THE BEST (TOP 81) “RACING & DRIVING” GAMES COMPATIBLE WITH ORIGINAL NINTENDO WII CONSOLE FOR ADULTS AND OLDER KIDS (COLLECTOR’S COMPLETE LIST)

The GameCube-compatible Wii console that I bought in January 2010

Wii console with Mario Kart
Alternatively available, this bundle includes not only the GameCube-compatible Wii console but also the “Mario Kart Wii” game plus a “wheel” (“motion-control” accessory) that can also be used with many other Wii racing/driving games.

 

Pros: Numerous racing titles are compatible with the original Wii console.

Cons: But the plethora of “shovelware” and “hard-to-steer” games compels the discriminating player/collector to cull the wheat from the chaff.

 

Preface (Feel free to skip ahead to the list of games. )

While the original Wii isn’t exactly renowned as a racing or driving platform, many compatible — and enjoyable — racing games do exist, especially for its earlier console models incorporating GameCube compatibility.

As you likely know, the original Wii’s own library of games is deservedly notorious for the plethora of low-quality, “shovelware” titles. Removing such lowly games from consideration still leaves you with the fact that no cross-platform driving/racing title for Wii is likely to be as graphically impressive as its counterpart for the contemporaneous Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 system.

Moreover, more than a few otherwise promising games implement the Wii’s controversial “motion-control” approach to steering your vehicle, etc. Now, with certain titles that approach does work splendidly or at least tolerably well (especially if you temporarily place the standard Wii controller — aka “Wiimote” — within a passive “wheel” device, such as the one made by Nintendo). But far too many other titles implement motion control so badly that it’s a veritable deal breaker to almost any player – especially considering that such games often provide no alternative control choices (i.e., no Nunchuk, GameCube or Classic controller option). [In this vein, it may be helpful to consult Wikipedia’s pertinent lists regarding which Wii games are compatible with this or that type of controller.]

One example of a Wii game that implements “motion-control steering” frustratingly badly is . My Xbox 360 [and, presumably, the PlayStation 3] edition has much more manageable steering. A second such example is the game . My PlayStation 2 edition’s steering is all right; but the Wii edition’s steering is intolerably bad.

Note that I have three key criteria determining (or at least influencing) which Wii-compatible racing games ended up on the list (and in my personal collection).

First, titles like “Driver” [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 normally don’t appeal to this adult gamer; so, you generally won’t find such titles on this list. [But I’ve no such compunctions about certain seemingly universally beloved kart-racing titles – like the ones involving “Mario” or “Sonic” – that don’t unduly 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 NTSC editions; some games may bear different titles (or perhaps weren’t released) in other world regions. [Consult Wikipedia for details.]

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

RECOMMENDABLE RETAIL NINTENDO Wii “RACING” GAMES RELEASED ON DISC IN NORTH AMERICA:

[Except where noted below, I myself own the Wii edition of each of the following titles.]

(To view a picture of a particular game, click its “See it at Amazon” link.)

