Retro

[RIP PS2] The PS2 is Faster than a Car

[The PS2 is now officially discontinued! We wanted to give this mighty system a proper farewell so we’re dedicating an entire week to it.]

This week we are celebrating the anything and everything about the Playstation 2. It was an amazing console and it can only be fitting that the system gets a proper sendoff. So today I thought I would share one of my favorite segments of a little known British show called Top Gear.

In this motoring show in which a group of 3 men of all different sizes take to the track and try to accomplish amazing feats like turning a car into a boat, that also happens to still be a car. One segment however showcased what the Playstation 2 could truly do; It could go faster than a car.

In sending off a tribute to the Honda NSX in 2005, Jeremy Clarkson pitted a real car vs a digital one that he drove in Gran Turismo 4, and well, you can see the results above.  It is entertaining to see the winner, but more so because of the analysis of what Polyphony Digital was able to recreate with the power of the Playstation 2.  He famously wrote that “This game would only be more real if a big spike shot out of the screen and skewered your head every time you crashed.” That’s kinda what Gran Turismo had become:  Almost real.

It is something more than that, though. It actually gives you the only thing a game truly can: the experience of driving something true to life without leaving your seat while maneuvering the toughest tracks in ways that are impossible for some drivers.  This experience in such realism hadn’t yet been accomplished before the PS2.  Sure the earlier Gran Turismo games, among others, did an excellent job, but was there a technical quality to this extent? Certainly not.

Polyphony Digital may have come out on the Playstation, but they matured their product on the Playstation 2 with two of the finest racing games created.  So fine, that it could accurately recreate some of the best details of the world’s most dangerous tracks.  The PS2 finally offered a true to life racing sim that could showcase all of the realism that driving offers without having to ding up your Honda.

If you want to see more of Top Gear or of this episode, they are on Youtube, Netflix, iTunes and Amazon.

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