Haynes have traditionally published detailed manuals for DIY mechanics, but for a while now have been gradually increasing their range of car books by covering less technical subjects. One great example is their recent Track Day manual, which covers all you need to know about getting you and your car ready for track days. Now they’re entering the virtual world with the Haynes Driving Games Manual.
If you’re a fan of videogames as well as cars then you’ll love this book. It covers the entire history of racing games, from 1974’s arcade classic Gran Trak 10, all the way up to Codemaster’s latest Race Driver: GRID. Released as a hardback and written by João Diniz Sanches, the book also includes a foreword by Bruno Senna, nephew of the late, 3-times world champion Ayrton Senna.
Broken down into decades it tells you the top arcade, PC and console games of the time, with over 700 titles covered on 44 different formats. I was amazed at how many I remembered and had played – Pole Position, Revs, Outrun, Formula One Grand Prix, Sega Rally championship, Grand Prix Legends, all of the Gran Turismos, Colin McCrae Rally and more. There are over 450 screenshots and images included in the book, and they really do show how much graphics and the sense of realism have improved in those four decades.
The Driving Games manual is not just about the history of videogames. There’s advice in there about improving your skills, from picking the best racing lines to making the most of overtaking opportunities. There are also circuit guides and tips on setting up your car.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was like taking a trip down memory lane as I spotted all of those familiar titles. It also makes me wish I had more spare time to enjoy the latest crop of racing games, including upcoming titles like Gran Turismo 5 and Forza 3.
Haynes: The Driving Games Manual is priced at £19.99 on the Haynes website, but places like Amazon are selling it for quite a bit less.