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.]
37. [Note: This relatively weak game only barely qualified for this list!]
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) “.”]
56. (’96 Season)
74. (two-disc set, in double-wide jewel case)
98. [Note: This game — whose cutscenes overshadow its actual “racing” segments — only barely qualified for this list!]
109. [Note: Nice cover art notwithstanding, this relatively weak game only barely qualified for this list!]
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.]
121. [Note: This relatively weak game only barely qualified for this list!]
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