So Gran Turismo 5 has been on the market for a few months now and as you can see from my review here on the site, my initial thoughts on the game were more than positive as the game was pretty much everything I had been waiting on. The game is still just as playable now as it was upon it’s release and I have completed the majority of the single player races and championships, other than a few nine hour plus endurance races and a couple of twenty-four hour events. These events will of course be completed in time, but to race these endurance events I really do need to be in the mood for them. So where do I go now that I have exhausted those? Like many other people, I take it online.
Of course there are the regular online races which do make up the bulk of the online gaming, and quite rightly so as they are a great source of enjoyment. It was within this gaming community that I met a like-minded group of gamers who were soon added to my friends list and we enjoyed many a great race, taking it in turns between the four or five of us to choose a track, number of laps and horsepower limit before going on to race. Although these races are the meat and bones of the online fun, when you are feeling like something a little different it is left up to your own imagination. And so, with the same group of friends from the usual racing, we came up with a few fun challenges and games that we like to play within the game. I would like to go into detail of these little games, so that you can all try them out yourselves.
The first is based on a real life day out at numerous racing tracks around the world, that of The Track Day where car owners can take their own vehicles out on the track and drive them a little faster than they normally would within a controlled environment. This one is as simple as joining the game, and then choosing any car from your garage before heading onto the track, usually always the Top Gear Test track which is the circuit we use for all of our games, and then seeing who can set the fastest time of the day. This one really is self explanatory and is not that huge a leap from the races themselves, only it is a little more relaxed as it is the other players times we are trying to beat rather than the players themselves. It’s only when we move onto the next little game that we came up with that things get just a little more boisterous.
So the first one is nothing special and is more than likely something that many other people playing GT5 have done with their friends also. But from there we would decide things would descend into chaos as during our timed laps, the bashing and ramming would become more and more prevalent and someone in the group would suggest a game of Tag. In general it would not take much to persuade everyone to join in and generally the person with the slowest time from the previous laps would be given the oh so fun task of being “it” first. This quite simply involved the player designated “it” trying to chase down and hit other players cars. Once those players are tagged, they then join the hunt for the remaining players on the run.
The third game we would play like the last is based very much on an old school playground game, that of British Bulldog. This game followed the same basic rules of tag apart from the fact that only the main straight way of the track is open for play and begins again with one player designated “it”, or in this case “the Bulldog”, and sitting in a starting position centre of the straight with all other players lining up at one end. Once the game begins the players attempt to run from one safe zone, located at either end of the runway, to the other with the bulldog trying to catch them anywhere in between. As players are caught, they in turn become Bulldogs themselves and join in the hunt for the remaining runners. When it eventually came down to the last remaining runner, the game would turn into a different kind of test altogether as the remaining runner tries to break the record of how many untouched runs they can make before being hit. The record by the way is held by a friend Big_Stig (can you tell he loves racing games nearly as much as myself?) with a frankly astounding thirteen runs with four other players trying to stop him.
The final challenge which we created is not only once again held on the Top Gear Test Track, but it is also inspired by the show itself, hence it’s moniker The Top Gear Challenge. This is the one which we actually put some thought into and the one which most of us enjoy taking part in. We tried to base this on a real Top Gear challenge as much as we possibly could. For the challenge we were given a budget of 100,000Cr and using that money we would each be tasked with buying a car with certain characteristics, for example front or rear wheel drive, engine position or country of origin. Without exceeding said budget each player would buy a fitting car from the used market and then tune it any way they can without spending too much.
Once all the players had finished purchasing and carrying out any work on their chosen vehicles, a room would be created and all participating players would join the room. At this point we would take part in a series of tests being given a score depending on where we finished in each. First of all each car would be given a mark out of ten by each of the other players based purely on the aesthetics of the car. Once all the cars have been scored on their looks, it would be on to a test of the car’s horsepower and acceleration in an all in drag race with the winner being awarded another point. From there it is directly into a test of acceleration and brakes with a 0-60 and stop race with the player covering the shortest distance earning another valuable point, with a further point being awarded to person with the highest top speed on a run along the main straight of the test track. To wrap things up all cars take part in a single lap race around the circuit for the final precious point before the scores are tallied up and the winner announced.
These events are always fun mainly because it is always a surprise as to what each player turns up in with almost a thousand possible cars which could turn up in the showrooms. Sometimes you find a hidden gem of a car, but on the other end of the scale you could turn up in a hunk of junk.
And so it goes to show that with a little imagination, when actual races are becoming a little to serious and you, along with your friends, wish to continue playing in cars there is a whole lot more to do when you put your mind to it. Next time you are playing Gran Turismo 5 just remember, there is a lot more that you can do in the game other than just racing.