I’ve never gotten into racing games. Why do people like them? Do you like them and if so, why?
I don’t really know why people like racing games. I’m not personally into racing games, because I think they get kind of flat and repetitive, but I know they always sell well. I’m not even into F-Zero GX really, even though I’d like to get a bit more into it, because it just doesn’t interest me as much as a regular single player challenge, and racing seems like such a non-interactive thing to do with someone else. It’s based a lot more on efficiency rather than actually trying to get into the other person’s head. Efficiency allows you to completely ignore the other player. The two of you need to be close to each other in efficiency to even regard each other in your average racing game, assuming it doesn’t just go like trackmania and have both of you be intangible to each other.
I’ve even felt like speedrun racing for other games isn’t very interesting. I feel like speedrunning is a much more individual pursuit, trying to master yourself, and at best in races you get people trying riskier things to catch up as a form of interplay rather than any form of direct competition.
Fighting games are the opposite of this, you need to directly interact with your opponent first for efficiency to play much of a part in how you win the match.
I once pitched a racing game idea with more track interaction, trying to make tracks that were more difficult to traverse and had more risk inherent in tricky jumps, avoiding obstacles, and so on to a friend of mine seeking racing game ideas, and he rejected it, saying that obstacles like that would create wider variances in people’s times, more inconsistent times, only frustrating players and causing them to give up on the game.
I asked this same friend for his opinion on why people like racing games, his answer was:
Alright. People like time trials because it has the best difficulty curve of all time, you’re fighting yourself and your own skill. that npc you’re screaming at for being a cheap fucker is your ghost, and you always know that no matter what you can always match it. even after a loss streak, it’s still an encouraging thought. That encompases games like trackmania, or really any game with a ghost system. For racing against others, it’s a show of skill in a game with zero rng. racing games by their nature are 0% random, everything’s fully in your control. You can never blame the game, and never wonder if a loss was really your fault, at least in games where the AI doesn’t blatantly cheat (fuck rubberbanding AI). It’s an efficiency race, especially in multiplayer, but it’s one where you can not only see for yourself in plain view how you can improve, but one where you get constant reminders in terms of timecode how you’re improving. Starcraft for example. You can play a match for 20 minutes, then suddenly lose and not know what you did wrong. it’s frustrating. in a racing game, you see with your own eyes what went wrong for you, or what went right for the other player.