Some Call it Zed, Some Call it Z

I am haunted no more. That's right, the agony is over. If you
read the recap from June 3rd, you may have remembered me talking
about buying a 350Z. I had said that it felt like various
companies were spying on me by featuring 350Zs in every
advertisement: Microsoft with Forza, for instance and Meguiar's
with their leather cleaner wipes. It was pretty painful stuff to
endure, I must be honest.

Well, yesterday the pain came to an end and I am very proud owner
of a beautiful 2006 350Z. Essentially, for the past couple of
years, this has been the car of my dreams. A modest dream, as you
can see, since it isn't the status quo Ferrari or Porsche. But
hey, this is the car I've wanted for years now, and I finally got
it. I'm definitely in love with it and I really couldn't have
asked for anything more out of a vehicle. On top of that, it'll
also feel exceptionally nice to own a car that I can actually
select and race in a videogame, seeing as how Maximas were never
once featured in any racing game.

Where's The Beef/Cream Filling?

Before I began writing this very portion of the column, I decided
to go out for a little leisure Sunday night drive. After my drive
ended, my main thought of the week came to me; when will racing
games replicate the feel of an actual car? The obvious answer is
clearly; not for a long time. While Gran Turismo gives us the
proper physics of a car, emulating its characteristics, there's
still an enormous gap in feeling it. Sure, steering wheels now
have proper 720-degrees of rotational spin and on top of that
force feedback…but that gap is still quite large.

It dawned on me today, the Z gives me the taste of adrenaline in
my mouth. You know, that almost battery acid like taste that
develops on your tongue and saliva when your blood is rushing and
your adrenaline is going. It's not that I was driving fast,
because I swear on it that I wasn't. It's just that immense
feeling of sudden and rapid acceleration that drives your head
into the back of your seat. Polyphony Digital does have those
simulator machines that you sit inside and play the game on three
screens, and Subaru frequently uses at auto shows, but those
things cost in the thousands, and are practically impossible to
come by – not to mention they're quite large.

While people bash on Gran Turismo's sense of speed, it's actually
the only game that renders speed accurately. Other games tend to
exaggerate sense of speed with blur-effects, or just flat out
speeding up the game altogether. But in reality, sense of speed
is more than just how fast your car is going, it's a culmination
of the screaming engine, the burling exhaust, and that feeling of
G-forces (as minuscule or grand as they may be) that really
defines sense of speed. There's a reason why most people aren't
afraid of going excessive speeds in videogames, because there's
no sense of fright. And there'd be fright if the sense of speed
was present, but in a much more physical and involving way – as
outlined above.

Still, just like all of my other entries, I don't mean to bash
videogames. It's just me simply looking ahead at what's,
hopefully, in store for the industry. Videogames are beginning to
teeter on the edge of photorealism, especially racing games, and
with that will come the task of eventually accomplishing a proper
simulation of driving/racing a car from the comfort of your home.

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