Inevitably, the subject of video games will pop up. We love a good racing game here, and the incredible digital works of today wouldn't be around were it not for their pixellated predecessors, so here, in reverse chronological order, is All Car Tech's run-down of our top ten retro racing games...
A 32-bit console era game? Surely not! Wipeout was defined by its Chemical Brothers soundtrack and the effortlessly cool Designers Republic graphics, both of which contributed massively to the slightly dystopian vision of the future. The fact that PlayStation 3 title WipeOut HD/Fury feels so similar is a testament to the original's floaty, challenging fun.
Sega Rally (1994)
We needed a rally game in the list. It would have been easy to include Colin McRae rally, inspired by the now late Scottish rally legend, as it really popularized the rallying genre in the console age, but for arcade fans and Sega Saturn owners, Sega Rally got there first. It's not stood the test of time as well as the McRae title, but like Ridge Racer it really introduced racing fans to 3D racing action.
Need For Speed (1994)
Today the Need For Speed franchise is massive and we think games like Shift 2 Unleashed are right up there with the best console racers, but the series has undergone big changes since the first game in 1994. Even back then, graphics were impressive next to its competitors and the street racing theme continued, albeit changing with popular culture, right up until the Shift games hit the shelves.
Ridge Racer (1994)
Some may argue that a game appearing on a console as recent as the Sony PlayStation isn't really "retro", but that still makes it a 17 year-old game. For many it was the first experience of "3D" graphics and wiped the floor with any previous console game in this respect. The vibrant colors and cheesy commentary add to the 1990s experience. Only the horrific 90s techno music really marks it down.
Super Mario Kart (1992)
If we had the space for only one racing game on this list, Super Mario Kart would be it. More than any other game here it stands up under scrutiny today because although the graphics are now poor and the handling basic, the essentials are right. It's easy to play, difficult to master and whole heaps of fun, particularly if you bring a bunch of friends together for a four-way battle. You can even replicate those days today, as the original game is available to download in Nintendo's Wii shop.
Micro Machines (1991)
Think top-down driving games and many will think of Grand Theft Auto, but as it's not a racing game it doesn't make the list. Micro Machines is so it does, and many will regail you of the skill needed to keep your tiny toy car from plunging off the school desk or kitchen worksurface into oblivion. The controls took some getting used to (think more clockwise and anti-clockwise than left and right) but that just adds to the fun. Somehow, playing it on the Nintendo Game Boy seemed more appropriate, too.
Road Rash (1991)
Long before vapid, uneducated loud-mouths decreed games like Grand Theft Auto sinful and damaging for our children, Road Rash encouraged you to beat the hell out of your fellow motorcycle racers with big metal chains whilst travelling well above the speed limit. And just like ploughing through pedestrians whilst drunk in GTA, it's fantastic fun, yet we've never felt tempted to do the same in real life...
Indianapolis 500: The Simulaton (1989)
If oval racing was your thing, then Indianapolis 500 was the game for you. The graphics and handling aren't up to much by today's standards but you took what you could get in the 80s, and with a little imagination and suspension of disbelief you felt like you were actually there, ready for the green light. We never knew simple pixellated shapes could make for such tough competition, either...
Grand Prix Circuit (1987)
American racing fans had Indianapolis 500 to let them worship their heroes. Gamers in Europe had Grand Prix Circuit. You're hooked from the moment the staccato midi intro music plays and although the circuits seemed crude and topographically neutered, being able to play out our Senna, Prost and Mansell fantasies in 1980s F1 cars was all that mattered.
More than any racing game before or since, it's the music that defined Outrun. Playing it today is like taking a trip straight back to the 1980s, albeit a 1980s where the road is absolutely awash where Volkswagen Beetles and Porsche 911s outnumber big rigs twenty to one. It's a challenging game but the formula worked, which is why the game came back in 2006 as Outrun: Coast 2 Coast. To Sega's eternal credit, they kept the same music. It may be the oldest game in our list, but it's also one of our favorites.