Unlike simulation racing games that focus more on physics engines, the concept of arcade racing is to have fun driving in high-speed motion, bumping into cars, and crashing opponent vehicles into brutal explosions. A fast-paced racing game built for enjoyment is the top priority of the arcade, and by adding a slice of unrealism to it, arcade racing becomes an awesome experience to play.
If you want to feel the adrenaline rush of racing by drifting and shifting your gears like a pro, arcade racing games will provide a profound experience. However, you can tweak some games for a realistic approach too.
Best Arcade Racing Games of All Time
Jump in action and drift around the tracks with style in these seventeen best arcade racing games of all time.
Mario Kart 8
Collect the mushroom and blast off your opponent into the horizon. With forty-two ranges of charming characters to race. Be the best racer in the town and compete with friends for the race cups on whole new forty-eight race tracks.
Every course has its unique theme and race mechanics, making racing more exhilarating. From the classic NES game Excite Bike to the Zelda theme of Hyrule castle, the race track is a homage to the old-time classic game to the new Nintendo franchise.
Racing with friends has never been so exciting and frustrating at the same time.
With crisp-looking visuals and tight, responsive controls, Trackmania Turbo delivers a compelling arcade racing experience that is both fun and easy to pick up.
Trackmania Turbo is all about speed and defying the gravity on tracks. Lifting off on the air and landing on the next track makes the game insanely stimulating and what makes the game so exciting.
You can also create your own track and compete with your friends to test your driving skills in your meticulously thought out but chaotic tracks.
Driving five moves away from typical simulation games to more player accessibility. Dirt 5 offers upgraded graphics and much more tameable handling since it’s arcade racing. With its four-player split screen feature, Dirt 5 is more fun to play with friends and families.
Wreckfest is more about brawling your cars for your opponent’s ultimate destruction than it is about racing. Wreckfest takes the concept of destruction derby and FlatOut and revamps the gameplay into a chaotic race of wrecked automobiles.
Every vehicle has its maneuverability, with heavy cars wrestling down other vehicles to pave the way, whereas small cars are swift and nimble but brake control on collision. The wreck also has a range of weird and wacky automobiles to suit the crazy theme of the game.
T-boning another car at high speed and seeing them tumble and break apart is one of the most satisfying experiences you can have amongst the range of mayhem you can perform in Wreckfest.
Need For Speed: Most Wanted
Race your cars in the open city of Fairhaven and open new secrets as the game encourages you to perform insane stunts and also rewards you if you do so.
Most Wanted is a never-stopping, fast-paced, speed-racing game where you can experience the thrill of getting chased by cops in the middle of street racing, and it continues even after the race is finished. Players are free to roam around the streets of Fairhaven with or without friends.
The best part of Most Wanted is that you can drive any car from the very start. If you can spot the car chilling on the corner of the street, you can drive them. However, some cars are restricted during street racing; it’s always fun to drive high-speed cars while escaping from the police.
Split/Second is the prime example of an overly top-action racing game on steroids. There’s so much destruction going on within the track that it is hard to focus on the race, and that’s one of the various challenges you will face in the game.
With towers and water tanks falling in your direction to a freaking airplane crashing at you, it hypes up the adrenaline to the max while dodging them in a close window of chance makes a rewarding sensation of satisfaction. The game feels like straight out of Michel Bay movies with non-stop action.
Burnout Paradise Remastered
Burnout Paradise is all about owning the city by unlocking shortcuts, customizing vehicles, and wreaking havoc in the street to dominate high scores.
There are over 72 vehicles that you can crash, customize, and race through the city. With hundreds and twenty events scattered around the map, you never feel a shortage of challenges, and if you feel like not completing the challenge, you can always move to the next one.
Speed your cars and smash those billboards to achieve new ways to reach places. You can also drive motorbikes or remote control cars while listening to the awesome songs of past burnout games, including some new ones too.
Burnout Paradise Remastered is a playground of racing car games where you can smash cars to unlock and spray paint them to give them a personal look and go on becoming the best city racer.
Forza Horizon 4
The changing of seasons brings new challenges, and online events are held all the time. Forza Horizon 4 brings the features of online multiplayer interactive to the world.
Forza Horizon 4 is shared among all online drivers where you can compete against or cruise through the world without distraction. You can also switch seamlessly from online to offline without losing progress, but playing online always rewards you with a second in-game currency useful for purchasing rare cars and emotes.
Cruise through the open world of Britain and explore the changing season in Forza Horizon 4.
Out Run 2
Out Run 2 brought the excitement of driving from its predecessor and added a lot of new ways to have fun while racing. Out Run 2 was the most visually pleasing racing game and still holds up today for its clever gameplay features and smooth drifting mechanics.
