Top Racers of All Time?

These things are of course just written up to drive traffic and controversy, and while it pains me to do so, I’ll bite. As seen at Gaming Nexus, Next Generation has posted up their Top 50 Greatest Games. The list includes racers like F-Zero GX, Gran Turismo 4, Mario Kart DS, OutRun, and Ridge Racer, but other classics like Grand Prix Legends and Sega Rally are sadly absent.

Obviously everyone’s opinions differ. However, factoring in their overall success, fun, and impact to the gaming scene, here are the top five racers I’d pick:

  • Gran Turismo – A much bigger leap forward than any of its successors
  • Hard Drivin’ – Way ahead of its time
  • Sega Rally – The most playable arcade racer ever?
  • Metropolis Street Racer – Just brilliant
  • Grand Prix Legends – The progenitor of the modern racing sim

I’d also like to give an honorable mention to Test Drive on the C64, the game that got me started. There you have my top 5, what are yours?

Walk-In for Wii in NYC?

So says Paul Gonzalez, manager of the NYC Nintendo World Store. In speaking with Joystiq, he opined that there will be more than enough Wii to go around…at least for those who can get down to the store by Sunday November 19:

Gonzalez told us Wii pre-orders for the November 19 launch will certainly be filled, and there will be “enough for walk-ins as well.” We gave him a chance to take back that quote — last thing we want to do is get him fired — but he backed it up saying, “I’m not expecting to sell out on Sunday. Monday — no promises.”

GT4 on PS3

With no new Gran Turismo game at launch for the PS3 (just like there wasn’t for the PS2), Sony racing fans might just have to resort to cleaning off their dusty copy of GT4 on the PS2 and playing that instead. GameSpot has published some pictures of the game running on the PS3 (along with rightfully forgotten non-classic Battle Arena Toshinden). Alas, where the 360 up-samples most Xbox games to 720p, the PS3 does no-such magic for Playstation or PS2 games, presenting them in their 480i or occasionally 480p glory. (Yes, I know, GT4 could output a 1080i signal, but it clearly wasn’t a full 1080 lines of resolution.)

However, while the 360 gives prettier graphics for some older games, the major shortcoming there is a near-complete inability to import your game saves from the 360. This, at least, is something Sony has addressed, delivering a PS2 memory card adapter for the PS3 for around $15. And, given that the PS3 should work with damn-near every Playstation and PS2 game ever, it’s clearly the more faithful of the two consoles when it comes to respecting its elders.

Ridge Racer 7 Online Details

Eurogamer has posted up a few new morsels of information about PS3 launch title Ridge Racer 7.

Speaking to Famitsu PS2, in an article partially translated by IGN, [Producer] Teramoto said that the game would offer a hard-disk install option, allowing you to store 5GB worth of data on the PlayStation 3’s internal drive to speed things up…As for the separation of single- and multiplayer, there won’t be any. Instead, Teramoto says, the money and ranks you accumulate will apply both online and offline. As previously revealed, the game offers 14-player online races, just as the 360 version, which Teramoto also worked on, did – with co-op races as well as other modes.

Carbon Reviewed

NFS Carbon

Reviews are starting to trickle in, and while they’re mostly good, they seem to be resulting in very similar scores as Underground and Most Wanted, making this rather jaded gamer wish they’d spent a little less time digitizing actresses and a little more improving the feel.

This year’s version, Need for Speed Carbon, which refers to Carbon Canyon where racers duel for territory in the city below, is a minor shake-up for the series, shifting in new features, shifting out others, while continuing the FMV-heavy story-telling from Most Wanted. Carbon, in other words, is a decent update to last year’s game with improved graphics, excellent Autosculpt customization, a different progression system, and an all-around solid take on the game. It’s not revolutionary, it’s not brilliant, but it’s good, deep racing.

Review at IGN

Cars 360 Review

Cars on Wii

Cars the oft-ported and best-selling videogame take on the animated film of the same name (phew) has finally hit the Xbox 360 after a lengthy delay that seems to have resulted in, sadly, virtually nothing being added to it. GameSpot have written up their thoughts:

Combining a solid open-world driving model, great presentation, and the entire voice cast of the film, Cars was easily the best game ever made based on a Pixar license and could certainly be in the running for the best kids game of this year. Now, months later, Cars has come to the Xbox 360. For all intents and purposes, this is exactly the same game released on consoles and the PC several months ago, but with some marginal updates to the graphics, and of course, achievement points. Perhaps for some, that’s enough reason for those who missed out on Cars on its initial run to give it a go now, but bear in mind that you’ll be facing a steeper price of entry, as well.

Test Drive Unlimited Delayed

“What?” you might be asking. “They can delay games that have already been released now!?” Perhaps, but in this case we’re talking about ports of a game that has already been released getting a delay. In this case it’s the PS2, PSP, and PC versions of Test Drive Unlimited, supposed to be launched more-or-less alongside the mostly warmly received 360 version. Those versions will instead be coming out sometime this upcoming Spring. Blue’s News has the details.

Silver Becoming Second Class?

Slashdot has a posting up about how the Xbox Live Silver accounts (i.e. the free ones) are starting to become second class when compared to the Gold accounts (i.e. the not free ones). Before the 360 there was only Gold, but Silver was added to enable everyone to get online and download demos and new content and such for their games. However, a trend has recently started where certain downloads are becoming available to Gold members days or weeks ahead of Silver ones.

This is bad news for Microsoft. As it is, or rather was, with Silver offering free access to everything and Gold getting the online multiplayer, the Xbox 360 offered both a great hype distribution platform for free and a brilliant online system for pay. Now, with Sony bringing their PS3 online offering the same sort of distribution platform and, from what early reports are saying, a less seamless but still good online system all for free, it’s no time for Microsoft to start getting greedy.

DirectX 10

With the launch of Windows Vista getting…closer anyway, Firing Squad have written up a lengthy overview of the latest and perhaps most radical update to Microsoft’s gaming framework since it was introduced with Windows 95 back in the day. DX10 promises a few new graphical tweaks, improved handling for shaders, and some other niceties that will result in better looking games. But, the big improvements are in the internals; it’s been completely re-worked to optimize interactions with graphics cards. The upshot of this is that you’ll see higher framerates and better looking visuals without needing more hardware. Tim Sweeney of Epic fame explains:

We don’t have hard data yet, but it looks like there’s potential to reduce the CPU cost of submitting rendering by a factor of 2-4. Since DirectX9 games are often CPU-limited, this should lead to significant visible improvements in frame rate…More important, this lower overhead will enable us to render more objects per frame and increase the visual complexity of scenes in a more organic way than simply adding more polygons to existing objects.

However, with everything good comes something bad, and with DX10 they’ve had to break the backwards-compatibility chain. It will be available only with Vista and DX10 games simply won’t run under DX9. Sure, during the transition phase most developers will be writing their games to work with both DX9 and DX10. But, eventually, we’ll all need to move up to Vista.

Full Article at Firing Squad

TrackMania United Early Release in North America

TrackMania United

We just got word of an interesting promotion for TrackMania United for North American gamers. The game isn’t slated for full retail release until February of next year. But, they’re going to drop a paltry 10,000 units onto American gamers who pre-order via the game’s website on November 17. While those 10,000 gamers will likely be happy, retailers may not be. But, really, who cares about the retailers?

Anyhow, the game is of course focused on high-flying racing and this time will deliver a content editor to let you easily create and share custom paint jobs. And, as you can see by the screenshots, there are no shortage of beautiful shapes to paint. United will be a bit of a collection of all the previously released TrackMania content, something you can read a little more about in our earlier posting on the subject.

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