Favorite Video Games with Muscle Cars

6th Jan 2011

The muscle car era was a hugely influential part of American history.

You can see its influence in many different aspects of our culture, from our music and movies, favorite comic book characters, clothing such as Mustang apparel, even our video games!  There are many different video games that feature muscle cars, ranging from racing games where you are very involved in choosing and customizing your car, to games where the muscle cars just happen to exist. The most common kind of video game with muscle cars in them is the race game.

In these games, you typically buy a car and earn money by winning races.  The money can then be used to made modifications to your car, some of which are just cosmetic and some of which actually improve the performance of your vehicle, allowing you to win more races (and earn more money.)  These games may have either modern or classic muscle cars, depending on the inclination of the developers. Here are a few of the more popular race games with muscle cars:

  • Gran Turismo - Gran Turismo, which means “grand touring” in Italian, is the name of a series of race simulator video games.  Players can buy and modify 180 cars as they earn money from wins; that 180 includes muscle cars such as both classic and modern models of the Chevy Camaro, Chevy Corvette, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang and Mercury Cougar.
  • Need for Speed - Much like Gran Turismo, Need for Speed is a series of racing games, but they can vary a lot from game to game.  The games started out being more focused on exotic sports cars, but changed to reflect the growing interest in more of a drag racing culture.  One of the categories of cars is muscle cars, which includes models such as the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro and Chevy Corvette.
  • The Fast and the Furious - The movie that triggered a lot of the pop culture interest in underground drag racing also has a video game!  Players buy and race cars, primarily Japanese cars, as seen in the movie.  However, there are a few popular muscle cars, such as the Shelby GT500 and the Chevrolet Corvette.
  • Midnight Club - Midnight Club is another racing simulator based on the popular culture of underground street racing.  Although the game is more focused on imports than muscle cars, there are a few, such as the classic Dodge Challenger, 1979 Pontiac Firebird, and 1964 Chevy Impala.

In addition to the racing simulator video games, there are a number of other games where muscle cars appear, but where modification and racing is not the focus of the game.  An example is Grand Theft Auto, in which muscle cars make an appearance but you don't necessarily know the details of the car, such as year, model, or engine.  In addition, modifications in Grand Theft Auto are purely cosmetic, not making any difference in how fast the car goes or how well it handles.  However, the fact that muscle cars show up in video games like this, that aren't truly racing simulators, show exactly how influential muscle cars have been in our culture.