My 5 Favorite Fictional Rides from Video Games
Video game designers create some amazing fantasy worlds. Here's some of my favorite "fictional" vehicles to help you get around in them.
When I’m in the gaming mood, nothing impresses me more than seeing the detail and overall artistry and craftsmanship in designing some of today’s modern games, including the crisp realism and car design in newer games like Forza Horizon 4, but I also love to see when imagination runs wild in fictional car design for games that aren’t designed to mimic a real-world racing experience.
These include some favorite sci-fi movie cars, cartoon classics and old school retro video game nostalgia. Here are my five favorite fictional vehicles from the video game realm…and yes, you can drive them all:
Number 5: The Mario Karts go-karts
Since Nintendo launched its first Super Mario Kart game in 1992, this simple go-kart racing game has been a popular way to run yourself off a road, spin in frustrating circles, and trash talk your friends and family, all while playing your favorite Mario characters from Yoshi to Bowser. The games just keep getting better, with new characters and abilities for each new game releases (Mario Kart 8 gave us anti-gravity racing…WHEEE!). Last year, the first mobile version, Mario Kart Tour, was introduced, but no matter how advanced the graphics and options get, there’s just something satisfying about the simple fun of driving these little over-sized characters around in their karts, no matter your age.
Our old Princess Peach kart can't keep up with the anti-gravity option in later Mario Kart games, but she tries. Image: Lisa Tate
Number 4: The Stingray from Borderlands 2
The gritty space western shooter game created by Gearbox is on its third version, and this looting, battling story-driven adventure has “looted” more than $1 billion in the United States alone. There are also some really groovy vehicles you can drive.
The coolest is the Stingray, a one-man hover vehicle that includes a front-mounted laser, rear turret to set as a flak cannon (a cryo-rocket launcher) depending on your needs. If you're able to get it to jump or get airborne by triggering a vertical thrust (I can't do it but my daughters are pros at it), you can body slam anything under it.
Borderlands 3 has some interesting rides, too including the driveable dune buggy-like Outrunner, and one of the bosses aptly named "Badassasaurus."
Director Eli Roth is currently working on a Borderlands feature film, and I am certainly looking forward to seeing a Stingray or two in it.
Number 3: The Disney Infinity collector vehicles
The Disney Infinity series was a parent’s worst nightmare and collector’s dream, as every playable main character required the purchase of a cool stylized Disney figure. Marketing genius, it was. This could get both addictive and costly over time. However, what made this so cool was the intermixing of various Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel worlds, including one special world and adventure devoted to Radiator Springs and the world of Cars (with its own individual action figures, of course). However, this game also featured a ton of “power discs” featuring everything from backgrounds to abilities….and a lot of Disney themed cars. You could collect power discs to drive Mickey’s "Toon Town" Car, Mike’s car from Monsters Inc., the Hydra motorcycles of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and more. They discontinued the game after Version 3.0 in 2016. This was is fine with me because, frankly, we were running out of shelf space.
Car collecting is almost as fun as playing the game Disney Infinity game itself, with everything from playable figures to code cards and power discs. Image: Lisa Tate
Number 2: The Rage series Mad Max killer cars
The post-apocalyptic first-person shooter game where players fight for pretty much everything on a Road Warrior like wasteland resulting from an asteroid hitting the Earth, includes getting to choose and pick your own vehicles for racing and traveling, which you get to add mods and upgrades to as you go. There are four or five models you can use, such as a Dune Buster, rat rod or and ATV option. The Cuprino especially has that Mad Max vibe. There's even a multi-player "Road Rage" mode where you can take advantage of all the nifty upgrades in a berzerker free-for-all match. This game came out nearly ten years ago, and finally got a sequel in 2019, Rage 2, with even more crazy car choices.
Number 1: The Batmoblie from Arkham Knight
Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham games are not just some of the darkest, most detailed and intense Batman games created, but they area also some of the coolest Batman stories out there, with Joker taking over Arkham Asylum…and Arkham Asylum eventually taking over Gotham City. Several versions of the Batmobile have been featured in the game, but in the 2015 Arkham Knight story, we finally get a full first person driving experience of “The Car,” complete with more weaponry, sped and independent suspension for each wheel. According to some reviews, fans loved the look and features, but others felt there was too much reliance on the Batmobile in this game. Not for me. You can’t have too much driving around in The Batmobile in my world.
One of my bucket list pipe dreams is to get to drive a real life Batmobile someday, even for just a short while (see My Batmobile Diaries). Until then, getting behind the wheel in Arkham Knight is the closest you can get to doing that.
Promotional concepts of the Stingray from Borderlands and one of the post-apocalyptic vehicles of Rage 2. Images © 2K Games and Bethesda.
Since many of us are doing a little more gaming than usual lately, I would love to know what your favorite “fictional” vehicles are from video games.
Keep safe, but keep on rollin’, even in virtual worlds.