The Best (Top 121) “RACING & DRIVING” Games for Original PlayStation (PS1/PSX) for Adults and Older Kids (Collector’s Complete List)

ps1 console
The redesigned, smaller version of the original PlayStation console

The "Ceramic White"(special-edition) version of the PS2 Slim console, which I use to play my PS1 games
The “Ceramic White” (special-edition) version of the PS2 Slim console, which I opt to use to play all my PS1 games — including the “racing” titles on my below list. [Note: Presumably, PS1 games could look still nicer via a PS3 console (with its HDMI connectivity), but I haven’t personally verified this.]


 

Pros:  Used PS1 racing games are generally quite affordable and easy to find via trustworthy online vendors (e.g., Amazon and eBay). And there are well over a hundred PS1 racing titles – which are compatible with all PS2 and (presumably) PS3 consoles.

Cons:  Fifth-generation-console racing games’ graphics arguably aren’t as exciting as their counterparts for more recent systems. And many PS1 racing games don’t provide “analog-thumbstick” steering (as a control option to “digital D-pad” steering).


 

Preface  (Feel free to skip ahead to my list of game titles.)

Edgar Rice Burroughs once defined golf as a mental disorder. Similarly, I myself – only partly jestingly – have long defined collecting as a species of mania. All my life I’ve been afflicted with this recurring madness. In youth I focused on philately. But in adulthood I’ve settled on books, music, and video games. I find those three subjects ultimately more gratifying than stamps, coins or cards. For not only can I passively behold my sundry objects ranged alphabetically on display shelves, but also I can open or play any single title and lose myself within a captivating alternate reality.


While my taste in music and books might seem stodgy (I collect primarily “classical” and “nonfiction”) my taste in videogaming is more wide-ranging. That said, I favor the following genres: arcade; shmups; and racing. Of the three, my favorite, by far, is racing— in virtually any form, not just the usual “cars, trucks or bikes.”

During the months when I was painstakingly building my (arguably definitive) American racing-games collection, I felt continually frustrated by the most widely disseminated, incomplete lists of “racing” titles for any of my several old consoles— including the PlayStation 2 (which is PS1-compatible). [Note:  PlayStation 3 consoles are likewise backwardly compatible with most PS1 games. However, I myself don’t presently own a PS3.]

Thus I hope my below — presumably comprehensive — list of recommendable PS1 racing-game titles may be of help to some fellow collectors of this genre [though it’s possible I’ve overlooked a title or two that merit inclusion].


However, I do have three key criteria determining (or at least influencing) which titles made my list.

First, titles like Driver or Grand Theft Auto [which I myself neither play nor collect] are primarily role-playing, not racing, games. Thus I generally don’t include such titles on this list.

Second, excessively puerile/adolescent/cartoony graphics, audio or themes (in games like Crash Team Racing and Twisted Metal) normally don’t appeal to this adult gamer. [But I’ve no such problem with certain seemingly universally beloved kart-racing titles involving Pac-Man, Kirby, Mario and Sonic that were released for later consoles and scarcely annoy adult sensibility.]


Third, if a game simply incorporates hopelessly clumsy mechanics – or glaringly ineptly rendered audio/graphics – that keep me from enjoying the overall experience, that title is anathema. [Here too, however, there’s a gray area, insofar as my below list does encompass a minority of “borderline-acceptable” titles that somehow manage to amuse me enough to merit inclusion.

Note:  I’m American. Unsurprisingly, my below list comprises only NTSC editions. And some games bear different titles (or weren’t released) in other world regions. [Consult Wikipedia for details.]

Finally, my general intention isn’t to discuss any particular game below; but the simple fact that these are the titles that made my list means each somehow merits a passing grade (though in some instances just a “D”). So, use the following list judiciously,  perhaps consulting pertinent reviews, articles or videos at the worthy Amazon, eBay, IGN, Wikipedia and YouTube to decide for yourself if a certain title belongs in your collection. 

[To see a particular game at Amazon, click its picture or title.]

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37.      [Note:  This relatively weak game only barely qualified for this list!]

 

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53.       [Note:  Mine is the slightly expanded “” The (not shown below) has different cover art.]

 

54.       [Mine is the standard edition (as shown below). Also available is a (presumably slightly expanded) “.”]

 

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56.     (’96 Season)

 

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Need for Speed III Hot Pursuit

 

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74.      (two-disc set, in double-wide jewel case)

 

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98.     [Note:  This game — whose cutscenes overshadow its actual “racing” segments — only barely qualified for this list!]

 

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109.      [Note:  Nice cover art notwithstanding, this relatively weak game only barely qualified for this list!]

 

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118.    [Note: This “original” Wipeout game is a noteworthy title for PS1 collectors; however, my take is that its gameplay’s relative shortcomings make it seem altogether superfluous for gamers who already own any of its superior sequels, including Wipeout XL and/or Wipeout 3.]

 

119.   

 

120.    

 

121.      [Note:  This relatively weak game only barely qualified for this list!]

 

*    *    *

You may also enjoy the following:  

The 293 Best RACING Games for PlayStation 2

The 99 Best RACING Games for Original Xbox

The 51 Best RACING Games for GameCube

The 86 Best RACING Games for Original Wii

The 135 Best RACING Games for Xbox 360

6 thoughts on “The Best (Top 121) “RACING & DRIVING” Games for Original PlayStation (PS1/PSX) for Adults and Older Kids (Collector’s Complete List)”

  1. Hey Mike – nice work… great to see you here!!!

    When grilled, I probably couldn’t come up with five titles pertaining to the racing genre. Got a kick out of “Tokyo Highway Battle” – in reality, few drivers in one of the world’s most populated cities have been lucky to shift to third gear in the past half-century.

