Sunday nights are not the same without spending an hour in the company of Clarkson, May and Hammond. No they aren’t my solicitors but the presenters of BBC car-fest Top Gear. The series is once again off air but they recently posted to their website 10 retro driving games that they felt were the best. Retrobear loves a challenge and in true Top Gear fashion he picks 10 other games worth taking round the test track….




If you’re a fan, like me, of Top Gear then you might be pleased to see a list appear on their website. Finally after years of not discussing the notion of driving games against real driving (other than to say it doesn’t compare), this week a Top Gear Retro Computer Driving Game list appeared. Now you can see for yourselves what Clarkson, Hammond and May rate as the best games ever made for retro computers, although it might not actually be them and may be one of the website staff writers. Anyway if you are interested here is the link :


Having had a nose at the list and despite my obvious disagreement with the inclusion of Mario Kart on any Best Games List I think they have nailed some pretty good choices. Which got my retro brain thinking and below I have listed in no particular order 10 more retro racing games worth a few moments of your time :


I can assure you they are racing cars and not spiders

ENDURO (1983) – It doesn’t get any simpler than this. Race for 5 consecutive days through dry weather, fog, snow, day and night to complete. You have to pass 200 cars on day 1, 300 on day 2 and so on. Its very simple and incredibly addictive. Easily the best racing game on the Atari 2600 and stands up pretty well today.




Screenshot or arcade sit-down shot ? Think I chose wisely....

HANG-ON (1985) – Yes I know it’s a bike rather than a car but it’s a racing game at the end of the day. The game that launched a thousand imitators (imitators with knobs on – Enduro Racer had you as a motocross rider whilst Road Rash had you beating people up on the back of a bike) the home versions were always missing something when you took away the big sit down bike of the arcade original. Still, a worthy game and worthy of this list.





It's a shame this looks so bad 25 years later - it looked bad enough at the time

SUPER SPRINT (1986) – You may remember the arcade machine with 4 steering wheels attached to it. A top down racer with a variety of tracks and challenges and best played with 3 of your mates. Much imitated but never bettered, it is showing it’s age. More so there was never a decent home conversion either, which considering the source material is very surprising indeed.





It burns ! It burns !

CONTINENTAL CIRCUS (1987) – Mistranslated (Circuits not Circus) and with the added bonus of 3D glasses this was an arcade racer with the same principles as Super Monaco GP but with more courses to keep playing through. Not a bad racer but all the home conversions suffered from not having the 3D option. I thought the car looked awesome !



You don't have to be a megabuck ponce to race around Monaco you know

SUPER MONACO GP (1989) – Based on and featuring the landmarks of the Monaco street circuit (but not actually the circuit itself) this was a jaw dropping arcade smash from Sega. Qualify for the race in less than 45 seconds then take your position on the grid to race. You then have a position number you cannot fall behind i.e. start 15th but stay above 18th position at all times or it’s game over. The home conversion on the MegaDrive included a full 16 race World Championship option as well !



It's not much of a game but a guilty pleasure of mine

CISCO HEAT (1990) – Rather than taking the role of a driver racing through San Francisco you take the role of a police officer trying to win some driving contest. Memorable only for the sights of San Fran and providing me with many moments of fun on the Amiga (the demo only as I never got the full game) and included here for my own retro memory.




It might not look like much but this was one of the best racers to grace the Amiga

SUPERCARS 2 (1991) – The original game wasn’t exactly memorable or well received, but Gremlin Graphics went back to the drawing board and came up with a very slick racer. Using the top down view but following the cars round the track it was hugely enjoyable game, especially with another player. Smart looking too and gave the overhead racer a new dimension and breathed new life into a much imitated genre.




One of the best racing games EVER. End of.

FORMULA ONE GRAND PRIX (1992) – Designed by game guru and all round genius Geoff Crammond – the man who gave us Stunt Car Racer – this was a full polygonised 3D version of F1. Despite having fictional names and teams, all the circuits from the 1991 season are there. It played great and looked fantastic. It spawned 3 sequels and fans still release patch updates for the newest version with all the current F1 data. It really was at the time a ground-breaking piece of software and one I have fond memories of.



A good game but not that good sadly

VIRTUA RACING (1992) – Sega’s attempt to take the polygons of Formula One Grand Prix and make it an arcade racer, having you go across terrains such as the Golden Gate Bridge. Technically it was superb back in the day but suffers from being a little on the slow side now. One of the slew of titles with the word Virtua in it released back then – makes you wonder why Sega didn’t combine Virtua Fighter with Virtua Racing and produce a Mario Kart style game ?



Quite simply stunning for it's time and still having updates to this day

RIDGE RACER (1993) – The game Sony used to drop jaws when it launched the PS1 which by then was on it’s fourth incarnation of the game. Big, bold and brash this was a quality street racer which even today still stands up pretty well. I had my arcade experience enhanced/ruined when I played it sitting inside a large Ferrari mock up. Except there was no sense of speed as the car was static.




So strap yourself in, turn the ignition and fire up some of these beauties. Burning rubber has never been so safe and so much fun.


PS You’ll notice I stopped at 1993 and thus missed out quite a few old games which would have merited consideration. Remember this is a retro themed website and as much as I would love to include Daytona, Sega Rally, Destruction Derby, Gran Turismo etc, I can’t. So there.


So yah boo sucks to you.