Can We Turn Driving into a Game?

It’s not really a surprise that many video games are based upon driving experiences. Whether its racing around a track or chasing down bad guys on the screen the use of vehicles in video games is meant to help make the games more fun and allow for a better overall experience. Can we then surmise that we can make driving on the roads in our area into a game as well? Do we have games in our vehicles or at least gaming inspired features to make those of us who grew up with video games more comfortable on the road?

Right now we see several gaming inspired features being installed into some of our favorite cars to give us a screen and display that seems comfortable and familiar to us. One great example is the Nissan GT-R which has a central display screen with graphics that were designed by the same team that created the Gran Turismo games for Playstation. This display appears to be nearly identical to the head up display from the game giving any gamers the screen they enjoy seeing from the comfort of their own couch at home. There are other ways games are being injected into our driving, here are some examples:

Hyundai Veloster Blue Max Game – In this game the Veloster offers an application in the settings of the car that awards points for efficient driving. When a driver costs, changes to the right gear and accelerates or brakes smoothly they are awarded points in this game. Different Veloster owners are then able to compare scores to see who the most efficient driver is in the group. While this doesn’t compare to a race around the track it does promote good driving habits, which is something many of us could use more of.

Mustang Line Lock and Track Apps – In newer Mustangs you can actually learn how to perform burnouts without spending weeks practicing or reading the owner’s manual. Ford installed a performance package with track apps in these new cars to give you a video game-like interface to use which allows you to use the electronic line-lock function of the car. This app will teach you how to perform the burnouts you’ve always wanted to be able to do and will have onlookers jealous that you can produce a ton of smoke from you tires when you head out to the track.

Corvette Performance Data Recorder – Using a camera with data overlay you can now compete against others on the track or against yourself as you try to improve your lap times each time you head to the track. Do you remember the last time you took a lap in your Corvette and your buddies didn’t believe the speed or times you told them? Now you have the tool and the fun of racing in your Corvette at your fingertips in which you can playback your laps and show off the speeds and times you achieved in order to show off back in the pits.

Chevrolet Volt Balance Ball – Talk about an advanced version of Pong. The Chevrolet Volt has a display on its electronic gauges that appears to be a balance ball. The idea is to keep the ball in the center of the bar in order to maximize the efficiency of the vehicle. When you accelerate too quickly or brake too suddenly the ball will move up or down and show that you’re not driving efficiently. If you achieve the goal of keeping the ball centered in the bar you will have achieved the most efficient way to drive the Volt.

Ford Efficiency Leaves – In the hybrid and electric cars from Ford you will have a similar game to the balance ball from Chevrolet. As you drive these leaves will grow on your screen and the more efficient you drive the more leaves appear. In most of the vehicles once you reach a specified level of efficiency flowers will bloom on the screen to show you’re being even more efficient than every with your driving. In the Focus Electric instead of flowers you will have butterflies show up on your screen to indicate the level of efficiency you’ve achieved.

08.10.16 - Gran Turismo 5

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