    Perhaps your opening line pertaining to golf should extend to professional soccer – in honor of the hordes of stampeding fans who have been trampled through the years.

    Good luck in the Sweeps. Reviews in “Electronics” are worth two entries this year! Just sayin’…

    1. Thanks, Rick.

      Regarding “racing” games per se, I myself never much favored ’em in the 1980s (when I first became enamored of “home” videogaming). Back then, the consoles just weren’t powerful enough to produce fully impressive “3D-racing” experiences, and so I instead favored classic 2D “arcade” or “shmups” (not to mention other kinds of ) games.

      That significantly changed when I got my first Xbox 360 (in 2013) and discovered the “immersive” fun of “Forza” (and other) racing games. Then the “collector” in me got so caught up in “racing” titles that I proceeded to collect even the ones compatible with my slightly older consoles (PS2 and original Wii). Thus I now own “racing” titles in not only PS1 format but also PS2; GameCube; Wii; original-Xbox; and, of course, Xbox 360 formats.

      Mike

      P.S.: Re your above suggestion re “Electronics” (category) review posting, well, to garner significant readership, such reviews generally compel the conscientious amateur reviewer to purchase “current” or “new” models. Frankly, going down that road would surely prove prohibitively costly for this notoriously frugal “early retiree.” 😉

      1. I have been tempted to review my 1988 KLH 200 stereo table radio. Love it for so many reasons – and they’re nearly always available on eBay. I have a lot of fun reviewing cool stuff – I tend to research the hell out of whatever I buy (frugality is a lifestyle), so I don’t get to post many negative pieces.

        1. Regarding “stereo table radios,” at Epinions I reviewed two models of Sony “HD” (digital-stereo-broadcast) stereo table radios: the 2008 model XDR-S10HDiP, as well as its distinctively beautifully “classically” styled 2007 antecedent, the model XDR-S3HD. I continue to use both beloved models every single day. In fact, I have TWO specimens of the 2008 model. (One of those three radios is in the basement; another on the main floor, and still another on the second level of this “four-level” house.)

          That said, the conventional-analog FM signal can sound beautiful in its own right. Besides, not all stations broadcast digitally.

          Incidentally, from 1988 through 1990, I went through my “audiophile-mania” period. You wouldn’t believe the B&W-brand (made-in-England) speakers I owned back in those days. (I had a pair of the same model that was used in the legendary Abbey Road studio, who surely spared no expense.) Nowadays, however, I make do with far less pricey speakers that sound just fine to my aging ears. 😉

          Thanks for commenting, and keep on having fun!

          Mike

  2. Wow…such a comprehensive list is an impressive achievement…to say nothing of actually collecting all these titles. I’ve owned -and still own – numerous titles on this list being a fan, as you seem to be, of more realistic racing sims, and have happy memories of playing many others.

    So many good ones – Demolition Racer used to a be a favorite of mine, spent way too long trying to master the tracks in those old NASCAR Thunders and F1 games, and have had serious discussions about how the PSX1 McRae rally titles were better than many more recent ones. I love exploring most any of those older pro racing games – it’s a trip for me just to explore the (now-ancient) driver lineups.

    Thanks for the piece; Cheers!

    1. Thanks for the kind words. At one point (during the tedious uploading process), I wondered if anyone in cyberspace would fully appreciate what the creation of the above “list” actually entailed. And so, your initial sentence is especially appreciated here.

      And, indeed, the earlier, game-collecting process (which took months!) was initially at least as much an ordeal as a pleasure; for, you can surely imagine how much “preliminary research” I had to do to finally decide which titles merited inclusion and which did not. “Nostalgia” was scarcely a factor for me, because I’d never owned an original PlayStation console in the 90’s, and bought my very first PS2 console in January 2010. (During the 1990s and 2000’s I’d – mostly – taken a “sabbatical” from videogaming [after having been VERY involved with it from 1981 through the NES/Master System era, i.e., up to, but not including, the dawn of the SNES/Genesis era]). Consequently, my perspective was doubtless somewhat different from that of the majority of PS1-game shoppers/collectors (who doubtless grew up with an original PlayStation console).

      As you can imagine, at this point there are still many games in my collection that I’ve played only relatively slightly. However, I expect that that will increasingly change over the remaining years of my life – especially considering that I’ve no plans to buy an Xbox One console (and maybe a PS4 and/or Wii U?) till they’re being “liquidated” at drastically reduced prices (and the compatible games themselves will have become much cheaper).

      As for the “simulation versus arcade-style” question (as it pertains to racing games), well, depending on my fluctuating mood, I like BOTH approaches. That said, if I were absolutely compelled to choose one or the other, there’d be no way I’d give up Forza Motorsport 4 or either of the Forza Horizon games. [And having played a local Gamestop store’s demo of Forza Motorsport 5 (for Xbox One), well, I must admit I’d really love to have that title NOW! (Even so, I still firmly intend to focus, instead, on further exploring the games I’ve already got for my present (supposedly “obsolete”!) consoles. And, as you said, exploring “most any” of those older “pro-racing” games – not to mention some of the unabashedly “arcadey” alternatives – can be a real trip/hoot in its own right!)]

      Again, thanks for commenting. And let’s keep on relishing not only the new but also the “old”!

      Mike

      PS: Incidentally, a couple of months ago I also acquired (for a mere 20 bucks) an original-Xbox console in decent condition. For THAT console, I went ahead and bought nine original-Xbox games that (unlike my many other original-Xbox games) are NOT “Xbox 360-console-compatible.” One such title is Rallisport Challenge 2, which you could likely enjoy (judging from your evident fondness for the undeniably noteworthy “Colin McRae” PS1 games!).

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