Have Sim Racers Forgotten How To Have Fun?

Have Sim Racers Forgotten How To Have Fun Kart Truck.png
Why are we into sim racing? The reasons tend to differ from person to person, but the core is the same for most: It is fun to us being able to blast around virtual circuits in cars that we likely will never have the chance to go near to in our lives. However, it does seem like sim racers can be quite a negative bunch - have we forgotten how to have fun?

The very nature of racing and therefore sim racing probably enforces focusing on the negatives: Where can I improve, what can I do better to find a few more tenths to be on the front row? How to eliminate mistakes? Everyone wants to improve when behind the wheel, be it in a real car or in a sim racing rig.

We are lucky that there are so many high-quality choices available. Competitive-minded racers will likely have a good time in iRacing or Assetto Corsa Competizione, while those who enjoy historical content or unusual combinations are more likely to feel at home in Automobilista 2, rFactor 2 or Assetto Corsa - especially the latter two if mods are a big part of your enjoyment.

Even super-serious iRacing competition has its comedic moments - like the customary jump at The Chase at the end of basically every race at Bathurst.

Put Down the Pitchforks​

The point is: Everyone can pretty much race the way they like with the options available otday. And yet, for a significant portion of sim racers, it seems like part of the hobby is being negative about things, especially other simulations. Any time an update for any sim is released, there will be naysayers that criticize everything there is to a title. This does not mean those who constructively point out certain elements that are not to their liking, but rather those who bring out the pitchforks no matter what.

Is this rooted in a "my sim is better than your sim" approach? Possibly for some, but it could also be a result of expectations being unrealistically high or not considering what kind of racer a title is aimed at - we tend to forget that we are a bit of a niche.

Then there is the factor of realism - very few of us have ever raced the cars we are trying to judge from our rigs' racing seats or desk setups. If a certain sim or combination of car and track in a sim are enjoyable to sim racers, do they even have to be realistic to the finest detail?

Have Sim Racers Forgotten How To Have Fun DPi Rallycross.png

Hangtime in a DPi on a Rallycross course? Don't mind if I do!

Of course, by the very definition of a racing simulation, getting as close as possible to the real thing is the end goal. But in the end, the beauty of sim racing is that we can on one hand portray real competitions in a virtual space as close to their real counterparts as ever, while on the other hand, we can also race rental karts against racing trucks if we desire - or countless other silly combinations we can think of.

Enjoy What You Like​

We should not let the concept of realism get in the way of our fun. Yes, we can and should expect developers to strive for it, but does it really matter if there was slightly less slip angle than there should have been in some corners when you just finished a great, close race with a bunch of friends in one of your leagues? I think not.

It was the Viper Racing retrospective that got the ball rolling on this thought. The title took itself seriously, trying to get the driving physics as close to a realistic level as possible, and did so remarkably for 1998. Still, the developers implemented fun options like the horn ball or the wheelie button - could you imagine the outcry if a developer put something like this in their sim today?

Enjoy what you like in your sim rig - that means the simulation of your choice, the type of car, track or competition, and do not bother what others migth think about your favorites. If it is fun for you, that is all that matters.

Your Thoughts​

Do you think we take our hobby too seriously sometimes? What are your favorite things to do to lighten up your sim racing life? Let us know in the comments below!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

Who says you cannot put a F1 car on rallycross track? That's what's cool with sim racing games like AC - you can put any car on any track, even if it's not suitable to it. It's your game, you decide in what and where you gonna drive, have fun, enjoy your game, and dont care what other will say. Some people just treat sim-racing games too seriously. It's still just a game to take you away from real world.
 
Let me think.

  1. Endless online fights about the "best" sim
  2. Endless online fights about the "best' pedals
  3. Endless online fights about the "best" base units
  4. Endless online fights during online races
  5. Rage quitting
  6. Endless online fights about the best development engine
  7. Endless online fights about VR or triple screens

Naw, we are pretty chill. :whistling:
 
Exactly why I dropped almost all multiplayer activities in racing games and just focus on single player experience, too much bs around the community debating how we should play our "games". Not to mention it's nearly impossible to have any actual good racing with random people when you just wanted to relax and not deal with leagues and such.

Well, I'll just mod the sheep out of my game and have fun myself.
 
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Let me think.

  1. Endless online fights about the "best" sim
  2. Endless online fights about the "best' pedals
  3. Endless online fights about the "best" base units
  4. Endless online fights during online races
  5. Rage quitting
  6. Endless online fights about the best development engine
  7. Endless online fights about VR or triple screens

Naw, we are pretty chill. :whistling:
You see, the main problem is online. That's why I drive offline most of the time.
 
Certain people around here enjoy complaining as a hobby, and think their *opinion* is the only valid one. It will never change, lol.

I’m old enough to have gone through some pretty dry periods when we had maybe 1 or 2 sims. We really are spoiled now
 
Since I stopped organizing simracing, and lower driving I rated online races, I'm taking back pleasure by driving against AI and sometimes against some friends in small group.
I forgot that I drive first for pleasure, not for competition.
People focus too much for competition (especially when there is no cash prise, why guys ?!), not for pleasure to play.
 
Certain people around here enjoy complaining as a hobby, and think their *opinion* is the only valid one. It will never change, lol.

I’m old enough to have gone through some pretty dry periods when we had maybe 1 or 2 sims. We really are spoiled now
You keep saying we are "spoiled" now.

We were spoiled when we had the choice between Rf1, GTR2, Race 07, Grand prix Legends, F1 challange, GP4, Netkar Pro, live for speed, NR2003, Richard Burns Rally, GTR Evo and i am sure i am forgetting some. Then we were spoiled, all great games that WORKED, and werent riddled with game breaking issues. Not perfect, but way more polished and accomplished than the few we have now to pick.

