Commuting, whether by vehicular or other forms of transportation can depreciate the functionality of a games immersion, if it’s wholly dependant on a games more superior base functions. There’s a sudden jarring sensation as your thrust into precipitous situations, deprived of any cordial necessity and deliberately encouraged to partake in subsidiary activities or mini games, simply because a software technician decided that a level required the particulars afforded from complex mechanics to heighten the scripted ambiance with an impromptu race or escape. Often such ancillary compliances have a tendency to disrupt the rhythmic velocity of a game, with implementation for such automotive commutes severely impeding your progress if introduced with finicky controls or peripheral utilisation. GTA IV for instance established some of gaming’s most overly elaborate handling, that ultimately sullied the series once effectual, free-flowing driving. Yet sometimes, when applied correctly provides much-needed benefits that suitably diversifies and obliges a progressive alternative to a arbiters of games main functions. In actuality one of my favourite means of motility wasn’t motorised.
Red Dead Redemption gave rise to the power of, well horse power?! Credited with an exemplary capacity for story telling, I often feel it’s transportation is sadly neglected. There were no limitations relating to the spacial expanse of New Austin (and later the fictionalised interpretation of Mexico). I loved galloping from one rural location to the other without any distinct purpose to my voluntary forays. I revelled in covering hundreds of miles on my horse, a stallion I might add was procured from the very start and remained comparatively unscathed, thanks in part to a few cordial save points. The facilitation to simply abscond from bandits and thief’s made drive-bys seem almost heroic. Replacing the traditional steering wheel with rustic reins granted a purity lost with the introduction of industrial provenance. These were commutes ebbing with such formative grandiosity that I derived so much engaging fortitude from simply travelling between destinations that I’d almost feel glad if I had left something behind, just so I could turn around and retrieve it again! Whether or not you felt as encouraged by galloping around with earnest is subjective, but the compulsion to roam these isolated plains was further endorsed by the sense of assimilation of being a gun totting rebel in inhospitable territory, even in the maligned familiarity of such a resolutely staid environments. I was always left with a rapacious capacity to just ride off into the sunset, set up camp somewhere in waste expanse of the old West and just, well I don’t know, pretend that for a fleeting second was just a lonely loner on a lonely road. I can but hope that Rockstar officially formalise a sequel soon. Preferably immediately!
Another more notorious vehicular section that always resonated strongly with me on a kind of “game of thrones” level of depravity, was the secular brutality of Donkey Kong Country’s mine cart section. I shiver every-time I think about it! It was perhaps not the most conveniently arranged constructions, with segments torn out and the track strewn with vacated wagons, but that mine cart was distinct in its infamy. The farcical arrangement of the track felt about as secure as the Greek economy, with sections replete with impeachments that belie the intricate simplicity of the tracks velocity. The vulnerable trajectory exhibited a route that was the safety equivalent of juggling knives on a trampoline and the precision timing you needed to finish the final third frustrated me as a kid! But it was never dull. Every minor deviation, every delicate hop of the cart was subtlety reflected in your own nuances as your leg begins to twitch like a sleeping dog every-time you leap from one track to next. Leaning closer and closer to the television screen until your nose collapses on the rigid glass. It was exciting, mentally exerting, required proportionate diligence for someone who considered dry coco-pops a delicacy (and still do), yet highly satisfying when you finally departed the level. The frustration of failure dispersed when you proclaimed victory through adversity, and this was perhaps my first real appreciation for challenges in games.
But these are just a sample of my favourite driving sections in no driving games. More important is what your favourites are? It’s certainly a topic open for liberal interpretation, but essentially I’ll only accept suggestions that contain correlating associations with the contemporary definition of driving simulators, that aren’t defined as driving games or that don’t exclusive adhere to the specificities associated with driving games (so no Forza’s or Gran Turismo’s please). Comment below and let me know. Cheers.