Why It Doesn’t Matter If This Incredible-Looking Racing Game Is On An iPhone

Why It Doesn’t Matter If This Incredible-Looking Racing Game Is On An iPhone

Rob Murray knows you’re going to compare Real Racing 3 to the Gran Turismos and Forza Motorsports of the world. Those PlayStation and Xbox franchises stand as the two best exemplars of a certain kind of authentic racing experience on consoles. Their fans want to replicate being inside a car as much as possible. They get the racing wheels and the pedals and build special bespoke chassis that let them sit right in front of a screen.

And then there’s the Real Racing games where you steer by tilting a phone.

Murray isn’t worried about the difference in scale when you compare RR3 to console and PC racing titles, though. “I think we can really expand what the genre is.” He said when I spoke to him last week. “Everyone loves cars. Everyone’s got one, right?” And they’re all different, Murray expounded. Not everyone drives a Hummer or a Porsche, even if they’re lucky enough to own more than one kind of car. They’re interested in interacting in different ways. I think there’s room to expand what this genre is and what it means to people.”

What Murray’s team have been getting at is making a game that’s digestible in short sessions like an Angry Birds or a Fruit Ninja but one that looks as good as an Xbox 360 title. The challenge is implementing it on a device with no buttons, no pedals, no stick or steering wheels. “You think about the great TV series, the HBO dramas and stuff. They represent, in some entertaining way, some facet of life that fascinates us, whether it’s the Sopranos and the Mob or Boardwalk Empire or something like that,” Murray began. Those things already go through a filter. “It’s a dramatization. And there’s such an art to that. And when the drama is great, it feels authentic. You get immersed and that’s when you’re saying, “This is real.”

Players have been trained to think in abstract terms by console driving games, Murray told me, and the input methods they’re used to are actually quite removed from the car. “They move through their thumbs. It’s different but they have a great time,” he said. But Murray thinks tilting an iPhone feels more like turning a steering wheel.

I’ve seen those set-up and most people just can’t drive in them. They can’t drive like that. They’re not getting the feeling for the track. So even though those [elaborate racing set-ups and the games] go so far, they’re falling way short. And when people try and develop very authentic things, like for driver training and stuff, but I don’t think it actually necessarily creates a real racing experience. I think a great interpretation or dramatization, that is what creates a real racing experience.” He’s biased, of course, but Murray think that there’s genuine, bite-sized drama in Real Racing 3, even if it runs on a mobile phone.


  • If you tilt your phone to steer, then it DOES matter if it’s on an iphone. Good games need precise controls, and you don’t get that from Gyro or Touch Controls.

  • You tilt the phone to steer? So your changing your viewing angle while you play?

    Also how do you Accelerate and Brake? My guess is automatically, which for me in a racing game is not fun.

    I’m not knocking the game, I haven’t played it. But don’t tell me that Consoles are less realistic and than remove controls, I’m willing to say I can’t try entering a corner and yanking on the handbreak in this game yet I can in both Forza and GT and both those machines can connect a steering wheel if I’m that into it.

    • I was totally hopeless at this game (well the older versions) tilting it. I had heaps more fun playing with the on screen steering wheel and pedals. But in saying that, non-gamers had heaps of fun playing this with the tilt controls, they just had crap times. (that were actually better than my times trying to play by tilting)

      Obviously it’s better on an ipad as you can see more stuff without your mitts getting in the way but maybe the new iphone with a slightly bigger screen will make using the onscreen controls a little more bearable.

      The on-screen steering wheel kind of appears wherever you put your right thumb, it’s pretty neat. And you brake by pushing the top half of the screen with your left thumb, and accelerate by pushing the lower half of the screen with left thumb. It’s weird at first because you can’t feel buttons but you eventually almost get used to it.

      With tilt controls typically your accelerator is always on and you kinda push anywhere on the screen to brake. Or you can play in full noob mode with brake assist and accelerator assist, then you’re just steering.

      • By that logic, Citizen Kane is the same as an Uwe Boll movie because they are all movies that let you watch people doing things.

        • Yep, you can compare any two movies you like. You can compare a corolla to a zonda. The breadth of difference between them in the values you are comparing does not make them in-comparable.

  • I’m sorry, but no. Feedback is important. Even the spring of the controller thumb stick is better than no feedback at all.

    Not to mention a proper force feedback steering wheel with pedals, I’ve always said that playing a racing game without a force feedback wheel is like playing a band game without the instruments.

    The only input scheme that is inferior than this (for driving games) is the kinect, and not by much.

  • console gamers, myself included, tend to see mobile gaming as a threat, but really it’s just an expanded market. there’ll always be a market for both in my opinion.

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