“If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Marvel that is Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo Logo

I walked in on my son playing Playstation in the den, and he was too engrossed on this car racing game. I found out later that its title is Gran Turismo 4. Normally, I would have let him be, but the game was about cars so I got intrigued. It is not that I’m ignorant or I’m afraid to touch the console, it is just that those kinds of things are not my cup of tea. Well, anyway, I sat with him for about 20 minutes. And it turns out that it is not only racing that you can do in the game, you can also acquire cars by winning, unlocking or buying ‘em. That is pretty neat. And as I sat there mesmerized, he even surprised me further by telling me that you can even modify the cars. I’ve heard that Pimp My Ride, a show in MTV, already has a video game version, but I did not expect a racing game to be this expansive. It is very different from the games I used to play in the arcade where all you do is turn this way and that and press button to change gears. However, busy man that I am, I did not play. What I did though is look up Gran Turismo in the web and I found out that there are more than 1 installment of the game. I found a brief summary in Wikipedia, and here it is:

Gran Turismo 1

As the best selling PlayStation game ever Gran Turismo is a legend throughout both the masses of car simulation games, and PlayStation fans. Naturally, GT is the least sophisticated of the primary game versions. It has 11 courses and 178 cars, and includes arcade and simulation modes.

Gran Turismo 2

Released in 1999/2000 for the PlayStation, Gran Turismo 2 has 28 courses and some 650 cars, making it one of the biggest games at the time; it was released as a double disc due to its sheer size. It also has dirt tracks, Racing modifications (race colors, etc.), tallies the player's game completion percentage, and has the series' first real life track, Laguna Seca.

Gran Turismo 3

The first installment of the Gran Turismo series on the PlayStation 2, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (GT3) featured vastly improved graphics and new gameplay features, such as oil changes. It was released in July of 2001. The Gran Turismo Mode has a reorganized layout, with a more structured and progressive arrangement of races and challenges. As of December 2007, the game has sold 1,890,000 copies in Japan, 7,140,000 in North America, 5,840,000 in Europe, and 10,000 in Southeast Asia.

Gran Turismo 4

Gran Turismo 4 (GT4) was released in 2004/2005 with 728 cars and 50+ racetracks (including the Nürburgring Nordschleife), and the notable additions of installable spoilers (different from "racing modification" in earlier versions), nitrous oxide, a photo mode, an auto-drive feature dubbed "B-spec", and HD capability. An online component, originally intended, was not included.

Aside from those four, there are prologues, special editions, limited production installments and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue which is set to be released this spring. I told my son over dinner that one of these days he should teach me how to play. He laughed at me. He said I can assemble car from scratch but I will find it hard to know which way in his controller was up or down. He may be exaggerating, but I did not pursue the topic further. I’ll just walk in on him someday and demand that he teach me. For more information about the game, you can visit the official Gran Turismo website by clicking here.