What are racing games?

Where competitive gaming is concerned, it doesn’t get more frenetic than a well-designed racing game. Players might complete circuits on a looping track, or race through the countryside on a rally course. Racing games can be set anywhere – and as the locations can range from realistic to fantasy, so too can the vehicles.The first racing game ever released was Space Race by Atari. It featured black-and-white graphics, and saw two players compete against one another using a two-way joystick. The success of Space Race prompted Atari to launch another racer; this one featuring cars rather than spaceships.Since then, competitive racers have been an essential part of arcades and home consoles. It wasn’t long before two-wheeled vehicles got in on the action. Hang-On was released in 1985; the game represented a technical breakthrough, as it featured ‘sprite scaling’ – objects beside the track getting bigger and smaller to create an illusion of depth, even though all of the assets in the game were completely flat.The same technology would prove a heavy feature in future games, until the eventual shift to full 3D over the course of the 1990s. By this time, racing games had become incredibly diverse. Mario Kart had set the standard for fun-focused home racers, while Gran Turismo made it possible to dive deep for the first time into the internal workings of real cars.A whole new genre was birthed by the launch of futuristic racer F-Zero on the Super Nintendo; Wipeout, Extreme-G and others soon followed. Top-down racers like Micro Machines provided an entirely new experience, allowing up to eight players for the first time on consoles.Nowadays, there are more racing games available than ever before, all in HTML5 via Gamepix. Our selection covers a range of settings and styles, and they're all available to play for free without any installs or downloads.

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