Formula 1 racing games have come a long way in the last 30 years or so. I can clearly remember my first one, the imaginatively named ‘Formula One Simulator’ by Mastertronic for my 48k ZX Spectrum (remember that rubber keyboard?).
Having waited five minutes for the game to load up in the tape deck, beeping and chirping away, it was something of a disappointment. Simple, blocky graphics and unresponsive controls meant it was as tough a task to win a race as it is for Williams to get in the points nowadays. But you could race up to 10 different circuits including Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Monaco. It did the job.
I was nine back then in 1984, but I’m still enjoying racing games on my Xbox 360 thanks to Codemasters' brilliant offerings. Codemasters took over the licence to produce the official F1 games in 2009 and each year since the product has gotten slicker and more realistic in keeping up with the actual developments in F1.
That's why I’m genuinely excited about their latest offerings, F1 2013 and F1 2013 Classic Edition which hits the shelves this autumn. As with the previous games, every team and driver is up to date as from the actual 2013 season—but what makes this game so mega is that gamers are able to go back in time and drive as the legends of yesteryear.
With the 1980s content, the gamer can jump behind the wheel of the Williams FW12 and race as Nigel Mansell or Damon Hill. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can drive the Lotus 98T as Mario Andretti or Emerson Fittipaldi, the Ferrari F1-87 as Gerhard Berger and Michael Schumacher or the Lotus 100T as Satoru Nakajima or Mika Hakkinen.
Codemasters also detailed the 1990s content that will be available with the F1 2013 Classic Edition: Jean Alesi, Eddie Irvine, David Coulthard and Jacques Villeneuve make an appearance here.
As befits classic racing, commentary is provided by Murray Walker and there are four new circuits to race, with Jerez and Brands Hatch available on F1 2013 and Imola and Estoril on the Classic Edition.
The only downside I can see with this game is that I won’t be able to race as my all time F1 hero, Ayrton Senna. Codemasters creative director Stephen Hood told the JA on F1 podcast that the drivers also needed to still be alive.
They have to be living, which kind of precludes Senna, really. I’m a big fan of Senna as I’m sure a variety of people are, he’s a legendary driver. But we didn’t just want to include him in this pack to get this marketing tick. I think that’s the wrong use of him. We’d like to use him in the game elsewhere and it’s a great name, there’s a lot of history there, but it’s got to be at a right time and a right point.
I remain excited about this game: Throwing the Lotus 98T around Brands Hatch as Emerson Fittipaldi will certainly do for me!
“Driving Brands Hatch yesterday in the rain in a John Player Special Lotus is an awesome experience,” adds Hood. “It’s very different from a modern Formula One car and you can feel that.”
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