In many ways the karting genre has been forever doomed. That is to say, outside of the original Mario Kart series. No other game has ever managed to step out of the shadow cast by the title that established it, or the sequels that propelled it forward. This in itself is quite odd; no one would call Bioshock a Wolfenstein 3D clone, or dismiss Forza as nothing more than a glamorous version of Pole Position. But most genres have evolved and outperformed the titles that originally defined them, and these originals have ceased to be the influential names they once were. Kart racing is different. Mario is still on top, and like every other karting game ever made, the challenge Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour faces is to define itself as something more than a slightly worse version of Mario Kart.
The future is a wonderful place full of possibility, excitement, and crazy new inventions such as flying cars. For racing games it allows for new ideas, faster top speeds, crazy track designs, and vibrant atmospheres. I’ve always been surprised by how few videogames have really explored these compelling concepts, especially considering how most that have either resulted in wildly exciting series, or at least a couple of extremely fun titles. This is a top ten list from only a handful of games, but each is a truly awesome racer that any fan of the genre should have in their collection.
Back in 1999 Sega spent $47 million making Shenmue, and looking back this was arguably money well spent. It’s a shame we don’t currently see that amount of cash being funnelled into games that are equally ambitious and innovative, but Shenmue walks a dangerous line and I can see why others have been unwilling to follow. It’s too advanced for it’s own good, and because of this remains an utterly unique and compelling experience today.
Hailing from an age of intense arcade racers, Re-Volt is a fast and exciting game. Often hailed as a classic multiplayer title, its substantial selection of cars and tracks makes for a game that’s great fun solo, but even with better with friends. With tight controls, a cool soundtrack, and addictive gameplay, it succeeds in providing a retro racing experience that has stood the test of time incredibly well.