the official F1 games dating back to 1996, so why not just make the videos I wanted to watch?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Isn’t that a saying? I think it is. Pretty deep for what I’m talking about, though. haha
I also wanted to focus on console games, mostly because PC games have had countless mods and custom tracks created for them over the years. I’ve played some great PC racing sims and mods, so it’s not to say I don’t appreciate them… it’s just that there are TONS of those videos online already.
I find real-life onboard videos from any racing series to be fascinating to watch. Seeing masters like Senna, Schumacher, Hakkinen and Prost handle these finely tuned machines with such finesse is like watching Les Claypool effortlessly play the bass riff to Tommy the Cat, or Bob Ross hypnotically hiding his happy trees on that blank canvas of his.
Pretty intense, right? Video game onboards don’t really compare, but at the end of the day, I still find them quite entertaining.
Console-based F1 games have indeed come a long way. Formula 1 on PlayStation was actually a game I played just as I was developing an interest in all forms of motorsport, so the timing was impeccable. I’ve tried to keep up on “official” F1 games through the years, but since a fair amount of them weren’t released outside of Europe, my “retrospective” can only feature so many games.
I also wanted to explore as wide a variety as I could of games from different publishers without delving into the poorly-made ones. Games like F1 Pole Position 64 and Monaco Grand Prix might have featured F1 racing, but were really not up to par with others that have been released over the years.
That being said, here are the games I focused on;
Formula 1 – PlayStation (1996 – Psygnosis)
F1 World Grand Prix – Nintendo 64 (1998 – Video System)
Formula 1 ’98 – PlayStation (1998 – Psygnosis)
F1 Racing Championship – PlayStation (2000 – UbiSoft)
F1 Championship Season 2000 – PlayStation 2 (2000 – EA Sports)
Formula One 2001 – PlayStation 2 (2001 – SCEE)
F1 2002 – PlayStation 2 (2002 – EA Sports)
Formula 1 Championship Edition – PlayStation 3 (2007 – SCEA)
F1 2009 – Wii (2009 – Codemasters)
F1 2013 – Xbox 360 (2013 – Codemasters)
I basically wanted a representation from each season I could. For example, even though it was released in ’96, Formula 1 showcases the drivers, teams and tracks from the 1995 season. There was no game based on the ’96 season, but the ’97-2002 seasons are all represented before F1 games took a small break in North America.
Formula 1 Championship Edition was fairly hyped at Sony’s E3 conference in 2006, but after its release in 2007, no official F1 game was released until 2009 when Codemasters took control of the license. The last few years have seen a rise in popularity in the genre, and next month will see the release of F1 2014 on last-gen systems only (weird, I know). I decided not to include F1 2010, 2011 and 2012 because I found they all pretty much looked the same; if a track had a slightly different layout in those games, however, I went ahead and recorded a lap.
I’ve been playing all these games quite extensively over the past couple months to get my videos captured, trying my best to get clean laps on every track. Jumping from one game to the next – each of them having unique handling characteristics – has proven to be quite mentally taxing, and I’ve fallen asleep several times with laps playing through my brain over and over again.
Almost like Senna in the video above, I’m thinking about pushing that limit, even when I’m not playing the game.
Either way, I’m finally done with getting everything I wanted recorded, and I couldn’t be happier to be moving on to other games. That being said, here’s the “world premiere” of The Onboard Retrospective of the Hungaroring circuit in Hungary!
For comparison, here is a real life onboard from that track…
Also, in order to tie some kind of memory into this post, I feel obliged to bring up one of the more fantastic puns I’ve ever made – and it was related to the Hungaroring.
One morning before work last year, I was checking my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds as I usually do. When the Red Bull Racing team’s Twitter account posted about the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix, I couldn’t help myself. I saw a window of opportunity to crack a silly joke, and I took it.
The racing team retweeted it and it got seen by thousands of people around the globe. It might’ve only gotten 4 Favourites and 5 Retweets, but that right there is one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had on Twitter.