Retro Gaming Memories: Gran Turismo

Cover art for Gran Turismo, the first game in ...
Image via Wikipedia

I’d like to share with you some memories of gaming days gone by, when times were simpler, and true 3D gaming was a novelty…

Schoolboy shenanigans

In the mid 90s, I’ll always remember finishing school on a Friday, and spending it with my mate.  First, I’d go out with him and help him do his paper round, munching on some sweets we’d got at the newsagents.  Later on we’d fire up the PlayStation (original) and play Gran Turismo- with a difference.

We weren’t gamblers by any stretch of the imagination, but we’d place ‘penny bets’ on each race which made things interesting.  Every so often we would up the stakes by placing all or nothing bets on one race.  In times like those, it felt like the world was on my shoulders- if I lost, I could end up losing as much as 50 pence!  But I digress…

Ready, steady, go

For a young lad then, Gran Turismo was a slice of gaming heaven.  You had gorgeous 3D graphics, with hundreds of cars rendered beautifully.  And they were fast.  That’s what mattered.  But the Gran Turismo series heralded more than just racing, it brought out the whole ‘driving experience’.  The music was perfect; it varied between being fast and satisfying, to having some haunting melodies.  Just thinking about it is sending shivers down my spine.

They say the car’s the star, but the racing tracks were equally impressive.  Each track became a thing of legend; Trial Mountain, Grand Valley Speedway, and Deep Forest Raceway to name a few.  Sure, the AI was a bit unforgiving as they never made mistakes, just following their own perfect racing line flawlessly.  Quite a strong constrast to AI behaviour in the games of today such as Race Rriver: GRID in which yes, your competitors can and do make mistakes.

Everyone will remember saving up and buying their first car.  The patience required to hold off on any rash purchases, holding out for the high-end model that you really wanted.  I would be doing Gran Turismo a disservice if I didn’t mention the detailed customisations you could make to your car: fitting turbos, racing chips, choosing the right tires and tweaking the suspension.  This was to many people, including myself, a level of detailed never seen before in a racing game.  But Gran Turismo was never just another racing game, was it?  It was the real driving simulator.

A vintage

So, do I think that Gran Turismo has aged well?  Of course it has.  It is a classic game that showed everyone just what a driving game could be.  The series has gone from strength to strength, gathering new fans with each successive game.  Whilst I do admit to prefering to sample the delights of Collin McRae: DiRT, and Race Driver: GRID for my driving fix these days, I will always look back on my gaming memories with Gran Turismo fondly.

Do you have any retro gaming memories that you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear your stories!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.