I remember owning a NASCAR game on PC, back in 1994, developed by Papyrus and published by the mighty Sierra. I remember thinking it had great graphics (for the time) and enjoying the destruction-derby-esque gameplay – whether it was supposed to be played that way or not – but I really didn’t get the oval thing; I’m British, and I prefer my race cars to have to turn in both direction. Unfortunately Colin McRae Rally and TOCA Touring Cars were still three or four years away and the F1 games were unpleasantly technical, so at the time, NASCAR was all I had.
In the twenty-plus years that have passed, I can’t say I’ve noticed or paid any attention to a single NASCAR game, because playing the first game to death in 1994 left me feeling like I had an inner-ear imbalance, and turned me off the stupid left-turn-’em-up for life. Imagine my surprise then, to discover that not only is a new NASCAR game in the works – NASCAR Heat Evolution – but there have been nearly fifty NASCAR games in the intervening period.
Fifty! Fifty oval-racers! That’s insane.
NASCAR is frankly terrible to watch on TV and it’s even worse to play, and it really does prove that publishers will churn out any old franchise knowing that the fans will buy it in droves; just look at the terrible Rugby World Cup 2015 tie-in game. But you know, if you like turning left six hundred times in a race – and can still enjoy it at home, without the noise and the atmosphere and gallons of flowing beer of actually being at the track – then NASCAR Heat Evolution is probably the game for you.
To each his own.