And I’m losing my favourite game
you’re losing your mind again
I’m losing my baby
losing my favourite game …
Many remember this song from The Cardigans. A lesser known fact is that it was a soundtrack in Gran Turismo 1 and 2. However, there is more to it than Nina singing about losing he favourite game.
Gran Turismo started off as a racing game offering an arcade and simulation version. This form still persisted until Gran Turismo 6 with GT Sport becoming the probably exception, as this latest installment will continue onward as an e-sport. It is true that Polyphony has come a long way – 20 years to be exact. The series was produced consistently, but then Polyphony Digital dropped the ball around GT5 when it needed twice as much time as previously.
If you don’t believe me, here are the release dates of Gran Turismo:
- Gran Turismo: 1997
- Gran Turismo 2: 1999
- Gran Turismo 3: 2001
- Gran Turismo 4: 2004
- Gran Turismo 5: 2010
- Gran Turismo 6: 2013
It literally shocked me back then just how beautiful the first installment was … for a PlayStation 1 game. Back then the cars’ selection and driving gameplay gave me another set of goosebumps. Gran Turismo signifies THE racing game benchmark. The realistic modifications and getting to race with a car that your dad might be driving were only a few of the amazing features included to make any child giddy with excitement back then. Any other racing game had to be on par with it, or it didn’t deserve to call itself a racing game. The Gran Turismo franchise kept up the momentum with GT2 and GT3 when transitioning onto the PlayStation 2.
So … needless to say, the expectations were very high when Polyphony announced GT5 for PlayStation 3 – you were itching to have the state of the art visuals and all of the cars in your hands to drive. Sadly, the delivery was disappointing. Personally, I think Polyphony had already reached its peak at this point. For a good number of years they have enjoyed the glorious ride of being the forerunner, but now, they were on the backseat. Not only are there alternative titles to play, but Microsoft was investing in their consoles to play in the racing game market. In other words, there were unsatisfied players who wanted something different.
Don’t get me wrong – GT5 was commercially successful and received positive reviews. I love the game, but whatever made the series special wasn’t there anymore. It only went more downhill with GT6 (don’t get me started on this one). These installments have decided to drift into the super to hyper cars region (cars that are too powerful or too expensive for most people to have seen in real life) to cater to new players. The ordinary cars are just merely re-skinned from the car models used in earlier installments of the franchise, probably GT3.
Maybe I am asking too much and I just have to accept that racing games have moved on. Yes, I have tried other titles such as Grid, DriveClub and Need for Speed – they have their qualities exceeding Gran Turismo. There are also games that encourage communal co-creation like Assetto Corsa on PC, which is a marvelous piece of work. For the sake of racing simulation games, there is also Project Cars (2)…. Or maybe instead of looking for alternatives, all I need to do is to play Gran Turismo again on PlayStation 1. Or just as Nina was singing … and come to terms with the fact that I am losing my favourite game.
Let me know if you play racing games too. Are you hopeful for GT Sport? Or do you think Polyphony has dropped their chances for console gaming?