Gran Designs - Day one: Gran Turismo

: May 1998
Cars: 178
Tracks: 15 tracks
Music: Ash, Feeder, Garbage
Average eBay price: $5.10

So, thinking about it, if you want to thank anyone for starting the whole Gran Turismo ball rolling, thank series creator Kazunori Yamauchi’s dad. Yamauchi senior did a lot of driving for his work, and luckily enough happened to do all his driving in a fancy Nissan Skyline. Lucky daddy. Often, little three-year-old Kazunori would go with him, spending hours in the car. Probably fidgeting and getting chocolate on the seat, but that’s not the point. Yamauchi grew up loving cars. So after cutting his teeth in the games world by making Motor Toon Grand Prix on PSone, he got serious.

His vision of Gran Turismo is not that it’s a mere game. It is a “Real Driving Simulator” according to Yamauchi, one that aimed to replace simple arcade handling and fantasy tracks with realism. Proper cars. Proper places. Proper driving tests and proper steering thanks to its required PlayStation enhancement.

When GT arrived on PlayStation it brought with it an exciting new thing - the Dual Shock analog controller. It wasn’t quite the same as driving with a steering wheel, clutch and fully functional set of windscreen wipers and horn, but it was miles better than the crappy old D-pad control system of racing games past.

Now you could turn a little bit. You could hold a curve. You could panic and massively oversteer, or you could gently bump an enemy car slightly off line. You could feel the road like never before, and that’s why a whole new generation of drivers deserted the robotic control of Ridge Racer and moved over to the unpredictable feel of Gran Turismo.


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