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In-app purchases are coming for your car

Who among us hasn’t looked at a car and thought, “What if this complicated mechanical device operated a little bit more like the bestselling game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood (2014)?” A version of this thought may have passed through the minds of Elon Musk and the people of Tesla, who announced on Thursday that their Model S would be able to unlock five additional kilowatt-hours from its standard battery pack for $3,000. It’s like in-game purchases, but the game is your car. This is not really a story about videogames getting there first. As with Ray J songs, that sort of parochialism is…

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Self-driving cars won’t kill mass transit: they’ll save it

Google is an optimistic company. Presenting itself as Silicon Valley’s version of Disney’s imagineers, the tech giant consistently predicts a future where its innovations drastically change the way we approach everyday activities. To be fair, advancements like its widely-used Android operating system have shown that its predictions aren’t entirely unreasonable. But for every Android or Google Docs, there’s a Google Glass, which in retrospect reads like the mad dream of some 1950s futurist. As much as Google would like us to see it as a high-tech Nostradamus, experts suggest the truth of their predictions may lie somewhere in the middle.…

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Formula E will be the first racing championship with driverless cars

One of the charms of NASCAR, SB Nation word wizard Spencer Hall once argued, is that “You are watching for a non-fatal but spectacular crash.” Crashes are fun—and flammable—which is great up until the point you start to care about people. Therein lies the problem with racing. The distribution of interesting events is bipolar: either the humans tethered to machines do something brilliant or are on the verge of death. The baseline competence that would normally fill out the meaty part of a bell curve, while far more impressive than anything you could do, is fundamentally boring. Fret not; Formula…

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There may still be joy to be found in racing games

I spent the first 11 years of my life reading used car listings and saving up for my first set of wheels. I spent the next four months of my life burning all of these car savings on arcade racers, a relationship that burned so bright and fast that I have never since felt the urge to learn how to drive or buy a car. Put otherwise: The 90’s Arcade Racer speaks to the part of my heart that will forever belong in the entrance hall-cum-arcade of Montreal’s Quilles G Plus (aka: RoseBowl). As the name implies, the game, which just…

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The Rust Belt is like Mad Max in the American Midwest

Replace Mad Max’s Fury Road with the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the American Midwest and you might get something like The Rust Belt, a dusty looking truck combat game by Galvanic Games. The Rust Belt puts you in control of a tow truck driver trying to get by in rural America after pollution has left Earth devoid of nearly every natural resource. While the upper classes have gone off and fled the planet, you’re left to travel through dangerous regions like the Eerie Desert, the Chicago Deadlands, the Detroit Militarized Zone, and the Iron Blighted City of Pittsburgh looking for supplies…

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Throwback car game Drift Stage is elegantly sliding its way towards completion

Drift Stage is quite obviously a game about cars, but it is also a story about the passage of time. You can trace the evolution of car—and car game—culture in its influences: from 1960s Hot Wheels fantasies, to iconic cars of the 1980s, to 1990s arcade racers like Initial D, to the 21st century funding mechanism that is Kickstarter. To watch preview footage of Drift Stage, then, is to think about how our relationship with automotive entertainment has evolved. One part of that evolution, of course, is that Kickstarter delivery dates are purely notional. So it is with Drift Stage,…