While Outrun was the driving game with 2D pixel sprites that expanded, Out Run two completely went full 3d and also recreated some scenery of OutRun so players could feel the beauty of the first game.
With eight beautiful Ferrari models that look and feel different, players have the ability to unlock them and race to complete different objectives.
Sega Rally Championship
Sega Rally Championship was one of the first games that brought arcade racing games into the console. Players were able to play the arcade version on the console while other games were just ripping off with low-quality arcade racing games.
Sega Saturn really brought out the charm of an arcade racing game by giving players a racing game that holds true to arcade style and also provided bonus features such as split screen and customization of parts.
All the cheesy music played in the background while you steer your car on the track is part of the charm of Daytona USA. Setting up an eight-player Daytona setup and competing against one another made the game a memorable moment in the history of racing.
Daytona USA was the most ambitious game focusing more on realistic driving with complex mechanics, including force feedback so that players can feel the bumpiness and collision during gameplay.
One of the critically renowned games of the past, the Virtua Racing game, was highly regarded as a revolutionary game that took Sega to create a whole lot of games under the name of Virtua, such as Virtua cop, Virtua fighter, and so on.
With its low poly graphics and polished gameplay, Virtua Racing made a booming market where players can experience the intensity of getting into F1 racing. There are four camera views for racing. Behind the wheel, chase view, an overhead head, and a helicopter view.
Among all the views, behind the wheel is considered the most immersive as it puts you in the backseat of the driver controlling the steering wheel. No other game could recreate the sensation of racing kart like Virtua Racing; that is why it won millions of players’ hearts by giving them the sensation of racing on the tracks.
The game is an insane roller coaster of rides where you loop, jump and race vertical side tracks in a high-speed jet.
It’s a fast and exhilarating experience as you slam your opponent’s vehicle or boost out of their attacks. Using the boost is the main source of speeding and winning the match, and it takes a risk strategy of when to boost for ultimate or slow down to hard turns.
This challenging gameplay of managing boost makes the game a lot more interesting. F-zero X takes the racing genre to a whole new level by adding all the physics-defying features for fun and fast gameplay.
Hot Wheels Unleashed
The game recreates the track building and racing that every Hot Wheels fan dreamed of. With the huge expanded racing tracks that revolve around one corner of the room to another, Hot Wheels Unleashed gives players the freedom to drive in any way and rewards their driving skills with shortcuts and new locations.
With its one-to-one recreation of model cars that wears down just like in real life, the game uses an amazing use of details in their car models, down to the model number and manufacture date that we can find under model cars.
Aside from its pure wackiness of gameplay, the game also has features of building your own race tracks where you can drift and race with your friend in split-screen mode.
Ridge Racer Unbounded
Doing massive property damage while racing to victory is what Ridge Racer is all about. With different race types held in the city area of Shatter Bay, you will lose in the game for hours demolishing buildings, support pillars, gas trucks, railway stations, and your opponent’s cars.
The game is more about maximizing points by wreaking havoc on the city and completing challenges the game sets.
There are challenges to complete, such as time trial, frag attack, and normal racing, but nothing beats the satisfaction of drifting and destroying your opponent’s car by building up the boost in Domination racing.
One feature that makes the endless game hours of reliability is its city builder, where you can create your own tracks, and the track editor, where you can transform tracks in an entirely new way.
Star Wars Episode 1: Racer
The game implies a sense of speed through its fast racing tracks, maintaining the balance of speed and control. Pod racing is the replication experience of a nearly twenty-minute scene in Star Wars episode one.
Just like the franchise, it’s a Sci-Fi racing game where you control your pod to hover around the futuristic tracks and deserted area. A classic racing game that has now come to the Nintendo Switch library of games. The controls feel super responsive, the gameplay is smooth, and the graphics still look beautiful despite their low poly render.
Star Wars fans can relieve the scene and change the course of the story in a thrilling pod race. Take part in a championship and earn rewards unlocking more new tracks and racers.
Crazy Taxi is an old arcade that was later ported to the Sega Dreamcast console version. Unlike other games that cut corners by removing some features of the arcade, Dreamcast did the same replication of Crazy Taxi from the arcade, and people love the accessibility of playing arcade games in the comfort of their homes.
The game’s basic guides are simple. You pick up a customer and drop them off at their desired location. It’s the journey that makes Crazy Taxi really fun to play. Doing air time or breaking boxes while maintaining the mood of your passenger rewards players with additional currency.
Unlock characters and vehicles, including hotdog stalls, and drive around San Francisco city like crazy.