Monday, September 19, 2016

In the Beginning Part 1 - The Playstation Years


As a first post on this blog I thought I'd share a little bit of background on how I got where I am now and what led me to buy my GT-R in the first place. Hopefully this will make it easier to understand why I focus on certain things and make certain choices, so bear with me while I take a stroll down memory lane with this short 3-posts series.

If you are born between the mid 70s and late 90s and call yourself a "car guy" you must have heard of or played the Gran Turismo video game series at least once. By the time the first episode on the original Playstation came out in 1998 I was 14 years old and, after convincing my mother that spending half a month worth of her salary on a videogame console was a good investment, I could finally grab a copy of the game everybody was talking about.

1997: the hype was strong
The game was absolutely impressive for the time it came out: great graphics, a ton of fun and an impressive amount of details. The way each car was meticulously reproduced down to the smallest details/options strongly appealed my OCD - the whole game felt like a little encyclopedia.

BCNR33 vs NSX Type S Zero
But the biggest surprise (at least for European and American players) was the car selection: the game was clearly developed for the Japanese market and Kazunori Yamauchi (the main developer) couldn't afford buying the expensive copyrights for the prestigious European makers. The car lineup was filled with names unheard of and machines that most of us had never seen in real life: NSX, GT-R, Supra, Lancer, Impreza, RX-7, FTO. The cars not only looked super cool, but boasted performances that could compete with the more rarefied European exotics. 

Beautiful replay camera
An excellent sequel (Gran Turismo 2) followed and, in July 2001, the third installment, GranTurismo 3 A-spec, was released on the newest Playstation 2. The graphic details made a quantum leap from the previous versions: everything looked super-sharp, with real time reflections on the cars bodies and a very realistic (for its time) physic engine. The game also exported Japan motorsport tradition to the rest of the world with the JGTC machines. 
Nothing looked more futuristic than this
By the time I was 16 I had literally spent hundreds of hours lapping the various tracks, reading the car manuals and becoming a self-proclaimed JDM guru. This, combined with my passion for basketball and adolescence-inducted idiocy, led me to fail at passing my first year of high-school and barely make it through the next years. Let's just say that my mom wasn't a Playstation fan. At all.
Gorgeous graphics
But it was the early 2000s and more cool technology was becoming available to keep us away from the textbooks. More on the next post.

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