The Average Gamer

Formula 1 2010 And My Formula 1 Gaming History

You can now get your hands on the latest Formula 1 game. Developed by Codemasters (who also made the excellent DIRT series of Rally games), Formula 1 2010 is the official FIA Formula 1 game for the 2010 season. As this has been a cracking season of Formula 1 to date, this game couldn’t have come at a better time. You can get straight into the action of crashing into your teammate like Sebastian Vettel or getting the team to hand you a victory like Fernando Alonso as you can’t pass your teammate ;-)

Rather than just post a load of screenshots and/or a video from Formula 1 2010, I thought I’d share my experiences of Formula 1 games since I started gaming back in 1984, so you can see just how much they’ve changed and finally wrapping up with a look at Formula 1 2010.

Grand Prix Construction Set (1987):

This was the first Formula 1 game that I played on a home computer. I had played played Pole Position in the arcades a number of years before, but that wasn’t a Formula 1 game. Grand Prix Construction Set on the BBC Model B Microcomputer featured 18 Grand Prix tracks as well as a track editor, which when released in 1987, was a unique selling point. I spent many hours creating and driving my own tracks. All in all it was a very basic game, but in 1987, it was amazing.

Grand Prix Construction Set - Pack ShotGrand Prix Construction Set - Splitscreen

Geoff Crammon’s Formula 1 Grand Prix (1992):

This game was a defining moment in the Formula 1 game genre. Geoff Crammond had almost single handedly created a masterpiece of a game, which for the first time recreated the sights, sounds and the world of Formula 1. You could drive round all the Formula 1 tracks featured in the 1991 season from a drivers point of view. Driving around Monaco was just a revelation of pure awesomeness! You simply weren’t used to that level of detail on and around the tracks. Everything looked pretty much how it did on TV. You could also choose from a selection of driving aids (automatic gears or braking) to help you drive the notoriously unforgiving Formula 1 cars. I remember the first time I turned off auto breaking. Yep, a huge crash soon followed as I careered into the back of one of the McLaren’s. Oooops! As the game wasn’t officially licensed from the FIA, you had to edit the drivers names yourself, but as the car designs and liveries were intact it was a minor chore updating the game to feel like you were racing real-life Formula 1 drivers.

I loved this game. I really did. My jaw dropped when I first saw Formula 1 Grand Prix running on an Amiga 500. At that time there was just nothing like it on any of the home computers. As it came on 4 disks, you had to be reasonably patient as it wasn’t the quickest to load, but it was huge amounts of fun to drive.

This game coupled with Stunt Car Racer proved that Geoff Crammmond was indeed a driving game genius. The only problem with Formula 1 Grand Prix was that it suffered from major frame rate issues. When there were a lot of cars on the screen (e.g. at the start) the game really struggled to cope and the frame rate dropped alarmingly. What made this situation even worse were the multi car pileups. Especially the ones with debris flying everywhere. This made the game a little difficult to play, but given how polished the rest of the game was, it was something I was prepared to forgive.

F1 GP 1992 - In-car ViewF1 GP 1992 - Magny Cours Track Layout

Formula 1 ’97:

In 1997 Bizarre Creations released Formula 1 ’97 on the original PlayStation. Tapping into the PlayStation’s graphical horsepower this game looked fantastic and included a previously largely overlooked feature, weather. You could now experience what it was like to drive in torrential rain with all the water spraying from behind each car. This really spiced up the racing, and certainly contributed to a few of my accidental crashes. I admit, it did spend a lot of time driving as Damon Hill making sure that Michael Schumacher’s car didn’t finish any of the races. Not a single one. I like to think of it as payback for when he took Damon Hill out in the 1994 Adelaide Grand Prix.

As far as the game was concerned, it did all the basics well and as I mentioned before it looked really good. However, as it was on a PlayStation it did feel like an arcade racer at times (like Sega’s Virtua racing), and a bit basic in terms of car configuration. F1 ’97 was more about getting in the car and driving than anything else (e.g. engine or aerodynamic tweaks).

F1 97 - BarrichelloF1 97 - Hill

I then dabbled with a few F1 games for many years, like Grand Prix 4 which is shockingly the last F1 game that Geoff Crammond has released and Formula 1 04 from Studio Liverpool on the PlayStation 2.

Formula 1 2010:

Which brings me right up to date and to Formula 1 2010. To see just how stunning this game looks, take a look at the launch trailer shown below.

In particular, I’m really impressed by the weather effects in the game.F1 2010 - Rain I know the developers – Codemasters – have been talking a lot about the weather effects and on this evidence I can see why. I can’t wait to drive around the Singapore track during a tropical rainstorm. That is going to be epic.

Certainly the game looks very authentic, with amazing levels of detail on both the cars and the tracks. Having walked around large parts of the Singapore Marina Bay street circuit, the Formula 1 2010 game really looks the part. You can see a comparison of a shot of turn 17 that I took in 2009 on the left against the Formula 1 2010 shot showing turn 20 on the right. Yeah, turn 17 is the corner where Nelson Piquet “crashed” his car to help Fernando Alonso win the race in 2009. Ok, it’s not a great comparison but I didn’t take any shots of turn 20 that I could match up. You get the drift anyway, it looks pretty accurate!

Turn 17 of the Marina Bay Street Circuit in 2009F1 2010 - Singapore Circuit And The Singapore Flyer

Formula 1 games certainly have come along way since 1987, especially in terms of graphical capability. I think the only thing missing from Formula 1 2010 is a track designer :-) How about adding one Codemasters?

Formula 1 2010 is out now on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.