Video: 1999 Pennzoil Nismo GT500 GT-R from Gran Turismo 7
For most car enthusiasts the passion came about through traditional means like car magazines, visiting car dealerships, roaming car shows, watching cars on TV or the movies, or perhaps from being sat on your dear dad's lap as he tried to prove to you that distracted driving is alright as long as it's done with parental love (Sorry dad, it's still not okay). For many relatively young gearheads though the catalyst that turned an interest into a true obsession was another thing entirely – playing video games.
Count me among that group. When I was a kid I eagerly read Car and Driver, Automobile, Road and Track and whatever other magazine I could get my dirty paws on. I swapped stories with friends about cars we dreamed of owning and looked forward to seeing different cars friends or family would be driving when we met up.
What really turned me into a raging fanatic though was a single video game: Gran Turismo 2.
I played video games well before the Playstation came out but eons of being given a drubbing by my much older brother – because that's what you do when you're siblings – and just generally being a scrawny kid who sucked at sports convinced me I was crap with anything that required good hand-eye coordination and reflexes. Until GT2 I kept to playing RPGs and strategy games thinking I was better suited to their slower pace and thoughtful nature.
One day though I got a copy of Gran Turismo 2 – bootleg of course like all games in the Philippines back in those days – and became instantly hooked! I'd tried other driving games before like Pole Position, Test Drive, and Outrun but they all felt arcadey and I never gave them a serious effort because like I said, I thought I sucked at them.
GT2 was different. Here was a game where there was a ton of cars that were rendered in amazing detail for the time, a large selection of tracks, and fairly realistic physics. It also had reams of info about the cars that a knowledge-hungry brat like me absolutely craved the way other kids wanted candy.
But best of all, this game wanted to teach me how to drive properly! Instead of giving me its entire selection of fast racers and tracks right at the start and forcing me to figure out how to win on my own this bizarre game gave me just enough money to buy a cheap and slow as a half-frozen turd econobox and had me do license tests.
License tests! That shit's for the DMV to do! Who's the lunatic who thought this would be fun?
But strangely it WAS fun! Instead of just expecting me to figure things out by myself GT2 gave me helpful into then step by step it taught me the skills to be a faster driver. Pretty soon my obsession with the game took me from being the guy who always crashed at the first corner in Outrun to showing off to my friends how I could kick the tail out on my Calsonic Skyline as I blasted through the esses of Grindelwald on my way to yet another victory.
And the rest was history. Since then I've bought a small collection of cars, done a lot of real-life racetrack driving including on several world-famous circuits, and met a huge variety of people and visited many places all linked to my automotive obsession.
Not bad for a guy with fumble fingers so bad finishing the first level of Super Mario Brothers seemed like a historic achievement.
And it was all thanks to Gran Turismo. No surprise then that I've continued to be a fan of the series since those ancient days of the first PlayStation. Sadly although I've had plenty of fun with later installments the succeeding games never seemed to quite capture the magic and fun as much as the second game did. I even skipped GT Sport entirely on PS4 because I didn't care for its online only focus.
Then came Gran Turismo 7. I picked it up on day 1 but had to finish another great game – Horizon Forbidden West – before tackling it. That meant I missed much of the downtime and microtransaction controversy that hit the game shortly after launch and had an even better experience for it.
Thanks to new high payout races and bonus money from completing circuit challenges GT7 has me reliving those old glory days huddled with my PS1 and squinting at a small TV trying endlessly to score more credits to buy another car for my virtual collection. Except now the squinting isn't needed because GT7 shows everything in glorious 4K ultra high definition.
The graphics are so good that one of my absolute favorite features of the game isn't even part of the racing – it's the Video Scapes feature that lets you select a car and just watch it drive through gorgeous scenery or famous race tracks endlessly.
I like it so much that I recorded some of it to watch on my computer even when I'm away from my PS5. After I did that I had the idea of compiling all the cool scenes and the great info for a particular car and throwing them all together in one video. The car I chose for this first video is a classic dating back to GT2: the 1999 Pennzoil Nismo GT-R.
Turismo fans will know this car well. If you aren't familiar with it
then please enjoy the video!
If you liked the video please leave a like and/or a comment and I'll try to make more compilations like this as time allows.
Thanks for reading and drive safe, whether in real-life or virtually!