I Drove My Childhood Favorite Racing Game In Real Life

I Drove My Childhood Favorite Racing Game In Real Life


When I was a kid, one of the video games
I played a lot was Need For Speed II. Actually, it wasn’t even the full game.
It was a demo version that came on a free CD with
a monthly computer magazine. ANNOUNCER: “Three! Two! One!” The demo only had one car and one track, but I played that one track a lot,
in the way that kids do. Or at least, the way that kids did back before the internet gave them massively multiplayer
and regularly-updated games for free. I knew how to take every turn, I could make it all the way through the big
downhill section near the end without having to take my
foot off the gas. Or my finger off the up arrow. And I knew all the short cuts and secrets. The graphics seemed better back then, although that’s maybe just because they were
on a slightly fuzzy CRT monitor. And having spent so much time
playing that one track, as a kid, I wanted to somehow explore the world, I wanted to park up, get out of the car and
have a close look at, say, the totem pole next to the car park. It turns out the developers of Need for Speed II
were based here in Vancouver, Canada. That track was Vancouver and the area around it, or at least, a very simplified
version of it. But I didn’t put two and two together until
the first time that I was right here and realised that I’ve sort-of seen this before. And now, I can do exactly what that
young version of me wanted to do. I can drive bits of that track,
but more importantly, I can get out and explore. So I rented a car, and I drove roads that
I sort-of recognised. Admittedly in a sensible SUV, not a Ford GT, and I can’t actually cut a corner past
Stanley Park’s totem poles in real life, but: it’s a very strange experience. After Stanley Park, the track goes on
to Lions Gate Bridge. And I remember thinking that a 270° right turn
straight off a bridge would be ridiculous but there it was. The second half of the track is
up the Sea-to-Sky Highway and then back downhill at ludicrous speeds, and then down Terminal Avenue, with the Skytrain
speeding past and Science World on the left. I didn’t know what the names of those things
were when I was a kid, I just knew that I wanted to be
in this seemingly-futuristic city and go for a ride on that train. Decades later, I did. And then there was the section in the middle. A long straight along a seawall,
with a lighthouse at the end. And I really wanted the option to
look at the ocean view from there. I thought that it would
probably be spectacular. And, yeah. It is. I do have a point to all this nostalgia. The designers of that track, the artists from Vancouver who created that
simplified, low-polygon version of their city, I’m willing to bet that they never thought
that, nearly a quarter-century later, they’d have this sort of effect on anyone. And I’m almost certainly not the only person
who’s played that game and then stumbled across the real version,
and found that they have an odd connection to this place. All the things that we create, whether you have a big audience or whether you’re just making stuff
for the folks close to you, sure, maybe those things you make
will be forgotten. Or maybe the things that you create will get
laid down as someone’s long-term memory, and affect them a lot later in their life. So: make nice things. Try to give people something
they’ll be nostalgic about, not something they’ll flash back to. You never know what impressions you might
be making for the future. ANNOUNCER: “Best lap!” GPS: “Turn left onto Stanley Park Drive.” I really just want to do 100, 150 round here.

100 Replies to “I Drove My Childhood Favorite Racing Game In Real Life”

  1. I got to drive a white van around the circuit at Monaco years after I'd mastered it on computer games.
    I knew where every braking zone, bump and apex was.
    Amazing how often in life you get to live your childhood dreams.

  2. Assassin's Creed 2 was the same for me when I visited Italy and stumbled on the landmarks that were in the game.

  3. "Try to give people something they'll be nostalgic about, not flash back to" -Tom Scott

    "Why not make a hell-ridden version of a city that gives people nightmares, referencing enough structures of the city to cause flashbacks when they visit?" -Some jack*** dev watching this video.

  4. Haha i see the lamborghini cala racing in that nfs clip. It was never put into production. The gallardo looked better anyhow and had a v10 just like the Cala. Toyota i think nicked some design ideas but totally tamed it for the year 2000 model Celica.

  5. Same for me: I knew several parts of London and San Francisco way before I went there, thanks to Midtown Madness 2. I didn't thpugt about it since then again, but it was a great feeling!

  6. Seriously, you make some of the best content on YouTube. I'm a huge fan of the way you dive into and tell about many different subjects. Thank you. 👌😊🏆

  7. I lived in Edinburgh a year after Project Gotham 2 came out, spent most of my time just walking all the different routes in the game, good times.

