Cars. They go vroom-vroom, and then they go really fast, and how do we live in a country where you basically need a car to make your life make any kind of sense? We could have light rail, but no, I have to have a car. I don’t really want a car. I never got a vote. The fundamental ordering of society does not start and stop at my convenience, but this is really not a great system, and you will not be hearing from my attorney on the matter, but I will be sad.
But you don’t just have to drive cars in real life. You can drive cars in a video game. Video games are, in fact, very fond of letting you drive cars! Let’s talk about some MMOs that let you have a car. Some of them are even all about cars. Others will make you wonder why in the world you can even have a car.
As a reminder, we’re talking about cars. A science fiction vehicle that hovers above the ground is very cool, but it is not a car. Steve Martin explains it right here. (Warning: cussin’.)
1. Grand Theft Auto Online
Look, you know there are cars in this game. If there weren’t cars, the title wouldn’t make any sense. You can’t steal a car if there are no cars. That’s how stealing works, Karen. Although at this point there are so many cars you can buy or own or infinitely respawn that I feel like the title is basically an artifact now anyway. It’s like how in the Saints Row games you wind up with a souped-up vehicle so good that you never steal cars any more, or maybe you just run at super speed. Is that in the reboot? I didn’t play the reboot. I heard bad things.
2. Auto Assault
My memories of this game basically come down to “I briefly played the free beta and it seemed kind of interesting but also weird and I wasn’t compelled to keep playing,” which is probably why this game lives on only in our memories. But you could drive a car. I know there was so much driving of cars.
I actually went looking to see if there is a rogue server for this game, and I actually found out that there is sort of one, but all you can do is drive around aimlessly. This is the first time this column depressed me. It is not the last. Somehow, a silly column about cars is depressing.
3. The Crew (and sequels)
I was always halfway tempted to get these games because the idea of just driving across the country in a nice car was kind of tempting. You might point out that the point of these games was, like… to race. These were racing games. You are supposed to be in a race. And that would explain why my temptation stopped there because I don’t want to drive around in a nice car badly enough to play a game where I am explicitly playing it wrong. The racing might be fine. I like racing games well enough.
4. War Thunder
“Now wait a second, Mr. Lefebvre, if that is your real name,” you say. “War Thunder is a game that features tanks and stuff. Those are ground vehicles, not cars.” And to that I point you to a whole category of vehicles that contradict you. Look at the GAZ-AAA. I’m sorry, gentle reader. That is not a self-propelled anti-aircraft vehicle; that is someone putting a gun on a truck bed and then claiming it’s a new vehicle. We’re done here. It’s a car. Embrace the car, War Thunder.
5. APB Reloaded
I have no idea how this game plays, but you do have cars! I kind of assume lots of games where you shoot at people with vaguely realistic weapons have cars because that’s kind of the whole drip. You get into a car, you all drive to a place where there are people to shoot at, you get out of the car, you shoot. Eventually one side or the other can’t shoot any more, so you hop back in the car. Maybe you go to the movies at that point? I may have spent too much time interrogating the inner life of player characters in APB Reloaded.
6. Fallen Earth
I know for a fact there are cars in this game. Heck, I remember when I was first writing for Massively-that-was I was convinced to go to a car show in the original version of Fallen Earth. Remember when we were all beyond pumped because Little Orbit brought this game back completely free while supposedly working on a full reboot and remake? That was so cool. Gosh, I miss those days. We were all so happy and assumed nothing could ever sever us. I hope Little Orbit’s staff reads this and listens to Cher and rethinks… you know. Stuff.
7. Final Fantasy XIV
So Final Fantasy XV is garbage. Remember, I’m a certified worth decider. But it’s really an awful game, and while I might joke about other games that are bad, most of the games in the series have redeeming qualities even if they’re not very good overall. FFXV, meanwhile, has only added one thing of worth by giving us a nice car to cruise around in Final Fantasy XIV. We know that other cars are canon in the world, since we see burnt-out husks of them around Garlemald, but this is the only one we can drive. For now.
8. Transformers Universe
9. Elite: Dangerous
Are buggies you drive around for planetary exploration really the same thing as cars? I say yes. For the purposes of this column, those are definitely cars, and they count as being wholly car-worthy. I don’t know if they’re street legal, but I don’t think you can actually land on any planets with streets in the first place, so it doesn’t come up all that often.
Actually, why don’t we have more games like that? Why can’t you drive your exploration buggies down streets? You know, we’ve had like seven thousand terrible shooters set in EVE Online’s universe that no one asked for, but why don’t we have just a fun kart racing game with tech buggies? Probably because the people who make these games think that hitting your opponents with a blue shell isn’t making you enough of a jerk. I’m sad now.
“The Firefall bus doesn’t count. It wasn’t in the game. A bus isn’t a car. Come on.” All of these are fair points, but the day the Firefall bus stops being comedy gold is the day that I am clinically dead. Look at that thing. Look at that horrible waste of money. Imagine getting on that bus. Imagine sitting down to play video games in that bus. Imagine being the person who was responsible for budgeting for this studio and seeing that bus on a line item and thinking, “Yeah! This was a good expenditure! I’m happy about the direction this company is going in!”
Rest in pepperoni, Firefall bus. We will never forget you or how Mark Kern has so flippin’ much to answer for.