This is a list of the 10 best racing games ever to make you sweat over who will win the checkered flag with their Cheeto covered analog sticks.

Racing is in the blood from birth. It started with your siblings. You’d crawl in laps around the kitchen island while smacking at your opponents. Once walking, it was always a race to the kitchen to nab the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Once your motor skills developed and your thumbs developed the dexterity to hold a controller, you graduated to racing video games, or the crucible of video game competition.

Here’s our list of the 10 best racing games that make you want to push over the person playing next to you so they’ll swerve off the track and leave you with the checkered flag.

10. F Zero

Kicking off the 10 best racing games list is F Zero, which flirts as closely to realism as futuristic racing games will get. Again, you’re treated to frenetic racing action through an assortment of arcade style levels. You’re also christened with lasers and other weapons to blast your opponents over the guard rails and into oblivion. This was one of the first games to really play with the idea of what future racing might be. Even though it is bringing up the rear, F Zero is still a classic racing game worth a look.

9. Extreme G

One of the most hyperkinetic racing games ever conceived, Extreme G took competition to new psychedelic heights. The levels turned every which way in defiance of Sir Isaac Newton, and of course each two wheeled speed machine had laser guns to knock out your opponents. It wouldn’t be a futuristic racer without lasers.

8. San Francisco Rush

An N64 Racing classic that is chock full of explosive flaming crashes is San Francisco Rush. A contender with Need for Speed and other arcade style racing games, Rush added a bit more reality to the controls. The cars felt like they had weight and you felt the wheels jerk and buck as you held a power slide around a corner. Granted, there was a level that was essentially a skatepark, but realism can only be so fun can’t it?

7. Excitebike

This game is legendary and one of the 10 best racing games ever. It was a side scrolling motocross game where you only had to make it to beat the preordained time limit to move along to the championship. This simplicity made the game addictive and had us breaking out our dust covered NES for some nostalgic fun. Just don’t overheat your bike, or old NES.

6. Waverace 64

An often forgotten gem of the N64 age, Waverace 64 was something new to brush the dust off your collection of racing games. Instead of slithering around on tarmack with screeching wheels, you had beaches, waves, and a fidgety wave runner to contend with while getting around a track. In addition hauling your way around the ocean at top speed, you could also pull off some spectacular stunts like flips, barrel rolls (not unlike starfox), and the submarine, which was effective in getting you into some secret shortcuts that just pissed off your friends.

5. Dirt 2

Rally racing is the one part of the racing world that video games haven’t really been able to get right, until Dirt 2. With an arcade sensibility and Gran Turismo sense of realism, Dirt 2 showed us that rally racing was possible on your TV and that it could be insanely fun. The best part of rally racing? The insane crashes.

4. Diddy Kong Racing

An epic amalgamation of story and racing the likes of which hasn’t been seen since is the best way to describe Diddy Kong Racing. When it came out, it was a revelation. The story gave a sense that our racing was worth more than a 1st place trophy and the different vehicles added a lovely variety to the racing action. In addition to all of this, you could blast your opponents out of the sky which is quite cathartic.

3. Mario Kart 64

Why would Mario Kart 64 be on the same list as Forza or Gran Turismo? Simple. It’s a racing game, a far more simple one than the others, but a racing game nonetheless. This game is legendary amongst the people with four N64 controllers. Many nights were had with people arguing whether Peach or Toad were faster because they were lighter and more than one person was slapped for using the shortcut on Rainbow Road.

2. Forza 4

Many people think of Forza as Gran Turismo for Xbox, and they aren’t too far off. In many way, the franchises are similar and damn near equal in racing thrills. Forza has an insane amount of cars and an insane amount of pedantically accurate features for each car.

1. Gran Turismo 5

Arguably the white hot tip of racing game innovation in realism, Gran Turismo 5 provide an unprecedented amount of cars, tracks, features, and fun. The developers were completely anal when it came to the physics of each car and the effects of each minute set-up tweaks. I can’t remember a game where adding camber to the wheels actually made a difference on a twisty track. For the sheer amount of realism and content, GT5 finishes first on our list.


More From 96.5 KNRX