There’s no substitute for driving some of the most desirable cars on the most notable courses in the world, but getting that opportunity only falls to a select few. For the rest of us, games like Forza 4 and GT5 are about as close to driving at such distinguished locations as the Nurburgring, Le Mans and Indianapolis Motor Speedway as we’ll ever get.
But video games aren’t nearly as cheesy as they used to be. Technology has evolved to the point where video game players can now really get a sense of driving at a certain location or being behind the wheel of a certain car thanks to computer generated images (CGI) that are becoming harder and harder to distinguish from real racing footage. Case in point; this video of The Stig driving a ‘60 Corvette around the Top Gear Test Track above. Check it out and tell us if it’s computer generated or could in fact be real.
Back in October when Forza 4 was released, we brought attention to the amazingly realistic graphics the racing simulator featured. Driving games have come a long way from their eight-bit origins alongside the original Pac Man, Pong and Duck Hunt, bringing racing enthusiasts the closest they’ve ever been to experiencing what it’s really like to drive some of the most famous cars and courses in existence.
But are extremely realistic simulations feeding the market to expect more exciting “real” footage of cars and racecourses?
Now don’t get us wrong – real race footage is very exciting but video games can make collisions, traffic, competition and even stunts more intense than what really goes on at the track. If you’ve ever been to any racing event, you know that while there’s plenty of action to be had, there are also slower periods during the event. So are video games ruining the sanction of real car events?
Take, for example, Ken Block’s Gymkhana videos. Although the footage is real in these videos, they are pieced together from multiple takes and carefully choreographed. While some would say these sorts of videos are more real than video game racing simulations, you could argue otherwise. They are both, in all actuality, staged to give viewers the best experience without showing mistakes, bad runs or lulls in action. Yet, true-to-life or not, they remain very popular on popular video players like YouTube.
So while you’re watching this video of “The Stig” navigating his way around what looks to be Forza’s TopGear Test Track, which is so realistic you can even hear camera handling noise, ponder if such simulated footage takes away from the experience of an actual race. And keep in mind, every bit of this Corvette-thrashing video was made possible not because of a talented driver or a potent car, but because of a tech-savy graphic artist.