Tokyo Drifting or podracing? Five racing game adaptions of some of the most popular movies.
Photo credit: Nintendo
Have you ever been sitting in the cinema, watching a nail-biting racing blockbuster with a hot high-speed pursuit and thought “I wish I could sit behind this wheel”? Traffic rules and laws might prevent a real-life reenactment, but luckily, the virtual realm offers a perfectly safe digital highway to relive the racing action.
To dive once again into your favorite movie, some publishers took on the task to create an entire game surrounding these fictional worlds where you can pilot the speedy vehicles yourself.
Fast and Furious
The Fast and the Furious arguably counts as the most popular racing movie franchise ever – which becomes clear when taking a look at the list of over ten movies, additional spin-offs and TV shows. The 2006 movie Tokyo Drift was accompanied by a same-named game for PlayStation 2 from publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment.
In Tokyo Drift, players can race on the Shuto Expressway or on mountain roads and complete drift competitions or classic races. Following the general setting of the movie, the game also features a range of licensed cars from Japanese manufacturers. Car dealerships and tuning shops await along the roads to pimp rides.
Bandai Namco continued their F&F games and recently published Fast & Furious Crossroads on 7 August. The game is based on the movie Fast & Furious 9 and had to be delayed due to COVID-19.
Star Wars Episode 1: Racer
“Now this is pod racing!” Anakin Skywalker knows what’s exciting and the podracing sequence in Star Wars: Episode I is one of the most iconic scenes in the franchise. Naturally, developer LucasArts was quick to give young Padawans a chance to compete in the intergalactic race as well, as they released Star Wars Episode 1: Racer in 1999.
Nintendo polished the oldie to release it for their console Nintendo Switch in June 2020. The game lets you choose between different characters including Anakin, the reigning champion Sebulba or the tiniest podracer Ratts Tyerell and offers different circuits which are set on well-known worlds such as Tatooine or Baroonda.
Days of Thunder
Crossing racing movies with games is not a new concept as we could already see with the previous titles, but Days of Thunder is proof of its popularity. In 1990, the NASCAR racing simulation followed the same-name movie starring Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. As the game was released on several platforms, for example PC, NES and Game Boy, there have been several publishers working on the project.
Days of Thunder received an official license from Paramount Pictures, which enabled the developer to base their graphics, plot and soundtrack on the original movie. As it follows the direction of a simulation, the game consists of tasks to set up the car, qualify and then complete the actual race – it even featured a damage model.
Death Race: The Game
Death Race has a long history of games inspiring movies and vice-versa. In 1975, the first movie under this title entered the cinemas. The film is set in a dystopian universe where a group of drivers has to challenge each other in a crazy, violent race in futuristic cars all over the USA. In the film, a resistance group aims to overthrow the government, but the story was basically ignored in the first game adaption.
The video game hit the arcades in 1976 and caused quite some controversy as the goal was to run over pedestrians with a car. Sequels followed, and in 2008 a new movie named Death Race was created. Naturally, another video game followed which is playable on mobile phones. The game is no longer limited to only one mechanic and now features the entire range of tasks, from crashing, a story, different vehicles and even weapons.
Cars 3: Driven to Win
Which movie comes immediately to mind when thinking about cars? Probably Cars. The first movie grossed over $462,000,000 worldwide, so of course, sequels followed – as well as video games. The third episode spawned the game Cars 3: Driven to Win in 2017. It is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
It is the first game surrounding a Disney movie that got published by Warner Bros. and offers several game modes, such as a traditional race, a battle mode with weapons, a sandbox mode and different challenges.
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