Formula One video games
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Ever since Pole Position in 1983, Formula One has always played a part of the racing genre in video games. Geoff Crammond's 1991 simulation Grand Prix played an integral role in moving Formula One games from arcade games to being full simulations of the sport.
Early roots and arcade games
The roots of Formula One games can be traced back to the 1970s, with arcade games such as Gran Trak 10 which depicted F1-like cars going on a race track.
However, the first successful Formula One game in arcade history was Pole Position, by Namco. In Pole Position, the player has to complete a lap in a certain amount of time in order to qualify for a race at the Fuji racetrack. After qualifying, the player had to face other cars in a championship race. The game was very successful and it spawned an official sequel, Pole Position II, and an unofficial one, Final Lap. After the success of Pole Position, many similar games appeared in arcades (and later ported to home computers) such as TX-1.
During the late 1980s, arcades began being dropped in favour of home computer games. Late successful arcade games can be considered Super Sprint, which uses the top view instead of the rear view of most games, and its sequel Championship Sprint.
Dawn of the home computer era
The first true Formula One racing simulators were Chequered Flag and Geoff Crammond's Formula One Grand Prix (F1GP). Chequered Flag featured fuel depletion and car damage, and a set of several real circuits. Previously, most racing games representing Formula One, such as Accolade's Grand Prix Circuit and Electronic Arts' Ferrari Formula One, had been arcade-style games, but F1GP paid more attention to the physics of the cars, in addition to innovative graphics and accurate rendering of the actual racing tracks. The game, released in 1992, was based on the 1991 season. Over the years, the game had sequels Grand Prix 2, 3, and 4 (based on 1994, 1998, with a 2000 update, and 2001 respectively).
A notable place on PC simulation games is held by Papyrus' Grand Prix Legends, which depicted the 1967 Formula One season instead of the then-current season, like all other contemporaries. It recreates in a very accurate way the physics of the car and the feel of driving a real 1967 Formula One racer: for this, even after many years, it is still considered one of the most realistic games ever made. The game still has a vast popularity among video gamers, with many mods and original circuits being produced.
Beginning from the second part of the 1980s more games were being created for personal computers, which could guarantee an easier and less expensive development.[clarification needed] Most of these games featured racetracks, cars and driver names similar to the real ones, but all modified slightly, since they didn't have official licenses from FIA. Examples of this are Super Monaco GP (and its sequel Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II, which had a license to display only Ayrton Senna's name) or Nigel Mansell's World Championship, but many other less known games had similar features.
The first half of the 1990s saw a growing in popularity of Formula One games, and many software houses began acquiring licences and display most real names and cars, for example Formula One by Domark, which featured most real tracks, drivers and teams.
The 3D graphics revolution started by Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix didn't go unnoticed by the console market: some software houses began developing games in this style like Sega with its Virtua Racing, and later Namco with Ace Driver: Victory Lap (which featured futuristic, F1-like cars).
The first 3D game to feature a full license was Formula 1, developed by Bizarre Creations and released on PlayStation, the first game of the successful Formula One series. Despite the game being a mostly arcade game rather than a simulation, it was very well received; later the series moved towards a more realistic race approach. Other Formula One games released around the same time include EA Sports F1 Series and Video System/Nintendo's F-1 World Grand Prix and F-1 World Grand Prix II.
While Formula One games in general are strict reproductions of the sport regardless of gameplay style, Codemasters' F1 Race Stars was the first to bring Mario Kart-style gameplay to the setting, while their official license from FIA (which the company has held since 2009) allowed for the teams (complete with their respective sponsors) and drivers from that year's season to be given a cartoonish makeover.
Modern PC simulators
As the trend towards open source software has increased, developers have realised that many video games users like to add their own features to the games, and many modern PC racing games have become easier to mod. Games such as rFactor, although not primarily a Formula One game, have become somewhat of a development stage. rFactor players can download several mods for various F1 seasons, including "classic" seasons such as 1955 and 1979. The game's makers, Image Space Incorporated, have worked with the BMW Sauber F1 team to introduce a realistic version of both the F1.06 and F1.07.
Sony had held an exclusive license to make Formula One games from 2003 until 2007. Before that it was held by Electronic Arts and before that it was Microprose and the Grand Prix series. It is now held by Codemasters, who have released games based around the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 F1 seasons.
PS2 and PS3
After Formula 1 was released on PlayStation (PS1), F1 games were then taken over by PlayStation 2 (PS2) and Xbox. The first being Formula One 2001 for the PS2, and PS1. In 2002, EA Sports released a video game called F1 Career Challenge for PS2 and Xbox which runs from the 1999–2002 F1 season with all drivers from each season.
In 2003, Grand Prix Challenge was released by Melbourne House and published by Atari. It was well received by critics. Although unknown by the most F1 gaming fans, it was praised for high quality graphics for its time.
After Formula One 06 was released on PS2, Sony Computer Entertainment and Studio Liverpool released a new version for the PlayStation 3 in early 2007 called Formula One Championship Edition. Codemasters has already released a Formula One racing game for the 2010 Formula One season.
Codemasters after securing the Licence in 2008, created F1 2010 which was released on the Xbox 360 for the first time. This is based on the 2010 season, and features all the official drivers and circuits. The game was released in September 2010, and was also released on the PC and PlayStation 3. A sequel to the game - F1 2011 - was released in September 2011 and was updated to feature the new drivers and circuits in the 2011 Formula One season, upon which the game was based. The game was initially available for Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. In November 2011, a version of the game was released for the handheld, Nintendo 3DS.
A list of Formula One video games that lists only those uses the F1 name, whether it is licensed by the Formula One Group or just F1 in name; is licensed by racing drivers and teams involved within the series otherwise featuring sprites that resemble a Formula One car in a way to get around licensing, featuring deliberately misspelt driver and team names; is named after a Grand Prix race that appear in the F1 calendar or those that features races that appear in the F1 calendar.
- "Formula 1 Simulator". Moby Games.
- "Formula One". Moby Games.
- "F1 Spirit: The Road to Formula 1". Moby Games.
- "Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix". Retro Games.
- "F1 Spirit: 3D Special". Moby Games.
- "Ferrari Formula One". Moby Games.
- "Super Grand Prix". Moby Games.
- "Nigel Mansell's World Championship". Moby Games.
- "Grand Prix Unlimited". Moby Games.
- "Formula 1 Sensation". Moby Games.
- "F1-Racer". hol.abime.net.
- "F1 World Championship Edition". IGN.
- "Formula One Masters". Moby Games.
- "F1 Manager 96". Moby Games.
- "Pole Position". Moby Games.
- "Power F1". Moby Games.
- "Formula Grand Prix: Team Unei Simulation 2". GameFAQs.
- "F1 Racing Simulation". IGN.
- "Prost Grand Prix". Moby Games.
- "Johnny Herbert's Grand Prix Championship 1998". Moby Games.
- "Official Formula One Racing". Moby Games.
- "F1 World Grand Prix". Moby Games.
- "F1 Manager 2000". IGN.
- "F1 World Grand Prix 2000". IGN.
- "F1 Manager 2001". IGN.
- "Williams F1 Team Driver". Gamespot.
- "F1 Team Manager Online". F1-TM.
- "F1 2009 release dates announced". Codemasters. 2009-10-02. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- "Sumo Digital is responsible for the PSP & Wii versions.". virtualr.net.
- Barton, Dustin (2009-06-15). "The Unofficial CM/Developer FAQ". Codemasters. Retrieved 2009-03-14.