History of dangerous driving in videogames

Carmageddon - 1993

The game arrived at a time when polygonal 3D was just taking off, and allowed a fully 3D environment. The graphics look pretty shocking these days, but back when it was released in 1993, Carmageddon was a genuinely sick game to own - especially as it let you edit together replay movies.

Dangerous driving wasn’t just encouraged - it was the point of the game. Sure, you could win just by being first over the line, but destorying every single rival racer was equally worthy of the trophy. And how about mowing down every single pedestrian in the city? That’ll do too.

The game had everything - damage modelling, girls, gore... only problem is, I can’t look at this picture any more without thinking of suicidal Pikmin...

Above: What kind of person drives a car along a beachfront, deliberately running over sunbathers?

Driver - 1999

You're probably expecting Grand Theft Auto III to make an appearance on this list, but if you're talking about the history of dangerous driving, there's one game that taught GTA almost everything it knows: Driver. The 1999 original did everything that GTA III did a couple of years later, only minus the bloodshed and without the ability to leave your car (and even the sequel did that after GTA's epic arrival in the 3D age).

The idea behind the game was always meant to be that you were a criminal getaway driver (which the name implies if you think about it), but developer Reflections soon realised it would make for a more universal game if you were an undercover cop. Thing is, the police are still out to get you, as though nobody told them about your covert operation.

The result are some of the most daring driving sequences in any game. Darting in and out of traffic with PSone's slightly clumsy physics and scenery pop-up was amazing fun as you tried to shake the cops. If I had a dime for every white picket fence I smashed through... I could probably afford the iPhone version.

The icing on the cake was the director mode (something that's sorely missing from the iPhone release), which allowed you to not only watch replays, but save them to memory card. better yet, you could position the cameras! With careful frame-by-frame manipulation, you could even add tracking shots that pulled up and away from the car. Thankfully, the end results looked exactly like a 70s car chase movie, so it was worth all those 'wasted' hours.

Above: Yup, set the camera, advance one frame, select static camera, direction, advance one frame...

Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine, Traxion.gg, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.