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If you're like me and just love speeding down the freeway without a care or concern for the law — all, of course, inside of a video game universe — then you're a driving gamer, a virtual gearhead, or the all-too-familiar arcade racer. Be that as it may, you still might not know which titles are better than others, or what classic games really changed the genre entirely.
There is a literal multitude of racing games to choose from, and not all of them are as pretty or as unique as the rest. There are the well-known names, like the Forza series or Need for Speed, but you can't forget that the retro arcade racing game universe truly shaped how the entire genre would eventually unfold. And, to add a point, many of them actually had a hand in the evolution of the entire gaming universe.
To all of the fans of burning tires and nitrous oxide, here are the best racing video games of all time.
Though adapted for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC much later, Daytona USA was originally an arcade game that broadened the realms of compatibility, allowing for up to 8 people in the simultaneous play, plus it rendered the most revolutionizing 3D graphics yet seen at the time of its release in 1993.
Despite being a dinosaur compared to modern games, Daytona USA is a staple for the arcade racer, attracting groups of individuals at movie theaters and Dave and Buster's to play endless hours of racing simulation to this day.
Super Mario Kart
As one of the most classic and nostalgic video games on this list, Super Mario Kart — that is, the very original game itself — drastically incited the need for a deeper look at racing simulation in general, making it one of the best super Mario bros games ever and one of the best racing video games of all time.
Race head to head with friends as different characters from the Mario universe or beat the game yourself by tackling every raceway with varied obstacles and checklists to complete. As the years progressed, Super Mario Kart was greatly adapted and heavily improved and is still an all-time necessity for all the racing gamers out there.
More eccentric than all on this list of the best racing video games of all time, Dirt 2 is not your typical behind-the-wheel virtual fun, but don't get me wrong, it's still extremely fun.
Available on practically any platform you can think of (even MacOSX and Nintendo Wii), Dirt 2 brings the mud of extreme racing and sporting to your virtual platform. Unlike most other racing games, this title attempted and succeeding in proving that the art of racing simulation is in terrain, with complex raceways and maneuvers that made the racing genre that much more in depth.
Ridge Racer 7
If you're more of a drifter, or simply just love the oldies, Ridge Racer 7 will definitely be somewhere in your memory. That is, of course, if you were playing video games around 2007.
Ridge Racer provided players with an ample amount of fun, whether it be in cars or racetracks, and inducted the whole new property of drifting into the genre. In addition, Ridge Racer 7 also helped to launch the PS3 into stardom, since it proved of the platform's power to amplitude graphics and bring superior textures to the screen.
Probably one of the least popular, though more well known in the best racing video games of all time is Burnout: Paradise. While it can be written in the canals of all racing simulators as a staple in the craft, it by no means revolutionized or engineered the genre. It merely added its own flavor to it.
Offering an open-world racing game, with tons of collectibles and insane amounts of multiplayer ingenuity, Burnout: Paradise is an awesome addition to the racing simulation genre simply because it reached a level of propensity despite being an overall average game.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Need for Speed was one of those hit-or-miss racing franchises, which often missed more than it hit the mark in most games. However, their Most Wanted title is still being played today by racing fanatics of all kinds, making it one of the best racing video games of all time.
Need for Speed, like Midnight Club, rendered storytelling with racing in such a way that it transformed the genre entirely. An assortment of titles to choose from, like Carbon or Playback, gives Need for Speed an incredible amount of versatility and prowess in the racing simulation.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles
Rockstar never hesitates when it comes to making some of the most amazing games, whether it be for physics, graphics, or just plain old storytelling, they can just never do wrong in the video game world.
As such, their multi-platform hits Midnight Club 3, plus its sequel, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, are two of the best racing video games of all time for revolutionizing the setting, in-game car modifications, and generally giving racing simulators an adaptable story that still rivals all others.
Gran Turismo 5
Widely regarded as the greatest racing game of all time, Gran Turismo 5, which was released way back in 2010, gave players the option to choose between a myriad of different racing styles, like NASCAR or Super GT. This granted a level of playability unheard of in the virtual racing universe.
As one of the best racing video games of all time, Gran Turismo 5 didn't waste valuable time trying to render the most amazing graphics or textures, but worked on the dynamics and content to boost appeal in the long run, which made it a fan favorite and a franchise to adore.
Forza Horizon 3
As Forza 7 looms on the horizon, most likely stealing this title of being one of the best racing video games of all time, its older cousin Forza Horizon 3 still brings an insurmountable level of depth and capacity to the racing simulation genre.
Coming out a year before GT5, Horizon 3 spiced up controls and design, never once compromising style for quality. The Forza franchise, itself, will forever be a staple among hardcore racing gamers, providing some of the best sequences, courses, and super cars available, with modifications that will make you spend hours souping up your favorite rides.
While Project CARS may have come out in 2015 and ran through awards, claiming the title game of the year without restraint, their follow up and sequel is one of the best VR games for PS4.
The franchise first began on PC, just like Assetto Corsa, and gradually gave itself away to the platform universe through a heightened popularity, which still grows to this day. Project CARS is one of the best racing video games of all time for sticking to its name and never accepting defeat.
Grand Theft Auto V
It's safe to say that GTA is by far one of the most successful and probably greatest video game franchises ever made for the sheer capacity of what you can do, which is practically anything your heart desires. With the most superior graphics ever rendered, highly complex open world full of many wonders, and some of the most realistic driving mechanics ever adapted, GTA V doesn't lose any battles when it comes to providing hours of vehicular mayhem, racing, and just plain old hilarious fun.
From racing speed boats and dodging the police, to robbing jewelry stores on speed bikes and jumping out of airplanes in an armored car, GTA V is not only one of the best racing video games, simply because you aren't stuck behind the wheel like all others, but it's also one of the best Xbox One games ever made.