About five years ago I had my first dinner ever at Dave And Buster’s. It had been over a decade since I was last in an arcade, and that was just the corner one down the street from my parent’s house. I walked through D And B, between the monstrous machines, and sat down into a car racing game. Twenty dollars later, my love of the arcade was thoroughly renewed and I had a brand new obsession, car racing arcade games. You can take some rather incredible driving risks in those games that you absolutely could not take in real life. My job necessitates a lot of commuting, so I find myself behind the wheel almost as often as I’m riding the train. After all of those hours spent every week ensuring I drive responsibly and safely, it’s a lot of fun to hit the arcade and throw caution to the wind. Last week I had a meeting in New York City and took the group out to Dave And Buster’s afterwards. On the train ride home I got an idea, and decided to write this blog.
Here’s a list of 5 particularly cool car racing games that are either currently in arcades or used to be.
Raw Thrills and Specular Interactive 2011
The first game to hit this list is none other than Dirty Drivin’. DD is a relatively new addition to the virtual racing scene. Release in 2011 by Raw Thrills and Specular Interactive, DD is a one-seater game which can feature the driver in one of ten custom vehicles. That might not sound like very many, but the list of upgrades that are available throughout the game is almost endless. Racers can find themselves tearing up the craziest of tracks, unleashing weaponry on their opponents, or even grabbing on-course power ups to catapult themselves to victory. There is a special, skull-shaped crank next to the drivers seat which, when pulled, releases the power ups that can be acquired throughout the game. Smashing into your opponent is also encouraged. The more points you get throughout the game, the more power-ups become available. The whole game has a wonderfully gritty feel to it that translates into an incredibly fun experience behind the wheel.
I’m going to reach way back here and talk about one of the first arcade driving games ever, Hard Drivin’. I never played this game, and I’m sure it has since disappeared, but it’s more than worth mentioning for a whole host of reasons. First of all, Hard Drivin’ is a game that doesn’t skimp on the realism when it comes to driving. This game actually featured a clutch pedal to be worked in conjunction with a gear shift. If the driver couldn’t work those seamlessly, the car would stall in the game and affect the lap time. Secondly, this was the first arcade racing game of it’s time to feature the driving perspective from inside the vehicle. Just looking at this game, I bet it was tough to drive with that perspective. Not for any lack of talent on the gamer’s side, but mainly because the perspective is like a horse with blinders on. When you’re driving the car in the game, you can’t see off to the sides! I’m sure that made it difficult to navigate turns. Then, on top of all that, if you left the road, you had ten seconds to return before your game was automatically over. While this game may have been very accurate and revolutionary in it’s day, I prefer the games that followed it. I like my virtual racing games to be fun, especially in an arcade setting.
Now here’s a game I played when I was younger and occasionally made it to arcades. Outrun was truly the beginning of the racing games we see in arcades today. Yes, like Hard Drivin’, this game features a full sit-down cabinet for arcade play. However, Outrun uses the more popular “behind the car” perspective. The seat would also shake and turn along with the on-screen turns and crashes. Outrun made you really feel like the action was happening around you. The game was designed by Yu Suzuki. Yu toured Europe before working on the game in order to add as much realism to the game as possible. Most of the backgrounds and settings seen throughout Outrun are modeled after European landscapes. It wasn’t just a coincidence that the races took you past windmills, the Alps, and rock formations like Stonehenge. The whole point of the game is to escape reality. Let me tell you, driving through the Alps while sitting in a small arcade in Minnesota was definitely escaping reality.
Fast & Furious Supercars
Raw Thrills 2010
Let’s get back to the modern racing games you will find the next time you step into an arcade. This next one is also from the geniuses over at Raw Thrills and it’s called Fast And Furious Supercars. Although Raw Thrills began developing and releasing these “Fast And Furious” games in 2006, Supercars is the most recent addition to the family. It features 10 incredible cars, like it’s predecessors, everything from a Dodge Viper SRT10 to a Saleen S7 Twin Turbo. That’s another thing that makes me love racing games right there, the modern ones feature some of the most incredible cars ever made. Although driving the car in the game is a stretch from the real experience, it’s a stretch in the most fun way possible. Another key difference between Supercars and those games that came before it is the number of races available. While the first Fast And Furious game had only 12 races, Supercars has 27 different racetracks for the driver to tear to shreds. The designer of the game is also the leader of Raw Thrills development studio, Eugene Jarvis. Jarvis originally developed pinball games in the late 1970s for Atari. Inspired by the release of Space Invaders, he sought out to design his own game. Almost thirty years later, he is developing and releasing some of the most incredible arcade games on the market.
