They say you can tell a lot about a person by which camera viewpoint they use when playing racing games. Actually I just made that up, but it certainly feels like it could be the case given the amount of sledging I’ve copped over the years. It often seems like I am one of the very few people in the world to play racing games with a first-person viewpoint, with practically everyone else choosing a third person (behind the car) view of some sorts. For all the naysayers out there let me tell you this: you’re missing out.
Porsche Challenge in first person really makes you feel like you’re driving a Porsche
There’s just something about playing racing games in first person that heightens the immersion and gets the adrenaline pumping faster. I mean you can practically smell the burnt rubber as you drift around corners like you’re Lewis Hamilton. I’ll gladly admit that I am one of those people that moves from side to side with the vehicle when playing racing games when I get really into it. It may look a little ridiculous to any onlookers, but who cares how you look if you’re having fun (and dominating)?
From the days of playing Daytona USA and Sega Rally at the local arcade, to Porsche Challenge and Wipeout 2097 on the PS1 in the family living room, all the way to the present day where I’ve been tearing up the streets of Palm City in last year’s Need for Speed Heat, I have always preferred a first-person view, much to the chagrin of spectators. Hell, I’ll even drive in open-world games like Watch Dogs in first person if the game allows me.
Like clockwork, every time I play a racing game in the same vicinity as other people someone always asks “How can you play with that view?” My girlfriend is guilty of this whenever I fire up a racing game, and the first thing she does when commandeering the controller is to change the camera view. So I do the honourable thing and change it back when I get the controller back.
I remember playing Wipeout Omega Collection with fellow WellPlayed editor Kieran Stockton while having a few beers one night (don’t drink and drive kids), and him turning to me and saying “This is making me feel sick”, referring to the first-person view. Perhaps it was beers, but I do recall the racing feeling faster than usual that night – but Christ on a crumpet it was exhilarating. I mean sure sex is great, but have you ever completed a perfect race on Wipeout? There are very few feelings that give you that sort of rush.
Seriously, is there a better racing series than Wipeout?
I just don’t get the appeal of racing in third person (probably the only exception I am willing to make is Road Rash). Let me guess – you like to look at your ride while you drive? I mean sure the third-person view looks better in screenshots and is easier to watch, but from an enjoyment perspective there’s nothing more thrilling than fanging it around corners at 100 km/h in first-person. Racing in third person just generally feels slower and lacks the rush that first-person provides. It’s like choosing to drive an automatic when you could be
In saying that you know who is mad? People that use the cockpit view – where you can see the tachometer, steering wheel etc.. I may be an outlier using the first-person view but they’re a different breed altogether. I mean the view is mostly obstructed – if I wanted to go stare at a steering wheel I’d go sit in my own car.
At the end of the day I think we can all agree on one thing – it doesn’t matter what camera you use as long as you’re enjoying yourself. That, and first-person racing is far more superior and challenging than any other camera viewpoint (so two things. Or is it three?).
Need for Speed Heat delivers the thrils in first person
So if you play racing games, tell me if you think I am part of a first-person view cult who needs liberating and to conform to the third-person way of life. Let me know in the comments or on social media what you think or what camera view is your preference.