In many video games, it often seems the most realistic take top honors with their lifelike graphics, physics, and character models. At least for me, the more realistic the racing game the less fun I’m likely to have. Below you’ll find my favorite racing games unsurprisingly lack any sort of realism.
This series will pick apart the five games from each gaming genre that helped define my gaming persona. You, too, have your own.
#5 Diddy Kong Racing (N64)
Diddy Kong Racing strived to be the Mario Kart of the Donkey Kong franchise and, in most ways, Rare succeeded. The campaign has an actual storyline that’s not emotionally deep enough to be taken seriously but it’s got a whole lot more depth than Mario Kart ever will. The option to choose between plane, car, and hovercraft shakes up the topical kart racing and although the item balloons fail in comparison to the random cube, they keep you on your toes. I’ll take you on in the airplane egg hatching competition any day.
#4 Penny Racers (N64)
Yet another Mario Kart deviation, Penny Racers pits you against eight racers with the ability to pimp your ride with a range of tires, suspension setups, and powers to use against your opponents. The single player competitions are refreshingly challenging, and the endless amount of unlockables keeps you playing solo far longer than any other racer I’ve touched.
#3 Toy Commander (Sega Dreamcast)
Dreamcast was bound to make it on at least one of these lists and if the console had a lot more hits like Toy Commander, Sega might still be in the hardware business. Toy commander put you behind the wheel of a variety of toy vehicles to shoot pencils, pens, and markers at one another while laying tacks and other office supplies as traps to outlast the competition. I can’t begin to count the number of hours I lost to one of the gems Dreamcast uncovered.
#2 Twisted Metal 2 (Playstation)
Twisted Metal has always been an incredibly fun franchise with less of a focus on actual racing and more on destruction and survival. The cooperative campaign was the most fun you’ll have in any racing game and the overly long cheat code combinations granting an unlimited number of special abilities caused mass carnage. There’s nothing like a crazy ice cream cart chasing you down.
#1 Mario Kart 64 (N64)
I’m not sure it’s even possible to argue against this number one pick. Like Goldeneye, Mario Kart 64 takes the cake for yet another N64 gem. The shortcuts and ensuing rage from your friends for using them never gets old, especially if glitches are behind the time savers on Royal Raceway, Wario Stadium, and Kalimari Desert. Four player battles on anything but Skyscraper turned personal with bombkart vengeance against anyone who dared pop your final balloon. Mario Kart is the ultimate party game.
Although you won’t find any hardcore, ultra realistic racers here, it doesn’t mean they don’t belong on your list. If driving hundreds of laps in your favorite Nascar game is your thing, let us know in the comments. Does Gran Turismo or Project Gotham Racing get your heart pumping? Let it all out below.