  1. Bigfoot: Collision Course
  2. Big Foot: King of Crush      
  3. Build’n Race          [This game is pretty much “shovelware,” but (with the option to steer via the Nunchuk) it actually ends up providing a bit of fun and challenge using the various pre-built tracks. However, you must learn to ignore (or simply snort/chuckle at) the intermittent pollyannaish “encouragement” of the female commentator.]
  4. Cruis’n         [This game was originally going to be titled The Fast and the Furious. (Otherwise, it has no relation or similarity to the latter title for PS2.)]
  5. Dodge Racing: Charger vs. Challenger      
  6. Ferrari Challenge      
  7. ExciteBots: Trick Racing      
  8. ExciteTruck      
  9. F1 2009          [This title is essentially a Wii exclusive (not counting the PSP and iOS versions). Moreover, it’s actually a respectably decent “F1″ game (factoring the Wii’s graphical limitations) that lets you use several alternative-control options (involving the Nunchuk or the Classic controller).]
  10. GT Pro Series          [Evidently this 2006 launch title was largely a port of the 2003 Japan-only GameCube title GT Cube. Most critics roundly disparaged this Wii release; but I think it’s actually pretty good (for a Wii game), what with its decent implementation of Wiimote motion control.]
  11. Honda ATV Fever              [Warning: Though the graphics and steering (with the Nunchuk, not the Wiimote!) are decent, this game’s difficulty level (AI) is set so unreasonably high that — so far — I’ve been lucky to finish a race in sixth or seventh place (out of eight competing racers). Frankly, if frequently winning is important to you, you’d do well to skip this title.
  12. Hot Wheels Track Attack      
  13. Indianapolis 500 Legends      
  14. Mario Kart Wii      
  15. Maximum Racing: Drag & Stock Racer        [Note: To me this low-budget game — which does allow Nunchuk steering — is desirable primarily because of its “stock” car racing mode. Important: The instructions manual doesn’t mention the necessity to select (from the menu) the “stock high” (instead of the default “stock low“) option. (Unless you select “high,” the game is essentially worthless because your car won’t be nearly fast enough to keep up with any of the 15 “AI” cars!)
  16. Monster Jam       [Note: I opted to get this title in its (presumably graphically superior) Xbox 360 edition instead of this Wii (which, in its own right, has garnered mostly favorable reviews).]
  17. Monster Jam: Path Of Destruction         [Note: I opted to get this title in its (presumably graphically superior) Xbox 360 edition instead of this Wii (which, in its own right, has garnered mostly favorable reviews).]
  18. Monster Jam: Urban Assault [I own not only this Wii edition but also the PS2, whose racing details differ somewhat. (Feel free to consult YouTube to compare the two.)      
  19. MX vs. ATV Untamed      [Note: So far, I actually prefer this Wii edition to the Xbox 360 (which I likewise own).]
  20. NASCAR Kart Racing      
  21. NASCAR The Game 2011      
  22. Need for Speed: Nitro           [Note: This is the only “Wii-exclusive” NFS game (and thus the only NFS title that I opted to get for my Wii console). But the following five additional NFS titles are likewise available for Wii: “;” “;”  “;” “;” and “.” So, if you don’t have access to the presumably superior Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 editions of those five titles, you might opt to settle for the (presumably tolerably good) Wii versions.]
  23. Nitrobike         [I own not only this Wii but also the PS2 edition. The latter version’s control (steering) is preferable; nonetheless, this Wii is “okay,” provided you can find it cheap (I paid slightly under two bucks).]
  24. Rig Racer 2             This “shovelware” Wii title is just good enough to make my list. I find it rather amusing in that it involves strictly “big-rig” trucks racing and doesn’t take itself seriously. [Besides, it cost me only 99 cents at a GameStop store.] This game uses only the Wiimote in “motion-control” mode; however, that approach is implemented surprisingly well in this little game — especially if you temporarily place the Wiimote in a Mariokart type of “wheel” (accessory). Be sure to select the “easy” difficulty level; and note that the Wiimote’s “–” (minus sign) key is for “reverse,” which you’ll likely be needing, now and again, till you’ve mastered your truck’s steering and braking.
  25. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing         [I opted to get this title in its (presumably graphically superior) Xbox 360 edition instead of this Wii (which, in its own right, has garnered mostly favorable reviews).]
  26. Speed Racer         [I opted to get this title in its PS2 edition instead of this Wii (which supports only the Wiimote– not the Nunchuk, GameCube or Classic controller).]
  27. Speed Zone              [This game’s compatible with not only the Wiimote but also the Nunchuk, GameCube, and Classic controller. (With this game, forget the Wiimote and Nunchuk and instead use the GameCube or maybe the Classic controller!)]
  28. Super PickUps         [Call this low-budget release “shovelware” if you must, but I personally love this little game! I had already owned (and likewise relished) the PS2 edition before taking a chance on this Wii version, which – to my surprise and delight – actually implements the standard Wii controller’s motion-control mode more than tolerably nicely. Tip: For the best gameplay experience, select the initial menu’s “career” (instead of “quick race”) option, and then select “Season.” You’ll thereby see an onscreen “nitro boost” meter that makes for a much more lastingly satisfying challenge.]

 

(Wii-COMPATIBLE) GAMECUBE RACING GAMES

Until October 2011, all original Wii consoles sold in America were backward-compatible with Nintendo GameCube game discs. As of this writing, unused GameCube-compatible Wii consoles are still being sold at tolerably affordable prices (e.g., about $200, including shipping, via Amazon.com). [See the two pertinent pictures/links at the top of this review.]

[Except where noted below, I own a GameCube-edition specimen of each of the following titles.]

(To view a picture of a particular game at Amazon, click its title.)

  1.      [Note: Be aware that the “car handling/steering” in this game (not only in this GameCube but also the virtually identical Xbox and PS2 editions, which I’ve likewise collected) is notoriously touchy/difficult! “Casual/occasional” gamers would do well to skip this title.]
  2. [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  3.   [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  4. [Note: I opted instead for the slightly graphically superior Xbox 360 edition of this game.]
  5. [Note: I sold my copy of this late-2005 game after noticing that my Xbox 360 edition of it had sharper graphics. That said, this GameCube edition is still pretty nice in its own right.]
  6.  
  7.   [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  8.   [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  9.   [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]
  10.   [Note: I opted instead for the (Xbox 360-compatible) original-Xbox edition of this title.]

Note: The following GameCube title is somewhat more a “combat-driving” than a “racing” game; nonetheless, I like it just enough to keep it in my collection.

Also note: The following two GameCube titles [both of which I opted to get in their “Xbox 360-compatible,” original-Xbox editions] are definitely more “combat-driving” than “racing” games, but they still might be of interest.

In this vein, the following GameCube title [which I opted to get in its PS2 edition] might likewise be of some interest.

 

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You may also enjoy the following:  

The 48 Best RACING Games for GameCube

The 134 Best RACING Games for Xbox 360

The 95 Best RACING Games for Original Xbox

The 293 Best RACING Games for PlayStation 2

The 121 Best RACING Games for Original PlayStation (PS1)

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