When we say racing games, we often think of powerful vehicles blasting off their boosters and power-ups to make sure they end up ahead of everyone else. We used an interesting choice of word here: “vehicles.” That’s because it’s not fair to only think of racing games as exclusively cars, or exclusively motorcycles. And for racing game fans, choosing a vehicle “preference” can be the cause of conflict.
However, if you’re looking for an answer, this article might help enlighten you about the best kind of vehicle racing you should play as of the moment. Are you ready?
- Diversity of game modes can make for some pretty intense matches. If there’s anything players love about racing games, it’s sheer replayability. The many factors that go into races ensure each match wouldn’t be the same as the last, and each race is just as adrenaline-filled like every other one. In this regard, both car games and motorcycle games may have things tied up. After all, both do feature straight races, circuits, time trials, and even challenges modes.
- Players will most likely remember a lot of car games with weird and wacky mechanics, as well as interesting and unique features. For instance, there’s Midnight Club: Los Angeles that actually has a weight distribution factor that really factors into the actual race, and a “Rate My Ride” feature that lets other people over the internet “rate” your car customization. Meanwhile, it’s The Crew that really laid out the foundation of the “CaRPG” or the car-based RPGs, with car “classes” with special attributes and “skills.” It’s these qualities that really make a lot of RPGs stand out and become really attractive to gamers.
- Meanwhile, motorcycle games like Ride are really grounded in reality, making sure players slowly get to “progress” into more difficult motorcycles and get to customize them. You might also need more sophisticated equipment to play more intense games like SuperBike TT that uses Oculus Rift tech, meaning you get to ride your motorcycle in VR!
- Verdict: It’s a tie. When you play a car racing game or try out motorcycle games, they both have diverse gameplay modes that are worth checking out.
- Vehicle choices make customizability an extremely personal thing to do. If there’s another thing racing game fans love about racing games, it’s the choice of machines. Who wouldn’t want to race with friends online with a heavily-customized Ducati motorcycle or Dodge supercar with great specs and awesome looks? If there’s anything that makes racing games worth playing aside from races, it’s going to be the looks. And thankfully both car games and motorcycle games actually feature a wide range of brands with a wide range of machines.
- Some car games actually have a ton of cars to ride and choose from, making replayability something to throw out of the window. According to the Guinness World Records, Gran Turismo 6, which was released around 2013, had a whopping 1,237 cars! All of these cars can be customized and chosen for races, making you capable of combining different cars and different specs with almost unlimited possibilities!
- Motorcycle games like Driveclub Bikes and MotoGP have different sorts of motorcycles you can choose from, each from popular motorcycle brands, and each with their different customization options. Granted, motorcycle games don’t have as many vehicles as car games, however, the customization options here really add that extra “oomph” to make your ride extra awesome in races. Sure, when you have an awesome car, you have an awesome… block racing on the road. But when you have a great customized motorcycle, you’re playing an awesome rider cruising over the sunset. There’s really just a different aesthetic appeal to it.
- Verdict: It’s a tie for this category. Both car games and motorcycle games have a wide range of vehicles to choose from, each with their unique set of customization options.
- Physics might be your dealbreaker. Racing games aren’t always about “just” racing. We have games that allow players to pull off crazy stunts and moves with their vehicle, including drifting and mid-air spins. Thing is, car racers and motorcycle racers have different ways of approaching physics in terms of stunts. And evidently, it seems car games focus more on the racing aspect, while motorcycles have more room for intense stunts thanks to how physics works in their development. Does this necessarily mean motorcycle games trump car games in terms of physics? Not necessarily – but if you’re a stunts fan, this is indeed something to consider.
- Car game devs actually take physics extremely seriously, with a lot of people even looking into “the right way” of establishing physics in a car game. And a lot of these accurate physics have been reflected in different car games. For instance, rFactor has extremely accurate tire modeling and aerodynamics that ensured you have to configure your F1 racer properly. Project Cars also earned the praise of some gamers as being the Dark Souls of car games, given its realistic approach to riding cars.
- While motorcycle game physics do get approached by devs in the same way they do car games, there’s really a different aesthetic appeal to motorcycle racing. Games like Ride2 and Road Redemption tackle motorcycle racing with a kind of realism we see in real life, making each turn (and even crash!) something worthwhile and really something to look forward to. Imagine nailing that tight turn, jumping over a cliff, or even just hearing the tight hum of the engine as you win that race – all of these definitely feel much more awesome than your typical racing game.
- Verdict: Motorcycle games win by sheer virtue of awesome stunts. You can’t hit railings and spin on the air with cars. And we don’t exactly have a ton of car games specifically geared for stunts.
- Real-life counterparts aren’t as included and featured. When we talk of racing games, we don’t just mean drag racing. Interestingly enough, motorsports fans will likely agree with us and elaborate on the many kinds of motorsports available, and even based on vehicles. Motorcycle motorsports have Motocross and MotoGP to name a few, while car motorsports have Formula 1 and Nascar as examples. There’s a ton more for each vehicle, but not all motorsports are explored in-depth in video games. If you’re a motorsports fan, you might find car motorsports being more featured in different games, although that makes the rarity of motorcycle motorsports quite attractive.
- A lot of car games have adapted car motorsports into their concepts, which easily makes car games more diverse in terms of these offerings. For instance, Sega Rally Championship, despite being a classic arcade game, is actually a stock car racing game (where racers take unmodified cars into a race). Other more recent games include F1 2019 (and its other predecessors), which is a formula racing game. The sheer diversity of these games scattered across different motorsports add a level of uniqueness to the genre.
- While there are a lot of motorcycle motorsports available, not a lot of them get translated into video games. There’s MXGP that’s the official motocross video game – but there’s really not much else aside from a variety of other motocross-inspired or offroad racing-inspired games. Others are just based on trial bike performances (with obstacles), or those based on professional motorcycle racing. If you’re looking for motorcycle games based on motorsports in real life, you might not find a lot of these.
- Verdict: Car games win this one, especially considering there are more games featuring car motorsports that can help fans immerse themselves in gameplay and narrative.
Racing Games: Answering the Car versus Motorcycle Debate
With the above points in mind, it’s important to remember that racing games focusing on both cars and motorcycles have their own sets of perks, advantages, and disadvantages. It’s how these elements can affect how we play the game that can really determine whether you should prefer car racers or motorcycle racers.
Both have similar mechanics but have very specific differences in terms of vehicle types tracks and sometimes gameplay options – and it’s more often than not that these specific differences can make or break your gaming experience. To conclude, both car racers and motorcycle racers are extremely fun to play, both offer interesting twists to the usual racing formula that can make every game and every match exciting to get into. And when it comes to whether you should play car racers or motorcycle racers, perhaps it’s all a matter of player choice and preference.
About the Author
John Lambert is a racing lover at heart – in fact, he could consider himself a frustrated motorcycle racer. With a dad as an auto mechanic, John has been enlightened in the world of automobiles and racing at an early age. Thanks to his writing degree, John has been using his writing skills to write everything about cars, motorcycles, racing, and everything in between. And hopefully, when he earns enough, he can buy his own motorcycle and go pro.