Driving games are a fast-growing trend, but the difference between playing a video game and actually driving a real car is huge. The experience in most modern games is nothing like speeding along the open road or hitting that one perfect hairpin turn. Instead, players can run into traffic, avoid pedestrians and drive through buildings without any consequences — not to mention the fact that they’ll never get pulled over for reckless driving or have any points taken off for not wearing a belt.
PlayStation, Xbox, and PC games are responsible for the rise in popularity of driving sims, a genre that includes everything from racing and combat titles to Japanese-style car manufacturing simulations. While the core gameplay mechanics on these games mimic real life, there are plenty of differences between simulations and reality.
- All the Rules Are Out the Window
In a video game, there are really no rules. Players can drive wherever they want and operate the vehicle however they feel is best. There is nothing to stop them from crashing into as many pedestrians as possible or making as many illegal U-turns as they deem necessary. A real driver has to follow traffic laws and make sure he doesn’t do anything that could get him pulled over for running a red light or going over the speed limit.
- You Only Need to Hit Single Keys
Most video games have a set set of controls to interact with the vehicles. For instance, in Gran Turismo, a player has to press the “brake” button, the “reverse” button, and “power” to start driving their car. If a player wants to take off from a race track or slow down, they also have to press the “throttle” button in addition to hitting one of the other control buttons. It’s a lot of work, and it makes driving a car seem more difficult than it really is.
- You Can Drive on All Sorts of Surfaces
Video games don’t have set patches of grass, gravel, or sand that players can drive on. Instead, they tend to have an enormous variety of terrains and surfaces that vehicles can drive on with no issue. These include city streets, dirt tracks, and the middle of the ocean. Without any boundaries or flooring, it’s even possible to drive straight-up buildings.
- You Won’t Get Tickets for Speeding or Not Wearing a Seatbelt
In most driving games, it’s not necessary to worry about getting pulled over for speeding or having points docked off your license for not wearing a seatbelt. The player can speed wherever he wants and drive without putting on his seatbelt, and he will never get a ticket or be punished in any way. In a real car, the rules are much stricter, and any minor violation can lead to serious consequences.
Driving a real car is a lot different than driving on a video game, and it’s easy to see how playing these games can hurt people. In the end, the only way to be ready for real-life is to learn how to drive on a simulator in real life or take lessons from instructors.