Racing Games 101: Qualities of A Great Car Game

What exactly makes racing games fun to play? Here are some of the reasons why racing gamers seem to keep loving the thrill, one match after the next.

When you hear the term "racing game," you'd likely imagine two cars in a high-speed chase in a roadway. You might even imagine police cars chasing cars along the said roadway. Isn't that a bit repetitive, though? Like, aren't all racing games operating under a similar concept? That's true since it's in the name "racing game." Thing is, racing game fans seem to love playing one-car game after another. And racing titles seem to be extremely fun for fans and newcomers alike. Why, though?

Customization makes your car and driving style unique among the rest.

Do you know what makes racing games so amazing? The ability to customize your machine, of course! What better way to show who's boss than to do it with an awesome vehicle, right? Thankfully, a lot of great racing games actually feature an amazing customization system that lets you change the way your cars look. Some games even have options to buy upgrades for your car's performance! This, coupled with the ability to customize your own track settings, can make a lot of games and matches more interesting to play.
  • We often think customization options are just there to keep us away from realizing racing games are repetitive. And while that might be true, there's also another scientific reason devs love prioritizing us in racing games - racing games become extra fun when we think we're extra awesome. Car games do this by encouraging players to be more intuitive and try risks when driving, since roads are made to be a third larger than real-world counterparts, and the game rewards us with points or compliments whenever we complete difficult stunts.
  • Great car games also show this by giving players the means to customize their vehicles using an assortment of modifications. Some games like Need for Speed and Gran Turismo let us use hundreds of vehicles with a ton of customization features that makes racing games an extremely personal experience. It's these tiny factors that help make car games something we always go back to.

See the fun and the thrill despite repetitive tracks

One of the most surefire ways you'd detect an awesome car game is if you can still consider a racing title fun despite the existence of repetitive levels. There's a reason why Mario Kart and its Rainbow Road remain a crowd favorite - and this is because legendary racing games like these offer replayability elements in the form of unique mechanics, crazy antics, and various knick-knacks that can actively change the way a race is played even if the track is the same. If you're looking for a good racing game, find one with tracks you'd want to play a few hundred matches on with or without friends.
  • There's a reason we always come back to that one rollercoaster or that one horror film - and that's all thanks to adrenaline. When we feel afraid, be it artificial or for real, the brain releases adrenaline which regulates our fight or flight response. While we use this throughout evolution to maintain our safety, this can also be addictive to the brain. If you're looking for a great racing game, look for titles with matches that actually makes you "crave" for that excitement.
  • Racing games that give interesting customization options for races are usually good signs of a quality racing game. This is especially if you have a limited set of tracks but multiple challenge options - such as stunt requirements, time limits, or even using different cars. These all add "spice" to the tracks and ensure there's no one-all-be-all way of playing it.

Multiplayer mayhem makes matches events to look forward to

Another way you can find a good racing game is if they actually have an engaging multiplayer component. Racing games likely have the option to play in one-, two-, or even four-player modes. If they do, check how this system works and how convenient the system can be. Afterwards, you can also check if it has a multiplayer component that lets you connect to players around the world. If matchmaking over the internet is smooth and seamless, then you'll likely have a fun time ahead with any game you choose to play.
  • It's important that multiplayer in racing games have good matchmaking elements, especially since players consider it very enticing and challenging to compete with each other. Look for games that let you challenge others of the same skill level to driving matches, as it's these games that can guarantee they have fair matching systems.
  • Games like TOCA Race Driver 2 and Madalin Stunt Cars 3 fit the bill thanks to their interesting multiplayer components, including things like leaderboards and ghost modes that, when combined with its base multiplayer format, makes it motivating to pursue competition with others.

Downloaded content spices things up with new tracks, features, cars

Yeah, we're getting into very debatable territory here. We know DLCs and loot boxes are in hot water because of gambling concerns, but some racing games do feature DLC packs with definitive new cars and tracks, among others. If you're looking for a new game to try, see if the DLC offerings are actually able to spice things up and add new content to the game, instead of adding features we think should've been a staple in the title. This is tricky to determine, but DLCs with exciting new cars and features will definitely help prolong the time you'll be playing the game. As such, stay sharp with this in mind!
  • DLCs can help show players that devs and publishers pay close attention to how they received the game, and what sorts of improvements and additional features they plan on implementing. A racing game can be considered great when the devs still release content for the game even a long time after post-launch.
  • Another way to look at it is if DLCs a game releases actually compliments the game's existing features. These can include new extra game modes, extra challenges, extra cars, and extra customization features.

Racing Games: Focus on Fun, the Thrill

If there's anything we've shared above, it's that racing games do have their own share of both interesting and appealing qualities that make them belong to quite the interesting and wonderful genre. The fact that you have different customization options, track choices, and even environmental hazards give you literally hundreds, thousands, and even millions of combinations that can make each match unique. And add how there's a multiplayer component in a lot of racing games, and you can share these experiences - and the millions of combinations inside of them - with fellow players around the globe.

That wraps our discussion, but that doesn't mean you can't join in on the fun! What else do you think makes racing games fun? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!


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