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It's time to sit behind the wheel of every popular racing car in the world and beyond! Get ready for breath-taking, competitive races against AI, your friends, or in online multiplayer – with our guide and selection of the best racing games on the market, you are one step away from becoming a true speed demon! From realistic simulators that recreate authentic driving to bombastic, action-packed arcade games to open-world racing games allowing you to feel the true sense of speed, we have them all! Discover a wide selection of Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and PC racing games. Be faster! Be quicker! Be the winner!
What are the kinds of racing games?
There are four kinds of this type of game. Take a look at each of them here:
- Arcade racing games. The popular arcade-style games, as you can expect from this name, were born in arcades. These kinds of games usually are classified as casual driving experiences and feature fast-paced, competitive driving against AI or other players. Arcade racer games have a lot of various graphic effects that make these games very memorable and fun;
- Simulation racing. For those who want a realistic racing game and complete control, the simulation sub-genre is the best choice. They recreate various processes of real-life driving, are slower, more grounded, and focus on realism;
- Kart racing. This sub-genre is known for fun and action. Usually, cartoonish car racing game offers various obstacles and power-ups that you can grab and use during competitive races against AI opponents or co-op mode. This is the most unrealistic and probably the funniest type of racing;
- Futuristic racing. In this type of game, the player takes control of various innovative vehicles and drives them in futuristic environments. Often including combat elements, it's probably the most sci-fi kind of racing car game.
Best series of racing games
We present to you the most notable and attention-worthy series. Take a look at them and choose your favorite!
- Need for Speed. This series was born in 1994. Made by Electronic Arts and later by Criterion Games, Need for Speed is known as the leading franchise of arcade-style games. The series has a lot of installments and a massive legacy, making Need for Speed one of the best-selling racing games. It's also known for popularizing drift and drag racing game modes. Everyone knows NFS. Yes, your dad included!
- Gran Turismo. Driving simulator series created in 1997 by Polyphony Digital, Gran Turismo is not only one of the best car driving game series but also always exclusive to Sony hardware. Immerse in a real driving experience, learn how to drive various real-world cars, and get ready for one of the best racing simulator games with GT!
- Forza series. For a long time, the series, created in 2005, was a console racing game exclusive to Xbox platforms but later became available on PC. The latest Forza games are set in huge open worlds, where the player has to compete against opponents in breathtaking races. From a single-player campaign mode to a multiplayer game experience – the Forza series stands tall as one of the most fantastic racing games to date;
- Burnout. A series created by Criterion Games in 2001, Burnout is known for a feature that lets you crash your vehicle in other racers or environments. Ram into your foe and hope for the best with Burnout games!
- Twisted Metal. This 90s-style arcade racer series is something else. Created in 1995 by SingleTrack, this retro racer is all about action! The player takes a car, chooses a weapon, and drives to battle. In Twisted Metal games, you have to destroy your opponents in various ways. Explosions and other effects used create a bombastic atmosphere full of hatred and fury;
- Assetto Corsa. Created in 2014 by developer Kunos Simulazioni, Assetto Corsa is a surprisingly popular simulation racing video game with support for extensive customization. Assetto Corsa offers a realistic racing game experience, a selection of real-life cars, and with community mod support, remains one of the most popular racing games;
- Mario Kart. Probably the most popular Kart game ever, Mario Kart continues to fascinate gamers on every Nintendo console. Highly competitive and enormously fun, Mario Kart games offer cartoony racing at its finest and stands tall among many casual racing games!
- Dirt Rally 2.0. Dirt Rally 2.0 is the epitome of an authentic rally experience, immersing players in a heart-pounding and authentic off-road experience. This highly acclaimed racing simulation, developed by Codemasters, pushes the boundaries of realism, delivering an adrenaline-fueled adventure and the art of rally for motorsport enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike.
- Project CARS. Project Cars is the pinnacle of racing simulations, offering an unmatched level of realism and immersion. With stunning graphics, meticulously recreated tracks, and an extensive roster of cars, every race feels authentic and exhilarating. The advanced physics engine, dynamic weather system, and deep customization options further enhance the experience, while the single-player mode and online multiplayer provide endless opportunities for competitive racing.
A brief history of racing games
Take a look at the most important events of this genre's history:
- The 1970s. The earliest racing video game to be released dates back to 1972, with the release of the first video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey. It included a game called Wipeout, where the player moves a dot around a race track that is outlined by an overlay placed on the television screen. In 1973, Atari released Space Race, and the following year presented the first driving video game in the arcades, Gran Trak 10, which presents an overhead single-screen view of the track in low-resolution white-on-black graphics.
- The 1980s. Pole Position, developed by Namco and released in 1982, is considered arguably the most important racing game ever made. It sold over 21,000 arcade cabinets in the US by 1983 and again became the highest-grossing arcade game of 1984. Since the mid-1980s, it became a trend for arcade racing games to use hydraulic motion simulator arcade cabinets. However, it wasn't until 1989 when the critically acclaimed Indianapolis 500: The Simulation first saw the light of day: that's when the world saw what is regarded as the first true auto racing simulation on a personal computer;
- The 1990s. In 1993, Namco released Ridge Racer. Its 3D polygon graphics stood out for the use of Gouraud shading and texture mapping. The following year, Electronic Arts produced The Need for Speed, which would later spawn one of the world's most successful racing game series. By offering brand-new story mode with each new installment, arcade racing mechanics, different types of races, fantastic soundtracks, and car customization, NFS became one of the most popular racing games of all time.