I was playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with my kid the other day and it was a blast. Nintendo have really nailed this game, especially in the balance of accessible enough for beginners to have fun but...
I was playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with my kid the other day and it was a blast. Nintendo have really nailed this game, especially in the balance of accessible enough for beginners to have fun but hard enough for people to have a challenge too.
My other favourite game (although I haven't played it for a while) is Sega Rally Championship on Sega Saturn. This game has 4 tracks (one of which needs to be unlocked) and 3 cars (and again, one of these needs to be unlocked). The tiny number of cars and tracks means that you get to do the same corners over and over. This might sound tedious, but when you hit the corner just right you know it. You can get a sense of mastery over it. I've spent many hours playing games in the Gran Turismo series, and I really enjoy them, but fair play some of the tracks and cars are just shovelled into the game and you don't spend much time with them
In the first Gran Turismo the licensing tests were properly hard. They weren't messing around. Getting bronze requires people to read the manual and understand what the point of the test is. Getting all gold is an actual challenge for experienced players. I feel like the tests (at least, the bronze levels) got easier in later games. The UK soundtrack was small but pretty good.
My final mention is the Burnout series. I loved the crash junctions. I'm not sure the open world of Paradise was fun - it meant spending a lot of time driving across a map to get to the start line of various events. I feel the same way about many games - I'd rather just have a menu of levels and what I need to do to complete them (GoldenEye, SNES PilotWings, BlastCorps are all good examples) than have this stuff obscured by the open world. Burnout on the Nintendo DS was a genuinely awful game. I think Burnout Dominator was my favourite in the series.
So, what do driving games get right? What do they miss? What interesting game mechanics do you enjoy?