News Culture

Here Are the Best Car References in Non-Driving Video Games

There are plenty of great video games and sims that are all about cars. But sometimes it's fun to hunt for cool cars where they're simply side characters.
Street Fighter SNES (via Gaming Jay/YouTube)

This week’s Quick Question asked: “Which non-driving video games have the coolest cars?” Our readers had some good suggestions, we’ll share a few favorites here.

The Famous Car-Smash Stage

Street fighter. Lexus ~ Just Here (also referenced by paul_c_78)

The unlicensed Lexus lookalike in Street Fighter II has long been a favorite cultural reference point. Here’s a good video of the famous “car-smash stage” in the game:

Racing Driver Versus Nazis

The Saboteur, bar none. Pre-war Grand Prix cars, armored cars, weird french stuff, all wrapped up in pretty decent driving physics if I remember correctly. ~ our own James Gilboy

I had never even heard of this open-world WWII-setting GTA-style game from the Xbox 360 era, but this 13-year-old review does indeed have some good driving clips.

Post-Apocalypse Parking

The Fallout series was referenced by Jason Spears, Matthew Malowany Forbes, and John Smith. In fact, we sent out a whole post dedicated to the cars of Fallout 4 back in 2015!

This video has a good closer look at some of the vehicles in Fallout, the classic open-world wasteland game.

Jeeps on Jeeps

Far Cry 2 had actual licensed Jeep Wranglers and Liberties in it, which was really weird considering you could hijack them and use them to commit vehicular homicides, usually stuff like that is avoided with license deals in games. The other strange thing was all of the other vehicles were non-licensed knockoffs, so the Jeeps stood out even more.

Some of the older Tony Hawk games had licensed Jeeps too, you could grab their bumpers and they’d drag you down the street, good way to get a big speed boost for a jump.

Vin Diesel’s 2008 masterpiece The Wheelman (sarcasm) featured a lot of driving so I’m not sure it counts, but it’s kind of like a GTA knockoff, and has a Pontiac G8 as the main character (don’t tell Vin Diesel I said that) even though it’s set in Barcelona.

Alan Wake had a shit ton of licensed vehicles too, but like random uncool things like a Lincoln MKX or a Ford Fiesta sedan. ~ Cody Stewart

Vehicles are an essential element of the Far Cry series, where you run around an blow things up and complete missions (like every other video game, right?) Far Cry 2, however, notably featured licensed Jeeps as one commenter pointed out. This one resonated with me because I absolutely loved this game in college and I also remember thinking how strange it was that you could drive a super-detailed Jeep Liberty while pretty much every other brand reference was fake.

Here’s a bizarre fake Jeep Liberty ad somebody made with the game and uploaded to YouTube:

Honorable Mentions

Max Payne, Rainbow 6 Vegas, and the recent Hitman reboot also got called out as having some good cars despite not being driving games. Anything else we missed?