Those who know me know that cars are not a big interest of mine. I know how to drive them and rent them sometimes, and I haven't wanted to own one since I was a teenager. But I'm working on an article now about car-hacking -- getting in there and changing the engine computer to make the car faster, or even more fuel-efficient. It's damn interesting!
One of the coolest things I learned about is the huge influence that video games have on the real world. The top game titles, like Gran Turismo, Forza, and Need for Speed are pretty much flight simulators for cars. Not only are the race tracks exact reproductions of real, famous tracks, but the cars are real, too. The game developers work with the car makers to insure that the virtual cars drive and sound just like the real thing.
The cars are so good that people want to buy the real thing.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and the Subaru Impreza WRX STI, for example,
weren't originally sold in the US US
The latest development --not just simulating how the stock cars work but how they work after you soup them up. Game-makers are now working with aftermarket parts manufacturers and tuners so they can simulate how different parts, or even engine tuning, will make the virtual cars run. I got this info from David Vespremi - a car fanatic and author of the book Car Hacks and Mods for Dummies. "It's almost as if I'm test-driving both the car and the modifications in the game," he said.
And aftermarket companies are buying lots of adds in driving games, said David, who does marketing for an air-filter supplier.
Avid believe that video games, not flicks like The Fast and Furious, are what stoked popular interest in car modding and racing. "You have this whole generation of kids tinkering with cars in games, and when they get a real car, it seems natural."