Driving (video game genre)
Driving is a genre of video games based on controlling vehicles like automobiles, boats, and airplanes, but also fictional vehicles like dragons and futuristic spaceships. Driving games are often grouped together with racing games, but I define them in a different manner. To me, a driving game is more about learning how to operate a vehicle and less about the fast reactions necessary for a racing game. In driving games, players are not timed or expected to out-perform opponents the way they are in racing games. By this definition, even though OutRun requires the player to drive a car, it should not be viewed as a racing game, not a driving game.
As a child, I just grouped all driving games into the racing genre because most games that involved operating a vehicle in the 1980-90s were legitimate racing games. However, video games branched out into more diverse genres like truck driving simulators and casual titles where the player just drives through an attractive environment. As I became more observant of video game mechanics, I started thinking of driving and racing as separate genres. The first moment in my life where I noticed this divergence was while playing Spy Hunter. I noticed that, although the game's theme encouraged fast-paced driving, driving at a leisurely speed was much more conducive to survival, and, since there was no benefit to driving fast or hindrance for driving slow, the optimal strategy to achieving a high score was to take it slow and focus on your driving (although, I now view Spy Hunter as a scrolling shooter). I'm generally even less of a fan of driving games than racing games, because they tend to be highly monotonous. In real life, I like driving high powered vehicles for short distances, but I don't like long hauls.
This is a list of driving games that are important to me. For all games in this genre, see the driving category.