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28 May, 2024
Gran Turismo 7 PS5 cover

Top 5 Retro Driving Games that Inspired Gran Turismo 7

Gran Turismo 7 is one of the biggest driving sim releases of the past few years. The Playstation exclusive title is the seventh title in a long-standing series with an impressive pedigree. Although there have been some well covered issues with the game’s launch, Sony has announced that they’re working on a patch to address them. Apart from its own legacy, though, it’s hard to separate GT7 from the greater history of racing games. From high-octane arcade drivers to the first physics-based sims, the game wouldn’t have been what it is today without the retro racers that came before it.

Here are five of the best retro driving games that inspired and influenced the creation of Gran Turismo 7.


Outrun Cover Art

It may not have defined the racing genre but Outrun definitely made it cool. It was a simple game with a simple concept: get behind the wheel of a bright red Ferrari and speed through the courses looking as cool as possible. The sheer fact that you got to pilot a pixelated version of one of the most coveted automobiles of all time was enough to make arcade-goers drop coins in its sit-down cabinet endlessly. It’s thanks to this Sega-developed title that we come to expect the best supercars to be featured in racing sims like Gran Turismo 7.

Daytona USA

Daytona USA gameplay

Though its predecessor, Virtua Racer, was one of the first polygon-based racers, Daytona USA took it to the next level. With much higher detailed graphics and a more realistic racing feel, this Sega title gave gamers a real taste of the future of racing titles. And the figures spoke for themselves as Daytona USA became one of the highest-grossing racing games of all time. For gaming historians, playing Gran Turismo 7 can’t help but invoke some fond memories of zooming through the tracks of Daytona USA.

Sega Rally Championship

Sega Rally Championship Cover

Gran Turismo 7 focuses a lot on Rally type races in part because of how popular the concept is with sim racing fans. There’s no doubt that Sega Rally Championship had a hand in making that happen. Though it didn’t feature any named car brands, the classic arcade rally racer made speeding through off-road courses accessible and downright addicting. Later sim games, including the GT series, would improve upon the concept, making it one of the most popular driving subgenres today.

Need for Speed

Need For Speed

The Need for Speed series has had one of the wackiest runs in gaming history. With so many spin-offs, one has to wonder if, ultimately, it ever had a true identity. One thing all of its titles did have in common, though, was street racing. Driving through open roads, with or without obstacles, felt liberating and empowering in NFS, and it’s precisely this aspect that also makes the concept work in Gran Turismo 7. It’s also no secret that GT7 is one of the most accessible among the driving sims out there, a design choice that’s also found in some NFS games.

Test Drive

Test Drive Cover Art Xbox

Many developers of classic games have attempted to replicate the actual experience of driving a car in their games. Test Drive was arguably one of the first to get very close despite technical limitations. Though its later iterations performed relatively poorly in sales, the original few games had mechanics that simulated car driving operations such as gear shifting and cornering. Test Drive was also one of the first series to feature licensed cars extensively, which is one of the core reasons we play Grant Turismo 7 today.

Should I Play Retro Racing Games If I Like Gran Turismo 7?

Absolutely, yes! Exploring the roots of gaming is always a good endeavor when you want to get the most out of modern titles. For one, they give you a greater appreciation of how far gaming technology has come. With racing games specifically, it’s also fascinating to experience the evolution of virtual driving. It clues you into the ways developers attempted to replicate the real act of driving, which now have culminated into the creation of robust racing sims like Gran Turismo 7.


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