When it comes to video games, cars and car racing have been a staple for many years.
In 1974, Atari released a game called Gran Trak 10, which is believed to be the earliest racing game ever made. It was a single-player, top-down view where gamers had to guide their car around a track using the steering wheel. It looks very basic now, but it delighted people at the time.
Moving on through the years, Outrun is perhaps the most notable car racing game of the eighties and early nineties. It featured you driving across various backdrops, from deserts to beaches, in what appeared to be a Ferrari, soft-top down and hair blowing free. It hit home computers and arcades and is a seminal game in the history of racers.
Nowadays, car racing games are everywhere, and you can get mobile games a million times more involved than Outrun could ever have been, putting you behind the wheel of cars such as a VW Golf GTI. CarX Highway Racing uses traditional racing themes to appeal to gamers, but others take different approaches, using car racing and chases as the theme, but not for the mechanics of their game. For instance, you can find games titled The Wild Chase and 60 Second Heist among the Gala Casino games, which appeal to petrolheads without pitting you against other drivers. They suggest speed and thrills but present a different experience altogether. Open Wheel Manager is similar, a PC game that won’t see you driving cars around a track. There are more; games featuring cars are more common than almost any other game genre.
However, whilst racing games vary in their offering, gamers still enjoy seeing different cars in their games, and some models and makes have featured in games far more often than others. Some you can drive, some have appeared in the background, and others are part of a story. Which cars tend to pop up most, and why? Here are four of the most popular car makes to feature in video games.
The fact the VW Beetle is one of the most recognizable cars in the world makes it perfect for video gaming. Developers don’t need to invest in expensive licenses either, as Rockstar proved when they dropped their version of it into Grand Theft Auto 5, named the Weevil. The Beetle is no longer in production; Forbes reported it ceased production in 2018, meaning gaming might be the only way to try one out. Luckily, it is the most used car in video games, and it even made an appearance on the road in Outrun. Other titles you can find a Beetle in include Need for Speed, Carmageddon, Micro Machines: Turbo Tournament, The Simpsons: Hit and Run and Gran Turismo Sport, Racing, among many others.
2002 FERRARI ENZO
The Ferrari F40 and F50 have multiple video game appearances, but the 12-cylinder mid-engine Enzo is perhaps the most popular. Although it only hit the streets in 2002, it did so when technology allowed developers to add multiple cars to their games, which means it makes lots of appearances. Most of the big racing titles have featured the Enzo, including Forza, Need For Speed, Gran Turismo, Burnout and Ridge Racer.
CHEVROLET CAMARO MK.1
Amusingly, whilst the Camaro is the most used Chevrolet in video gaming, the next most popular is the Chevrolet Step Van, used for SWAT teams, ambulances and fire services. It appears in games such as Call of Duty and GTA. Indeed, the Camaro also crosses over into GTA, although it had a slight remodel and is branded as a Declasse Vigero. Still, to get your hands on a 68 or 69 Camaro wheel, you only have to load up Midnight Club, Far Cry, Forza or Gran Turismo. Thanks to its iconic and familiar shape, you can also see it in other games, such as Dead Rising 3.
FORD CROWN VICTORIA
Ford is the most popular manufacturer featured in car games, and the Crown Victoria is their most popular make. Why, might you ask? It’s not supercharged, and it won’t bomb around tracks, so why does it feature in more than 90 video games? Because it is commonly used as a police vehicle, those chase games based on Gone in 60 Seconds often have it as the car you must avoid! It can be seen in post-apocalyptic titles such as The Last Of Us, shrouded in weeds. If you want to give it a go around a track, the dependable Forza is a good place to start.