Games about driving (not racing)

I‘ve been putting some time into Snowrunner these last couple of days and it has left me thinking, why are there so few videogames about having fun driving that are not about winning races in a circuit? For those who don’t know, Snowrunner is a game about heavy duty trucks centered around the idea of traversing difficult terrain. The easiest way to explain is basically Death Stranding but with vehicles.

I remember back on the PSX/PS2 days we had stuff like Driver, Stuntman and even classic arcades like Outrun or Crazy Taxi, which are about being fast, yes, but not about winning races. These days, only outlier in this regard I can think about are Snowrunner itself, Euro Truck, and maybe stuff like Trackmania and Beamng, to some extent.

I just want a game about having a chill time driving under street lights at night maybe doing some odd jobs (tofu delivery!?)

What do you guys have in this regard? And by the way, I'm looking for recommendations!

I have heard good things about My Summer Car, and have been meaning to check it out. I’ve avoided it until now as I usually try to stay away from Early Access releases. I much rather play a thing when it is ready, rather than half play it and then probably never come back once it is complete.

Supposedly My Summer Car is just about to exit early access however, and people I know that have played it swear it is a good time.

There’s also the Truck Simulator games, but I don’t think they are really my cup of tea.

An odd choice but I just love driving and vibing in Deadly Premonition. That game has such a strange other wordly feel and I love driving around in it despite you always being on a knife edge of the car just freaking out all over the place.

I like driving in GTA 5 for the same reason. The lighting is amazing and it has a great sense of place. The vibe is ruined by the hateful little satire bits on the radio but if you turn that off, you can have a great time.

The Shutokou Battle games let you drive round the Tokyo expressway without forcing you to race which is cool.

All of which is to say, they don't make a lot of games where you just drive and not race and frustratingly you have to get that experience by not engaging with 90% of the features of specific games.

I really liked Destruction Derby 2.

It has the normal races, but the focus for a lot of people was the Wrecking Racing mode. Where you’re awarded points for destroying the other cars, crucially not in arenas, but on the normal tracks.

This means the first thing you did was start going backwards to keep your engine out of harm’s way, and wait for the other cars to crash into you while they lapped normally.

It was also a lot of fun to park yourself at the exact landing point for some of the insane jumps. KABOOSH!

You’d see the cars remaining number count down, while your points racked up. Then it was a case of hunting down that one remaining car who was stuck in a pile of other wrecks. This was fun too, as you’d probably lost about three wheels at this point.

I played in this way for tens and tens of hours.


Ooh, and also Halo! I love the driving in Halo.

It’s a bit rubbish in Infinite though. Not as heavy, with little rocks pinging you about more than they probably should.

I‘ve wishlisted a couple of indie games in Early Access that might fit, but they probably don’t feel as good as some of the more polished non-racing driving games out there.

There's a Quebecois game that feels a whole lot like a rougher My Summer Car called Mon Bazou. It's got a bit of the crusty Early Access charm in there. The map is a paper map in-game and getting around requires you to get familiar with the roads and practice landmarking. It's very easy to get lost despite it being so small.

Been curious about The Long Drive but it's kind of hard to find opinions on it beyond the >!terrible meme!< Steam reviews.

@“JoJoestar”#p68213 Would you recommend Snow Runner? The comparison to Death Stranding has me intrigued. My favorite part of DS was the traversal.

@“tomjonjon”#p68247 Definitely recommend it, it‘s lowkey one of the best games of the last generation. Only caveat is that it can demand more patience and attention than Death Stranding, and it’s kinda more punishing with mistakes. On the other hand the mechanics are a lot more fleshed out, there are more options and it‘s a better game than Death Stranding overall, Kojima’s thing only has the edge on the presentation and narrative aspects imo.

Double Steal the Second Clash is my favorite game about tooling around in a car

@“Chopemon”#p68220 came here to mention this one–glad to see it's already been brought up! This is probably the most “realistic” simulation of the melancholy mundanity of driving that I have every experienced in a video game.

