I'm not entirely convinced the first Gran Turismo was a great game. Phew! Glad I got that out of the way. It looked horrendous, cars were blocky as hell and the road and trackside objects would sometimes disappear, only to be replaced by clear blue sky. In fact, it was only during the super sharp replays that I thought "Wow! That's nay bad". Personally, I wasn't mightily impressed with this early form of 3D and I wonder if anyone else feel the same way? In my opinion it just wasn't kind to the eyes. I could see lots of clever things going on, but I couldn't get passed the 'Artex' like display. I didn't feel the horsepower either, it felt a bit 'pedestrian', I had a similar feeling with Porche Challenge, I guess I'm trying to say that I expected something zippier. I wasn't massively impressed with the car detail either, the car's you picked from the showroom look nothing like the actual car that lines up on the grid; to be honest, apart from the delicious replays, it just felt like a messy experience, mixed with bad sound effects and fantastic music.
For something that took five years to develop, it didn't feel like a finished product to me. I really wanted to like this game, but it's no fun racing around in family hatchbacks, or the equivalent to my father in law's S-Reg VW camper van. Petrol heads probably loved this sort of thing and I fully understand that I'm sitting firmly in the minority here, especially when you consider that GT went on to become Playstation's biggest selling title.
I think Kazunori Yamauchi's GT dream ultimately coexisted, competed and then blew away the then arcade culture, and ultimately set the wheels in motion for trends to come. Personally, I just didn't feel it. Crazy, I know, I've had this conversation many times; people think I'm joking; maybe I felt short changed or something. I bought GT half expecting an arcade experience, when in reality the clues were there, right in front of my face, loud and proud on the box: "Real Driving Simulator". I suppose the initial damage was already done the minute I played through the arcade mode, it was an absolute joke, a complete time waster, over in a flash. GT-Mode was your only viable option; the only true race and the place where you'd spend the next sixty or more hours.
I remember the game started with a measly 10,000 credits and the best car you could hope to afford at this stage was the equivalent of an Aldi's shopping trolley. All the good stuff was locked away, with race payouts that left me feeling like climbing a mountain might have been easier. Worse still, the ridiculous price for some of the cars! Did anyone even unlock all of these high priced monsters? Talk about restricting progress, it was only my continued obsession with a pixelated DB7 that kept me going through this lacklustre experience.
Another thing that I find massively arrogant is that Polyphony continues to ignore requests for car model damage, which I find ridiculous when you consider the likes of Codemasters and Bizzare Creations have been smashing polygons together for as long as I can remember. The AI in the game was, and still is, laughable. The other cars stick to the track like a Scalextric and there's literally no change between the different versions; the menu and graphics constantly receive updates, but the game essentially remains the same, with a few extra tracks thrown in for good measure and let's not even debate the tedious licencing system!
I'm up for a challenge, mad for it, that's why I parted with my cash on day one, but the enormity of the challenge has to be an interesting one. To begin with, it didn't capture my interest in the same way Outrun, Burnout or MSR did. I'm up for realism, but not getting anywhere fast in a game that I felt encouraged me to drive badly, massively puts me off. It's not the simulators fault, or the programmers, they did everything asked of them, it's just not a great game and I found it boring!