Driven to Distraction by Gran Turismo

I've always liked Gran Turismo. Ever since the first version on the Playstation 1 I've enjoyed it. Of all the car games I've played it seems to capture the spirit of driving better than any other. I was a particular fan of the PS2 version, I even bought the force feedback steering wheel with the game on the day it came out, which must have been nearly seven years ago.

So, on Saturday I bought the Prologue version for the PS3. I was expecting it to be good. I wasn't expecting it to work with my nearly seven year old steering wheel. But it is and it does.

Once you've played a driving game with a proper steering wheel you can't go back. My first ever attempt at this was with the Mad Catz wheel for the Playstation 1, which I used with the original Need for Speed. I blu-tacked the thing to my desk and had a whale of a time getting caught by the cops. They only had around four or so "cuff and stuff" videos for when you got pulled over, but they were great fun none the less. The actual wheel was a bit primitive, what force feedback you got was provided by a large elastic band, but the sensation of driving was much better. I've been through a few odd devices since then. There was that strange Necon twisty thing, and a very odd jogcon force feedback controller which sort of worked. But nothing beats a real wheel.

I never got around to buying the wheel for the Xbox 360, maybe I'll get one some time. But with Gran Turismo a steering makes the whole thing like driving. It is hard to turn when you expect it to be, and you can feel the weight of the car shifting on the tyres as you go into corners. You can even feel the front wheels letting go at the start of a skid. I've spent far too much time today trying to coax my little car into third place on one of the B series races (the solution for me was to ignore the racing line and just blast around the outside of the track) but I've enjoyed every minute of it. If you have a PS3 you really should have this game. And a steering wheel.