I‘ve played scores of hours in The Long Drive. It’s very good for what it is. There‘s some scatological “humor” in the game but if you can ignore that you’re basically driving across an infinite landscape finding vehicles to repair and drive. It's unconventional. One drawback to The Long Drive is that is has “everything is a physics object” design, and some of the core systems (like moving liquid from one container to another) are very error prone and easy to mess up because you hit something against something else. One of the core tools for the game (a bit of hose needed to syphon liquid from one container to another) is hidden and not tutorialized at all, so you gotta read a guide. That said, once you have a functional car and can go longer distances, you really start to have….some kind of fun. Rolling up on abandoned diners filled with abandoned cars. etc.

The other game I'd recommend is Jalopy. which is a story driven The Long Drive, about driving a Trabant through a bunch of countries and across boarders. It's very good. Perfectly simulates rolling into town at 1am to get a hotel room. During one playthrough all my tires went flat on a mud road in the middle of the night, in the pouring rain. During my playthrough I was able to start upgrading my car with cosmetic stuff and speed parts, which was also fun. Jalopy's cargo and item placement is a lot better thought out than The Long Drive, like if Blendo Games made it.

Sadly you can no longer get this on steam, but Fuel, a game set in a massive game world. At the time it was the biggest videogame world you could drive through. Kind of a weird off roading game. However I had fun in free roam mode on the back of a motorcycle just kind of exploring everything.

I think BeamNG counts. There is racing in the game but it isn't as fully featured as the game's main draw, which is Very Satisfying Car Crashes. Every part of the car is simulated. I do end up just driving around empty maps aimlessly for hours and that's enough for me. The game does feature a lot of very good fake cars, which smash up real good.

Beamng totally counts! In fact I just had the best time doing a bit of the car delivery mode this morning.

My summer car, Mon bazou, The long drive and Jalopy are all games of a particular subset that are definitely on my radar. I actually got a copy of Jalopy but I've been having some problems getting it to work.

Thanks to everyone contributing :)

I had heard of and since forgotten about Jalopy. I might check it out soon

The Simpsons: Hit & Run always comes to mind as fun game to just drive around in. Going to locations from the show, interacting with joke objects, and driving with characters while listening to their funny dialogue. All of these elements give the game a sense of place, like you’re in your own episode. I think it stands out as a great piece of Simpsons writing and was probably the closest to capturing the spirit of the show compared to other games.

I‘m currently addicted to SnowRunner and I agree that it feels very much like Death Stranding mechanically and I guess I find it compelling for some of the same reasons. It doesn’t have the weirdness of Death Stranding, of course, and I kind of wish they'd put you somewhere fictional and strange for one of the DLC packs.

I've always been terrible at racing games and find it hard to enjoy them. The last one I really played much was F-Zero on the SNES. I don't know that I'd want a game that's nothing but driving but I guess I like it when it's a major element in a game and done well (as with SnowRunner).

Dang it there was a game I saw previewed that seemed similar to The Long Drive and Jalopy but I remember you had a station wagon, and some more supernatural/horror type stuff, but I can‘t remember what it was called. I don’t think it's out yet but not sure.

One of the games I always look for at arcades is Fire Truck (1978, Atari). I am sure there is a rom but the cabinet setup is great and wouldn't want to play it any other way. It is a 2 player co-op driving game. In fact, GamesRadar claims this is the earliest game with co-op. One person sits up front and drives (steers/gas/breaks) the truck and the other stands behind them and steers the tiller to adjust the swing. The object is to drive as far as possible without hitting anything.

I believe the Barcade on 24th Street in NYC still has one. I spent a lot of time on this one with friends and co-workers.


I just thought of another game that might fit here, Burnout Paradise. It included some racing but when I played it a few times I mainly just drove around and explored, which was fun. I particularly liked the motorcycles. I didn‘t care for the music, though, and even turning it off unfortunately didn’t disable the title screen song.

I played this demo during Steam Next Fest last week. I can't speak to how it holds up to other driving games with drifting in years past, but I can say that I did have a good time just driving around.

@"yeso"#p134969 I came back here to post Motor Town too! It feels a little rough around the edges, but it's got a nice island to ride around in.

I had been (and still am) looking for a game to drive around in and kinda hang out with on my Steam Deck. Those two feel promising for offering that experience, but I also had a nice time with Lake. You only drive a mail truck, but it feels appropriately weighty as a large box on wheels.