History of dangerous driving in videogames


FlatOut - 2004

The name would suggest a certain degree of recklessness, wouldn’t it? FlatOut isn’t quite as pedal to the metal as Burnout, but it does have one thing that that series never dared go near. Yup - the drivers can be thrown through the windshield of their vehicles and out onto the track, ready to be run over by everyone else.

You would be right to point out that there were minigames that saw you trying to throw your driver the farthest, and while they were admittedly fun, I still believe seeing it happen during the race itself was more awesome.

The way the limp body’s ragdoll effects let it wrap itself around tree trunks and parked JCBs was one of those scenes of such grotesque suffering, you just had to watch, even though your mind told you to look away. It’s something that PSN title PAIN stole for its sole gameplay mechanic, but it was great in FlatOut just as a side-note.

It’s also worth noting that FlatOut was one of the first racing games to litter its trackside with thousands of physics objects. Stacks of logs, individually-modelled tyres in the tyre walls - even some shop fronts in the city could be driven through with reckless abandon - and it would all be there just as you left it (unless someone else had done the same thing in your absence) the next lap.

Above: This is from the Xbox 360 sequel, but every version of FlatOut has similar carnage at every turn


MotorStorm - 2006

The original Motorstorm is one of the most perilous racers you can buy. Racing along on the side of huge ravines, taking blind jumps and passing within centimeters of jutting boulders is great when it's going well, but soon gets frustrating, especially as one small mistake will see the rest of the field come flying past, rarely to be seen again.

But the thing that encourages you to drive the most dangerously is the boost mechanic. It’s great - you can just hold down the 'go faster' button and rocket along at a zillion miles per hour. Ah, but there’s a snag. It’s basically a bomb waiting to explode. Using boost heats up your engine. Push it too far and it literally explodes, sending your hapless racer flying through the air and trying the very latest brand of muddy face pack. Filled with plenty of exfoliating teeth, no doubt.

Above: Dangerous driving? No, officer - my car is meant to be airbourne. Yes, I'll come quietly

This risk/reward mechanic is superb. Do you slow down and let your engine cool, or keep blipping the throttle on the very edge of control? We’d go for the latter - especially as every MotorStorm racer knows you HAVE to cross the line while halfway through exploding yourself. Anything less than a flaming finish is a loss. Right?

23 Feb, 2011

By the way, if you like dangerous driving and reckon you've got crazy MotorStorm skills, don't forget to enter our MotorStorm Apocalypse competition where you could win a Sony Bravia 3D TV, Sony PS3 games and even a trip to E3!


Gaming car crashes through the ages
VIDEO: Over 20 years of smash-ups in one place



The best handheld conversions of all time
Brilliant games that shouldn't have even been possible



The Pikmin suicides
Cute little Pikmin who just don't want to live any more


  • JBizFoShiz - February 23, 2011 10:37 a.m.

    Thank you for including MSR on your list. Few people know of its existence (it was a Dreamcast game, after all), but I wasted countless hours perfecting slides and getting as much kudos as I could. If I remember right, my favorite car was the Toyota Celica - its small-size and nice horsepower led to some exciting races with LOTS of kudos-earning slides. However, no love for Demolition Racer? Sure, I know Carmageddon, Death Race and the like did it better (arguably), but this was the first game in my personal gaming history that allowed me to KILL a driver by landing my car on top of his car. This kill was named "Death from Above", and was the hardest kill to get in any race. The purpose of the game was not to only cross the finish line, but also kill everybody else so you were the only one to cross PERIOD. I personally miss causing a car to spin out and hitting it perfectly perpendicular, causing the driver to die and earning me the "T-Boned" kill. I can't be the only one who remembers this game! I'm not even a driving game fan. reCaptcha: Hunewse Journal "Who news journal?"
  • requiemforaseam - February 23, 2011 10:38 a.m.

    Burnout 3...ahhhhh the nostalgia. Also, FIRST!!!
  • Landshark - February 23, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    I think a possible cool premise for a car racing game would be a co-op versus game in which each car hold 2-4 people, each doing a certain task. Someone is the driver, another does repairs through nifty little retro 8-bit games, someone is co-pilot controlling what radio station/CD is on which give different stat boosts depending on the station/cd and firing a light weapon, and then the main gunner just letting their enemies eat lead. They then either try to kill other teams, capture the flag, kill the most zombies, or whatever. Yeah, it might suck due to lack of cooperation or it's just a bad idea. But this seemed like as good a place as any to talk about it.
  • Landshark - February 23, 2011 10:41 a.m.