The final virtual racing game of my post is truly a monster. GRID was released into the arcade world by SEGA in 2010. This game features 12 different insane automotive machines, everything from a Pagani Zonda to an Aston Martin DBR8. The car options alone might make this my favorite of all the games, though the player only has 8 different racing circuits to choose from. The screen on this game is 42”, basically the size of the average flat-screen living room TV. Even when up to 6 of these get linked together, everyone still gets their own 42” screen for game play. Plus, each cabinet also gets its own 2.1 digital sound system and sub woofer. The driver can even switch between auto and manual transmission, as well as several views of the car. So, if you wanted to play it with a Hard Drivin’ perspective, you could absolutely do that. I’m going to call it now. Of all the modern arcade racing games out there, this one is my favorite. Though some other games have more course options, GRID always draws me back with it’s encapsulating construction and fantastic car options. Really, any game that features a Pagani Zonda, that’s a game you’ve got to play.
Links to blogs about Racing games
Operationsports.com Racing Games Blog
Arcade Games From THE 90s
Johnsarcade.com Forum & Blog
Games Blog + Racing Games @ Guardian.co.uk
Itsgamingblog.com Top Racing Games
Play Racing Games Online For Free At The Following Sites
85play.com Racing Games
By Jeanne Longhorne
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It was really only a matter of time before a Lamborghini entered the ranks of my Super Speed Friday list. This particular post will take a look at the Lamborghini Aventador LP700.
The Lamborghini Aventador LP700
Unveiled in 2011, the Aventador was designed to be Laborghini’s new flagship car in their already impressive array of automotive excellence. To look at this car is to awed by it’s design. This Italian built coupe bears all the aerodynamic slickness one would expect from Lamborghini and the engine sounds like a sonic jet taking off down the road. The Aventador even has a start button that looks like a missile launch button straight from a “cold war” movie. Lamborghini typically has always put acceleration and speed at the forefront of their goals when designing and building new cars. However, with this new car they put control at the helm above these factors. While the Aventador can still achieve remarkable speeds, the handling has been noticeably improved. The praise resulting from this slight shift in priorities has been undeniable in the world of car reviews and has brought Laborghini’s brand to a new height.
With a top speed of 217mph, the Aventador can go from 0-60mph in under 3 seconds while producing an incredible 700hp. This super speed is produced by a 6.5litre V12 engine. The complexity and cost of the V12 primarily confine it to the sports and luxury car world. Lamborghini has numerous V12s throughout their catalog, though the Aventador contains only the second one built in-house. A single clutch 7-speed transmission by Graziano Transmissioni puts the driver in complete control, even able to accomplish gear shifts in less than 1/10th of a second. Lighting shifting for a lightning speed engine, even with a single clutch. Graziano is also the same gearbox manufacturing company that produced the 7 speed dual-clutch found in the McLaren MP4-12C.
The Aventador has three different custom driving options which each have pre set engine, steering, transmission, and differential adjustments. The driver can put the car in ‘Corsa’ (track setting), ‘Strada’ (road setting), or Sport, depending on personal preference and driving environment. A series of buttons on the center console make changing between these options very straightforward. Though this car achieves all the power one would expect from a Lamborghini, and then some, the single clutch shift and console design make it flush with “out of the box” functionality. The interior of the Aventador contains some of the most incredible displays and entertainment options ever seen in the world of sports cars. In addition to what I would call the “cold war missile launch” start button, there is an Audi-MMI based “infotainment” system with a great stereo, bluetooth connectivity, and full navigation gps built in.
All of these previous factors combined have resulted in a new height for Lomborghini automobiles. As a result, The Lamborghini Aventador LP700 is selling like crazy. Demand for the car is incredibly high and Lambo is pushing to increase it’s already impressive 600 units per year simply to get closer to meeting demand. Though, for an automotive powerhouse such as this, I think they may never truly catch up with that demand. You might just have to wait to drive one of the most incredible cars ever built.
Links to blogs about the Lamborghini Aventador LP700
Autoweek.com Video Blog
By Jeanne Longhorne
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7 Cars That Fly
With the media buzz surrounding the recent developments of the Terrafugia Transition, flying cars of the future are closer than ever before. Who wouldn’t want to skip every traffic light, stop sign, pothole, construction detour, and speed trap on your way to work in the morning? Growing up in Minnesota, I can think of many times when flying to work in the morning, instead of driving through the snow, would have made my life significantly less stressful. Not to mention how much easier my parents would have had it, could the moving trucks hover from place to place.
With all of that in mind, I took off across the Internet and found 7 cars that fly. This list is everything from designs still destined for production to actual working cars that can one day soon have you hovering over bumper to bumper traffic. When it comes to the future of the family automobile, hopefully where we’re going we don’t need roads.
