During the early years of gaming, racing games appeared to be a genre out of the arcade league. Great studios weren’t able to perform, and even meticulously crafted games struggled to grab the attention of gamers. But then, something huge happened and that was the launch of Super Mario Kart. Within a few days after release, racing games conquered the market and continued to be one the most enjoyed genres of all time!
Let’s bring those good old days back in 2022 by playing classic, exciting, and truly captivating retro racing games. Not sure from where to begin? We’ve got you covered, as this article brings to you the top 10 retro racing games that are sure to make your game time in the upcoming year worthwhile.
1. Super Mario Kart (1992)
The release of Super Mario Kart was a bang-on moment for the racing genre! It sparked a new charm with colorful graphics while dodging and throwing bombs, shells, and bananas- making the entire experience more of a karting stimulator. Without a doubt, it’s an iconic racing game that can be played by anyone, making it a must-play racing game in 2022.
2. Chase HQ (1998)
When it comes to the true chase of racing, you will never be disappointed by Chase HQ, a game that gives the opportunity to chase baddies who are out on the run to save Violet Berlin. The criminals are fleeing, so chase them to save your own city. Similar to Super Mario Kart, it’s a young racing game that will be cherished by everyone. So, if you are up for trying a racing game with a difference then Chase HQ should be a part of your list.
3. Road Rash (1992)
Another iconic game that took over the gaming industry within a few months after its release is Road Rash. The game comes with really amazing racing elements (illegal ones as well) with a combination of combat moves. Sounds confusing? Well, in Road Rash, bikers get to punch, kick or whack other riders who are part of the race. While the graphics of the game appear linear, it still highlights the details of America like the Nevada Desert, Rocky Mountains, and more. With each progressing level, the race becomes even faster and that too at dangerous heights.
4. Stunt Car Racer (1989)
You can’t be a true racer without stunts, right? Based on this concept, Stunt Car Racer from the house of MicroProse that was launched in 1989 takes your stunting experience to new heights. There are jumps, turbo boosts, dragsters- everything that you need for creating a stunt that makes you stand apart from the crowd. There isn’t simply anything that you can hate about the game, and the best part is that it supports multi-player too, allowing you to bring down some awesome stunts along with fellow gamers.
5. Hard Drivin’ (1989)
If you want to try out a more simple and sophisticated racing game with minimal components then do check out Hard Drivin’. It will take you to the era of 3D polygon driving environment (something that only the smartest child of the class was good at back then). But now, you can play and ace this wonderful game too using your gaming skills.
6. Pole Position (1982)
Though Pole Position may not be as famous as other games on the list, the racing experience that it offers is impeccable. Similar to Hard Drivin’, the game has basic graphics such as 3D components and a racing car. However, in its initial days of release, the game emerged as the highest-grossing racing game in the US by beating some of the most celebrated games like Pac Man too.
7. Rad Racer (1987)
What was created as a copy of OutRun, turned out to be a successful retro racing game for the world? In this game, the player gets 3D glasses adding a fun and engaging aspect to the race. Even today, it holds a special position in the heart of gamers and that is thanks to its relatively simple design. Think about it, who wouldn’t want to race under bright blue skies and that too with an added 3D effect?
8. Gran Turismo (1997)
Looking for a racing game that is close to real-life driving? Then, you should lay your hands on Gran Turismo. Launched in early 1997, the game was able to shock the world with its flawless details and a wide collection of vehicles that could be customized according to your needs. Further, the courses that are a part of the game happen to be real-life courses, and that too with the enhanced image as seen in true hardcore racing games.
The entire vision of racing games evolved after Gran Turismo as with each passing day, developers were getting better and better with their concept of retro racing.
9. Formula 1 (1997)
If you are a true racing lover, you will never be new to Formula 1- it’s the heart of racing games! Just as seen in the case of Gran Turismo, after the release of Formula 1, racing games took a huge leap and were now hitting the mass market with spectacular graphics. All the advancements made them more popular than ever, after all, F1 introduced its share of realism to the gaming industry.
10. Sega Rally Championship (1994)
Sega Rally Championship is a famous racing simulator game that was played on Arcade Machines. You would find almost every bowling alley or cinema hall equipped with this incredible game to attract the young crowd. In fact, the game turned out to be a pioneer of off-roading experience, allowing players to race on any terrain of their choice. It had amazing graphics and was indeed addictive, as millions of copies were sold within months of release. Even modern games like Colin McRae Rally and Dirt have taken inspiration from this retro game.
There you have it. Welcome 2022 with lovable, iconic, and celebrated retro racing games that have redefined the racing genre- giving it a reputation that every gamer can be proud of.