With virtual reality headsets and 3D gaming on the rise, it’s easy to forget that ‘back in the day’ we only had blocky pixels and a limited colour palette to work with, the rest was up to our imaginations… That’s right, we’re looking at you Commodore 64, with your misleading game boxes!

Of course modern racing games are a world away from this 8-bit experience, but it took years of trial and error to get to where we are today, so let’s go on a nostalgia-fuelled journey into the past to see how Formula One games have evolved.

In the beginning, there was ‘Grand Prix Circuit’ on the Commodore 64, widely considered the best racing game ever it offered challenging game play and an incredible soundtrack.

Later, in 1995, the 32-bit Sega Saturn gave us ‘F1 Challenge’ with the nice added bonus of customisation options and some snazzy low-resolution sponsor logos.

Playstation’s contribution was ‘Formula One 97’. This was the year of the new controller with joysticks and despite not ageing well, this game did have a few nice little touches such as a proper driver’s eye view – complete with visor oil splatters for that real immersive feel.

The arrival of the eyetoy camera let players of ‘F1 05’ on PS2 use their own face when creating a driver profile, a pretty nifty feature that made the game just that bit more personal. There were even interactive pit stops and online races for the competitive players among us.

Around 2009 was when portable gaming really started to take off; ‘F1 2009’ on the PSP was an arcade-style game without the amazing physics we have come to expect in recent years but it still had a lot of ‘pick-up-and-play’ appeal for the casual gamer, plus the introduction of KERS.

Fast forward 4 years and we get ‘F1 2013’ for the PS3 and Xbox 360 which impressed players with its looks, sounds and overall feel to provide a cracking F1 experience with plenty to keep you interested, including a great choice of classic cars and tracks. This was also the year the Playstation 4 and Xbox One were released and since then we have seen games just get better and better, with graphics that truly blow you away. A recent Formula One game on these consoles is ‘F1 2015’ which is super realistic, responsive, authentic and thrilling.

Since the first wheel accessory was introduced back in the 90s, technology has advanced to the point where a full realistic simulation is just what we have come to expect of modern F1 games. It’s certainly exciting to think of what they will invent next and we can’t wait!

Check out the insanely cool infographic below on how far F1 racing games and consoles have actually come:


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