Simracing has gone backwards.
 
For me, the fun in games, not only simracing, is competition. I dont play any singleplayer games, or very rarely… im only interested in online competition and my own improvement. Yes, its frustrating to drive the same track every evening alone dozens of times only to find a second or two over time. But thats the only thing that keeps me playing. I race on ACC and without leagues or LFM, i wouldnt have much fun at all.

So once more, it is very individual, but there are actually peoples who enjoy exactly that, and theres many of them. :)
 
Since I stopped organizing simracing, and lower driving I rated online races, I'm taking back pleasure by driving against AI and sometimes against some friends in small group.
I forgot that I drive first for pleasure, not for competition.
People focus too much for competition (especially when there is no cash prise, why guys ?!), not for pleasure to play.
I know what you mean, almost every league out there has one or two try hard lifeless guys that do all the winning. In ISO we do our utmost to stiffle that by giving them slower cars, or by introducing real life variable conditions with tire temp sensitivity or reliability. When those guys see that they can't just win out of the gate, they just stop showing up altogether. Guys like don't want to race or have fun, they only care about winning.
 
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I lately found my way from Simracing into Forza Horizon 5. What for, FOR FUN!
Found out that the game is not that bad in regards of simulation once you turn some helpers off and use a wheel. Staying in the competion that way is hard though, but thats only optional anyway in FH5.
 
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You keep saying we are "spoiled" now.

We were spoiled when we had the choice between Rf1, GTR2, Race 07, Grand prix Legends, F1 challange, GP4, Netkar Pro, live for speed, NR2003, Richard Burns Rally, GTR Evo and i am sure i am forgetting some. Then we were spoiled, all great games that WORKED, and werent riddled with game breaking issues. Not perfect, but way more polished and accomplished than the few we have now to pick.

Simracing has gone backwards.

This is largely rose-tinted glasses and these sims are a product of their times.
Expectations in all departments have massively increased, simracers a tad more nitpicky, and sim hardware nothing like 15 years ago.
 
Nice article Yannick. I'm too worried about how I'm gonna stay on the lead lap now and not about how much fun I'm having. This has started since I've started online. I really liked iracing for a week maybe. I haven't done it in a couple of weeks. It's not fun. I'm going to think about differently now, I hope
 
Let me think.

  1. Endless online fights about the "best" sim
  2. Endless online fights about the "best' pedals
  3. Endless online fights about the "best" base units
  4. Endless online fights during online races
  5. Rage quitting
  6. Endless online fights about the best development engine
  7. Endless online fights about VR or triple screens

Naw, we are pretty chill. :whistling:
Let us not forget those who wish that "unrealistic car/track combos" should not even be allowed by the sims themselves
 
This is largely rose-tinted glasses and these sims are a product of their times.
Expectations in all departments have massively increased, simracers a tad more nitpicky, and sim hardware nothing like 15 years ago.
Its not rose tinted glasses. I was an adult already playing those games, and i am an adult playing the ones we have now. There is no comparison about the amount of features, polish and solidity of the games then compared to now.
 
Its not rose tinted glasses. I was an adult already playing those games, and i am an adult playing the ones we have now. There is no comparison about the amount of features, polish and solidity of the games then compared to now.
It's quite baffling how little steps we have made forward regarding to gameplay in these games, heck, in many areas we actually fell backward in sacrifice for the never ending pursuit of the so called "graphic fidelity", a blackhole that eats infinite resource and time during development just for the sake of having a prettier skin.

Seriously, stop it, games nowadays already look way more than good enough, focus on ironing out issues and improve core-gameplays and features, please.
 
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You keep saying we are "spoiled" now.

We were spoiled when we had the choice between Rf1, GTR2, Race 07, Grand prix Legends, F1 challange, GP4, Netkar Pro, live for speed, NR2003, Richard Burns Rally, GTR Evo and i am sure i am forgetting some. Then we were spoiled, all great games that WORKED, and werent riddled with game breaking issues. Not perfect, but way more polished and accomplished than the few we have now to pick.

Simracing has gone backwards.
I guess my first paragraph also applies here.

Those sims you mentioned, sure all great in their own time. but few overlapped like our current generation sims. Accessing them is easier through steam, we get more content in the form of DLC, online platforms that just couldn’t exist back then.

But I guess your *opinion* is the only one that matters… back to the loop of disagreements we go.
 
I guess my first paragraph also applies here.

Those sims you mentioned, sure all great in their own time. but few overlapped like our current generation sims. Accessing them is easier through steam, we get more content in the form of DLC, online platforms that just couldn’t exist back then.

But I guess your *opinion* is the only one that matters… back to the loop of disagreements we go.
They overlapped in gameplay era. I was playing all of them in the late 00s.

Grand prix legends was 10 years old in 2008. Tell me how old are AC and rf2 now?... And before you say "modding and dx11", even GPL had a lot of modding and the game graphically was a lot prettier in 2008 than it was in 1998.

"DLC" is a pale comparison with the hordes of mods we had back then, for free even.
 
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Its not rose tinted glasses. I was an adult already playing those games, and i am an adult playing the ones we have now. There is no comparison about the amount of features, polish and solidity of the games then compared to now.

That's why herds of 2023 simracers are flocking to these older sims I suppose, since they represent the golden pinnacle of sim racing. And these older sims were absolutely perfect on day one with zero bugs of course.
I get it that these sims were good for their era, put there's a lot of nostalgia attached to them.
It is still miraculous that new sims get made at all, given how difficult it is to satisfy modern crowds (that will be angry at sims and sim developers anyway) and the small niche that simracing represents.
 
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