The first true racing game dates back to 1973 when the Atari’s Space Race was released and allowed gamers to take control of a spaceship and race the other player across the screen.
Regardless of what era and console they are on, racing games have always been incredibly popular with the mainstream audience.
Some of these racing games went on to launch successful franchises, and here are the best 5 in our opinion:
Crash Team Racing
First Release: 1999
Number of Releases: 4
Best game in the Franchise: Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
Even though CTR never reached the popularity of Mario Kart, it still made waves on the PlayStation as Crash himself is Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s Mario.
All games in the franchise boast a colourful cast of beloved characters, to add with the multiple entertaining items you can pick up and throw at your friends. CTR’s latest release remastered the original 1999 classic while also adding new characters, tracks and cosmetic items to the mix.
First Release: 2005
Number of Releases: 13
Best game in the Franchise: Forza Horizon 4
A much more realistic approach to racing games, the Forza series has been a flagship franchise for Xbox Consoles for years. Starting relatively late, the first few Forza titles were your standard racing games, but the series really took off with its sister-series, Forza Horizon.
Opting to no longer limit gamers to racing around race tracks, Forza Horizon gives its players a huge open world to explore and race around with friends.
Need for Speed
First Release: 1994
Number of Releases: 24
Best game in the Franchise: Need for Speed: Most Wanted
With its sheer volume and variety of games, Need for Speed manages to mostly offer something different with each of its releases. Ask any Need for Speed fan for their favourite game from the franchise and their answer might vary from Most Wanted to Hot Pursuit or Rivals.
Most Need for Speed games surprisingly offer a pretty good story mode with the usual assortment of customisation and unlockables.
First Release: 1992
Number of Releases: 14
Best game in the Franchise: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
If we’re going solely by which game is the most fun, Mario Kart would easily take first place. Beating Need for Speed by a small margin, the Mario Kart franchise is the best-selling racing game franchise with a whopping 152.03 million units sold.
Mario Kart games offer a wide variety of customisation, great track design and a roster of everyone’s favourite Mario characters. Throughout the years, Mario Kart has garnered a reputation of having the ability to end friendships just from one friendly race.
First Release: 1997
Number of Releases: 8
Best game in the Franchise: Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
Gran Turismo titles are known for their remarkable graphics and authentic gaming experience. All entries up to the latest one have been met with both critical and commercial success. This franchise offers a realistic and accurate driving experience with its real-world cars and their real specs.
Gran Turismo has been a worldwide hit with PlayStation owners as it has easily become Sony’s highest selling franchise of all time.
If you are ever looking for a realistic racing game with dozens of tracks hundreds of cars and an excellent career mode, look no further than the Gran Turismo series.
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