RIDE And The Mainstream Allure of Simulator Games

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Are there other people out there who enjoy just looking at hardcore simulation games, or dipping their toes into them, despite probably never having the dedication required to fully explore all their nuances? I feel like there might be people who feel this way about Gran TurismoProject CARSArmA, or any number of flight simulators.

This intermediate attraction is what has me taking a look at RIDE from the guys who’ve been making all the MotoGP games. Apparently this is Milestone S.r.l.’s first original motorcycle simulator. I’ve actually had a slight interest in motorcycle racing simulators in particular for years now, but I don’t now when I’ll ever fully dive into one again.

Back in 2006 for some reason I decided to buy Polyphony Digital’s Tourist Trophy for the PS2. That game is basically Gran Turismo 4 on two wheels, but somehow I got completely sucked into it. The first menu screen of the game immediately intimidated me, and at first I couldn’t keep my bike on the road for more than a few seconds, but eventually it turned out to be one of those hardcore games I stuck with and began to actually learn. I didn’t thoroughly beat the game or use it to actually learn how to race motorcycles, but I got to a point where I could actually complete races and appreciate the skills required to win them.

One thing that stuck with me from Tourist Trophy was the whole “slow in, fast out” lesson that seems to be a cornerstone of motorcycle racing (or maybe all motor sports). More importantly, I was actually able to import my driving style into whatever MotoGP game I briefly tried in the years since. I always imagined picking one to actually get serious with one day.

As far as RIDE goes I’ve basically only completed one race in the demo, which only has one quick race (and not even a tutorial), and that’s with the driving line turned on. Still, it seems like a robust product that’s getting good reception prior to release from what I can tell. It’s fairly impressive from a visual standpoint as well, suggesting a GTX 780 to run on PC.

That’s actually one reason I like simulation games — they tend to be at the forefront of realistic graphics. Simulators have always been one of the most obvious applications for software, so it’s natural they continually push the bleeding edge. The PS1 Gran Turismo games are early examples of simulators actually trying to achieve natural lighting that tries to emulate real life instead of a Hollywood movie. I feel like that’s gone into overdrive with a lot of recent simulators like ArmA or The Golf Club. They’re some of the only games that actually try to put you in real places. On top of that many of them tend to have a clean, sleek production design. That’s definitely part of the identity of Gran Turismo, and RIDE seems to be attempting a similar feel.

The free-form aspect of some simulators is probably a draw too. Compared to most shooters ArmA gives you an extreme amount of control over how you get through missions. Racing simulators are all about tuning cars as deeply as possible and testing them in various situations. Flight simulators are very much about exploration.

So far though, ArmA is the only simulator game that’s gotten 100-plus hours out of me, possibly because it offers the most player freedom and tries to simulate the broadest variety of things: on foot fighting, boats, helicopters, tanks, etc. Maybe one day I’ll pick a game that laser focuses on one of those things. People are already throwing me suggestions for tank simulators.

BULLETS:

  • Some of Nintendo’s eShop games like Pushmo or that baseball game are probably decent indicators of what it might try on mobile.
  • Personally, I’m down for God of War III on PS4. Maybe not at $40 but eventually. Favorite GOW game for some reason.
  • So an Apple TV with the app store is finally coming. I still think there’s a chance game development could snowball on the thing, turning Apple into a force to be reckoned with in the console space.http://t.co/FH2XPIFyYD
  • VR in the courtroom. http://t.co/tA1ngMDPTP
  • Looks like the approach of Google Fiber is already affecting internet speeds and prices in Raleigh.
  • That new brawler coming out for the Genesis/Mega Drive. http://t.co/UE1OYPYsA8
  • Good interview on Valve’s policies. http://t.co/FzCMHT9F11
  • Another good explanation on why and when Valve decides to make games. http://t.co/HGTlBt3iY4
  • Hideki Naganuma mixtape. http://t.co/YMzgnjqzFV
  • Impressive skyline photography. https://t.co/2fmVP9EnGw
  • Badass of the Week: Deborah Sampson. http://t.co/MLQ7rSX6br
  • I didn’t realize Sho Kosugi’s Revenge of the Ninja is coming to Blu-Ray in May.
  • Grammarnoir 7. http://t.co/zSJjQGzXRR
  • Interesting Steam Early Access game — a grid-based sci-fi RPG. http://t.co/CCwH9uAYjf
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