    ^Can we report when people claim to be first but aren't?
  • b1on1cman - February 23, 2011 11 a.m.

    Carmageddon was first released in 1997 and not in 1993, as computers weren't strong enough to run this game in 1993. It also had 3Dfx support which came out around 1996 if i'm not mistaken. As for the other platforms, such as Playstation and N64, it was released even later in the decade (1999 and 2000).
  • NeelEvil - February 23, 2011 11:12 a.m.

    @Landshark- I usually do, especially if it's a one sentence statement with barely anything to do with the article just so they can claim first. No love for Postman Prat on the Spectrum? Those were the days, running over cats & old ladies. Never seemed to actually deliver any post though.
  • Goug - February 23, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    I remember playing Road Rash, there's no way it was that ugly! In my memories, it was looking way better than that. I wouldn't mind a new Carmageddon, the driving and damages were really good, in the 2nd one. TDR 2000 was not bad, rather nice looking with nice handling, but more depressing than funny to play.
  • Montag - February 23, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    I urge everybody to try Deathchase even now. Totally awesome game when first released, still a challenge... go Speccie
  • Montag - February 23, 2011 12:22 p.m.

    Oh and did you know the original driver only had right angled corners, no curves?
  • Robx - February 23, 2011 12:27 p.m.

    We could be very good friends, Justin, oh yes...
  • yonderTheGreat - February 23, 2011 12:40 p.m.

    STUNNING CUNT BONUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (for those not in the know, that's what the "cunning stunt bonus" in Carmageddon was referred to as... I'm assuming I won't get put in a time-out for that?)
  • willheuer - February 23, 2011 12:59 p.m.

    Im a little surprised Bump 'n Jump was left out, i realize its for the Intelivision but its like the first Burnout.
  • BeerBaron - February 23, 2011 2:33 p.m.

    Would love to see a remake of the old C64 Racing Destruction Set.
  • YuGiOhisbetterthanMagic - February 23, 2011 2:45 p.m.

    I loved rouge squadron. even the on foot parts were epic. I really with they would make another one.
  • Japanaman - February 23, 2011 3:27 p.m.

    Seriously? You guys TOTALLY FAIL to mention Twisted Metal, Super Runabout (AKA Felony 11-79), Auto Destruct, Full Auto, Saints Row, GTA, Mario Kart, Crash Nitro Kart, Speed Punks, Mod Nation Racers, Street Racers, Hard Drivin', Race Drivin', Chase HQ, Spy Hunter, Bump N Jump, Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer, Motorcross Mania, Dirt, Fuel, Rush 2049, Outrun, Roadblasters, Star Wars Racing (or whatever it was called), Narc (the Arcade game), Mach Rider, MechWarrior/Assault, and every vehicle based military game ever made.
  • Japanaman - February 23, 2011 3:28 p.m.

    Of course, I totally failed to mention Vigilante 8 and Rogue Trip.
  • Sy87 - February 23, 2011 3:50 p.m.

    They do need to make a new Carmageddon. Whats funner than running people over? Can you blame me for wanting to destroy stuff most of the drivers to day are annoying. They either want to drive too fast or go to slow under the limit. Or they rush for a queque stop in front of you that they could have just taken behind you it saves them like no time. Anyway car destroying game is needed. Something cool like driver mix with twisted metal and gta(without the whole criminal activity stuff and all just road rage relief).
  • gazdog9 - February 23, 2011 4:02 p.m.

    Ha ! I'd almost forgotten Deathchase on my old 16K Spectrum. That's right kids , back in the old days this was considered cutting edge . I remember that game giving me a blinding headache. The colours man, so many colours
  • BurntToShreds - February 23, 2011 4:56 p.m.

    What does .06 pounds mean? Do you guys still use pences?
  • bass88 - February 23, 2011 6:12 p.m.

    Twisted Metal? Dangerous driving was encouraged. Even the manual told you not to feel discouraged when running down pedestrians. Nice list however.

Showing 1-20 of 30 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000


Connect with Facebook

Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.