  8. As an independent author I really relate to the sentiment in this, Tom. I'm constantly surprised by the people who email me about my stories.

  9. And a teardrop fell…! Were I in Vancouver, I'd rebuild that track with tons of details for a modern racing arcade 🙂

  10. The exact opposite experience of living in Edinburgh then driving around it in the London Taxi (?) game which had all the landmarks but all in the wrong places!

  11. new years day we would hold a lan party, NFS2 se and panzer command were our two top games, 8 computers at once was mind blowing at the time, cool that the places are real, thanks for sharing

  12. For the true Vancouver experience, do it in a Lamborghini with an N sticker on it (newly licensed driver). For more pop culture nostalgia about our fair city, check out the video for "what's so funny bout peace love and understanding" .

  13. "So, make nice things. Try to give people something they'll be nostalgic about, not something they'll flash back to. You never know what impressions you might be making for the future."

    Thank you so much, Tom Scott, for letting me hear this. It's life changing and means a whole lot to me, as an artist and someone who is still developing social skills from years of withdrawal. Truly a good day to you! (✿◠‿◠)

  14. I had the exact same feel when I drop through the tunnels on CA1 Coastal highway a few years ago. The real feel of nostalgia is better when you it comes unexpectedly.

  15. I've been to that totem pole place! Ughh, it's so annoying to know had I gone at a different time, I would have met Tom Scott!

  16. I had the same experience with a different game demo that came free with something…can't even remember the name of it, but it was racing game with snowmobiles.

  17. I like when the videos sound more like you're speaking to a friend, than instructing a class. Feels more engaging

  18. This is exactly how I felt after playing The Getaway for PS2. When I went to London in real life, I was hit with so much nostalgia from playing so many hours in a virtual recreation of the city. I wanted to go see all the places I remember from the game. Honestly, that's what made my trip, seeing all these places that I've felt like I've been before despite only ever having seen them in a virtual world.

    It really is an amazing feeling. I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one to have felt this way after finally traveling to a location you've been familiarized with through a video game.

  19. As a game Design student, this kind of message really means a lot^^
    I'll try my best, Let's see if someone will get nostalgic for the things I work on some day.

  20. I can relate to this so much!
    I also played that same demo from a CD in a computer magazine a LOT.
    But i never knew it was based on a real place.
    Maybe i get a chance to be there one day too.

  21. Great video Tom. I am fortunate enough to have programmed many UK pub fruit machines; which, decades later, players have written emulators for and people on forums talk about with much nostalgia. Mostly a misspent youth or playing at a seaside arcade with their parents. I never intended for some assembler or C code I wrote to actually move someone enough to remember it 20 years later but there we are. It is a nice feeling and I am happy that I made others happy too.

  22. I've always gotten great feelings from you, Tom. Always felt that you and I would mesh well and could chat forever, this makes me feel even moreso like that because I as well played demo versions of Need for Speed. A few versions later, sure, but nonetheless, I got great feelings from this video.

    I hope to bump into you someday and wish you well.

  23. As a kid I used to play GTA San Andreas and never even thought it was based on a real place. Then, when I grew up I visited Los Angeles and all these memories came flooding back. Now I would know what it really felt like to steal cars and murder prostitutes in this wonderful place from my childhood. It was every bit as moving as I hoped it would be. Great video Tom. Grove Street for life. Brap brap.

  24. I wonder if modern kids will be this nostalgic about GTA 5 and want to revisit their scenes of online gaming crime where they shot their dealer and stamped on their head or pushed a prostitute out of a helicopter. Ahh…. The memories.

  25. Unfortunately the games that make me nostalgic are either based in fictional areas or are way too big of a dream that I’ll never accomplish.

  26. Playing GTA vice city and then actually going to Miami really blew my mind. Almost like a phantom dream, I knew the streets, buildings, and land marks. It’s hard to explain to someone that you’ve been to a place before, know it well, but have never actually visited.

  27. I've always wanted to be inside a female, I went to a prostitute and it became reality. (with a rubber)
    Too bad reality rarely is as good as you expect it to be.
    That's why it's a nice habit to underestimate things. Always expect things to go worse then you expect them to be, that way you are less likely to get dissapointed and hurt yourself.

  28. Oddly the devs wanted to do the opposite. They drive by and see this stuff all the time so what better then to drive round it as fast as you can.

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