The Honda Fuz-O
Let’s start with one that is at this time is just a design and a concept. Don’t discount this particular vehicle simply because it hasn’t entered production yet. The design of the Honda Fuz-O is quite realistic compared with other flying cars currently in production. The design revolves around 4 turbines that set the car in motion and also calls for the vehicle to be made from carbon fiber, thus making it super lightweight and requiring minimal power. The Fuz-O concept includes seating for three, while most other flying cars in design and production seat two people at most. I think the main appeal of this particular design is that the resulting vehicle is more of a hover car than a flying car. Imagine if you never had to shovel the driveway again, that could be a reality with a hover car design like the Fuz-O.
The Terrafugia Transition
Now let’s look at a flying car that may be on the road much sooner than you think. The Terrafugia Transition flying car was unveiled in 2012 and already has 100 pre-orders at $279,000 a piece. This “roadable airplane” can drive up to 70mph on the road with normal traffic and it’s folded dimensions are designed to fit inside the average size home garage. This model has a much more traditional airplane design to it. Since you will probably have to get a pilots license to operate a flying car of this sort, it is no surprise to me that there are only 100 orders so far. Although Terrafugia expects 2013 to be a great year for the Transition, they are still holding off on the actual street date for the time being.
The ParaJet SkyCar
The SkyCar is essentially a souped up dune buggy that acts as a massive paragliding machine, having a parafoil and parawing attached so that it will sustain flight level. It can take off in less than 500 feet and reach heights of over 2000 ft. Although this car is street legal, perhaps it’s best use is for having fun offroad. When I was growing up, my parents lived on a very large plot of land outside the city. My father got more and more into off road vehicles and hobbies over the years. He even went to far as to build a full off road course out behind the house. Since I had no brothers or sisters, I often rode with him. I wish we had one of these back then.
Yee Flying Car : SCUT students design the future.
While this one remains purely in a conceptual state, the YEE flying car is absolutely worth mentioning. I think with every new design the entire idea gets closer to reality. This car, which came from the minds of three South China University of Technology students, is an award winning design with a definite future in the vehicle marketplace. The wings fold in while driving on the road and are equipped with small wheels along their edges, keeping the wings smooth to the road and off the pavement. The designers envision the car “taking off” with business professionals who are forced by income restraints to live outside of town and need a quick way downtown. However, no retail price has been released for this vehicle, so that demographic may not be accurate.
Now here’s a car that’s straight out of a modern science fiction movie. The Hammerhead can take off and land vertically, unlike the Transition, and is described as being fast, safe, lightweight, and user friendly. The two forward fans on the vehicle can tilt for both thrust and lift. It also seats one person, which puts it in line behind several of the cars mentioned on this list. I think the first truly marketable flying car will need two seats to achieve commercial success. Although The Hammerhead may not be able to fit in your garage and is a few steps behind the other flying cars in production, it’s still a flying car and an incredibly cool looking one at that. My uncle has always been an X-Files fan and tried for years to convince me that aliens and flying saucers are real. I would absolutely love to one day land a Hammerhead in his backyard and see what happens.
The Moller M400 Skycar
Moller International has stepped into the flying car ring in a big way with their Skycar 400. This sports car looking “flying car” is capable of air speeds over 350mph and runs on ethanol. I also find this design particularly intriguing, as I’ve worked on many muscle cars in the past. This is one of the few flying cars that has a real street car look to it, and I think that will help push it towards commercial success. Moller takes a very pro active feel to their campaign, saying “No matter how you look at it the automobile is only an interim step in our evolutionary path to independence from gravity.” That is a very bold and confident statement coming from a company developing a flying automobile. I like companies that exude confidence and I am anxious to see where this particular project goes.
The Aerofex Hover Bike
Who says it has to be a flying “car”? Although motorcycles that fly might be a bit further off commercially than flying cars, hover bikes have taken a giant leap toward reality in the last couple years. Test flights for the Aerofex Hover Bike have not yet exceeded 30mph, which is still pretty good for a bike that requires no pedaling. Two large fans beneath the bike keep the rider up to 15ft off the ground. Not only does this particular vehicle cost less than any estimated flying car, it satisfies one of the greatest dreams of every single Star Wars fan out there. This looks like the closest you’re going to get to feeling like you’re zooming through the forests of Endor.
Links to blogs about Cars That Fly
Ubergizno.com Blog : Honda Fuz-O
The Car Enthusiast Online : Hibda Fuz-O
Wheels Blog NY Times : Terrafugia Transition
Redorbit.com Blog : Hammerhead
Caranddriver.com Blog : Moller Skycar
Blog.Makezine.Com : Aerofex Hoverbike
By Jeanne Longhorne
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