The games that shaped a generation: PS2

10. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
Polyphony Digital | SCEA | 2001

An ultra-realistic racing sim that, for many dedicated gearheads, still remains the definitive driving game

What made it so great?
No turbo boosts. No insane crashes. No fender-benders, even. And yet, despite the adrenaline-junkie image gamers are saddled with, Gran Turismo 3 remains the best-selling PS2 game worldwide. Why? Because GT3 delivers something few other games can: a chance to drive more than 150 high-performance, real-world cars that most players might not even see in real life, all as close the real thing as the technology allows.

GT3 was also the prettiest game most people had seen in 2001, with beautiful scenery and reflective cars that approached photorealism, but that's just the initial draw. GT3 played realistically as well, with each car performing almost exactly as it would in real life (even if they can't crash or get banged up). The game is also a veritable modder's paradise, and if you can earn enough credits, you can tinker with after-market parts and performance adjustments until your whip handles exactly the way you want it to. Even after nearly six years and a lackluster sequel, GT3 still rolls with the best as the gold standard in racing.

Get ready to play
Don't be turned off by GT3's initial slow pace - that'll be remedied as you upgrade to better and faster cars. In the meantime, though, each track's hairpin turns are your biggest enemies - hug the inside edge, learn to drift effectively and for God's sake stay on the asphalt, or your speed will drop like a rock. And if you really want to play this right, drop some bones on a decent steering wheel - the kind with force-feedback and pedals. You'll be glad you did.

Been there, done that?
With vast, open-ended cities, sick graphics, a ton of slick whips, and the tightest arcade gameplay (including online support) this side of Burnout, Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition's after-hours racing is the sickest around. Grab the Greatest Hits "Remix" version for added style.