The 2022 Formula 1 season is slowly winding down, but there is still a visit to be made to the United States.
October 30 sees the arrival of the world’s fastest drivers as they battle the 5.5km Austin track. After 56 laps, Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to add to his record as the driver with the most wins, although it is far more likely Max Verstappen will be taking a giant step towards the Driver’s Championship and gaining the upper hand in their rivalry.
Either way, fans here in the States may well wish to prepare for the event by picking up a video game and putting themselves in the driver’s seat. Car racing video games are not new; the earliest arcades often had such games for people to play, as far back as the late seventies. Today, racing fans, in general, can get their fix on everything from home consoles to mobiles.
For instance, games such as GRID Autosport on iOS are better than anything you could find in old arcades but are powered simply by your mobile phone. Racing is a huge genre for mobile users; you’re not always behind the wheel. There are online slots from Foxy Bingo based on racing, such as 60 Second Heist and The Wild Chase, which lean heavily on car racing themes without you driving. The same can be said for F1 Clash, which hints at being a Formula 1 racing game, but is a management simulator.
F1 clash is a Formula 1 game, a sub-genre of the racing game industry. Traditionally, Formula 1 games have had licensed tracks and cars, and they’ve also dabbled in car setup. That puts them on a different level to pick-up-and-play racers on other platforms, but which are the best? If you want to get your Lewis Hamilton on or channel your inner Ayrton Senna, which games, new and old, are best to do so?
Here’s our handy guide, avoiding the obvious modern franchise from Codemasters, which benefits from the latest technology.
Formula 1 Grand Prix (DOS)
At first glance, it might be hard to understand how Formula 1 Grand Prix, also known as MicroProse Grand Prix, made it onto the list. It doesn’t look much, but it played like a dream in 1991. The game had no official licensing, but thanks to its physics and accurate real-life tracks, it felt like a bona fide Formula 1 game rather than an arcade version. It spawned three sequels, each getting better and more refined, and it catapulted Geoff Crammond, the brains behind it, to legendary status in the gaming world. Indeed, such is its legacy, the final sequel has been described by Traxion as the last true Formula 1 simulator, and that’s perhaps the game to play, even if we have listed the granddaddy of them all here.
Formula 1 97 (PlayStation 1)
Formula 1 Grand Prix benefitted from not being an arcade racer, Formula 1 97 benefitted from giving you a choice. It was the second game in Sony’s Formula 1 series, and it featured the legendary commentator Murray Walker and a full roster of drivers from the 1997 season, bar Jacques Villeneuve. It struck a wonderful balance between realism and arcade fun and allowed you to tailor its challenge for your tastes. This is the solution if you’ve found your Formula 1 games a little too in-depth.
F1 Career Challenge (PlayStation 2)
Sports began to get in on the Formula 1 act around the turn of the century, which led to F1 Career Challenge, encompassing four seasons in a single game. Each season featured accurate rosters and even saw minor changes made to the tracks to reflect how they’d evolved in real life. It was also the first time gamers tasted a career mode, now a Formula 1 game scene staple.
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