Episode 120: Duh! Driving A Car in Video Games Is Much Easier Than Real Life


Last week, I talked about Americanized movies and the biggest issue I had with them. That got me thinking about something recent that I’ve been doing and that’s learning how to drive. I’m proud to say that I managed to get my driver’s license after studying on and off on how to do so for a year or so. Honestly, I thought it would be a snap! How wrong I was.

I guess you can call it naivety in a sense. I had this weird logic working in my head that I already had a good foundation on how to drive a car perfectly. After all, I’ve been playing video games with driving parts for some time now. I dabbled in Grand Theft Auto V’s online mode so there’s a lot of driving involved to get from one place to another.

One more picture for the road!

One more picture for the road!

Okay, Grand Theft Auto V is a totally arcade simulator but there is another game I’ve actually played a lot of before I started to take driving lessons: Gran Turismo 6. A lot of gamers have proclaimed this series to be pretty much the best driving simulator our there. It takes a lot of things into consideration from what I was told. It looks at the weight distribution of the vehicle when you brake and accelerate and a whole lot of other stuff that’s probably too technical for me to ever fully understand.

I’ve also played a some arcade games like Initial D and Wangan Midnight so I can actually practice using a physical steering setup, complete with gear shift and pedals. I even found one arcade game that even came with a clutch pedal. I don’t know what game it was from but I think it was made by Sega. But it’s not like I really needed to learn how to shift though since I’m only planning to get a car that has an automatic transmission. I understand why it’s nice to use a manual transmission if you’re racing against someone (something about gear ratios and getting your car to the redline and stuff like that). But for “normal” driving, I just don’t need the headache.

The left side is for me... in real life.

The left option is more my speed… in real life.

I thought I would be more well-prepared since I’ve had a lot of virtual driving experience already. I played these games so I could be more aware of how to maneuver a vehicle. I should be able to react to things faster and perform the right actions when necessary. But, boy, was I wrong!

The instant I got in the driver’s seat and stepped on the gas, it’s like I totally forgot everything… actually, no. I could still remember all the of the experiences I had while “practicing” using all of these virtual simulators. I knew how much I needed to turn the wheel to get the vehicle to make the curves. But I was too scared to really get the car moving! I think I was going at around 20 kph only throughout my first real lesson! Even with the driving instructor urging me to push on the accelerator a little bit more, my brain just couldn’t do it! I was scared since, any time I did try to get the vehicle to move a bit faster, it felt like I was going to lose control!


Pretty much like this.

It took me a 3 to 4 more times behind the wheel of an actual vehicle to sort of overcome my fear of speeding up. But I did get over it and I have a better understanding as to why by then: it’s because I’m actually behind the wheel of a killing machine… which could kill me!

When you’re playing a video game, you know nothing is really bad is going to happen to you. Even in realistic driving simulators like Gran Turismo, you can pretty much roll off the track and smash into the wall and your car is going to wind up perfectly okay. Oh, and the passengers are still pretty safe as well. If you speed up and crash and you see your virtual body flying out of your car in a game like Grand Theft Auto, that’s not you getting hurt out there! While it would be a totally horrific thing to see in real life, it’s actually pretty cool in a video game when that thing happens!

But, like I said, I did get over my fear of speeding up and, while I’ll never be the next Danica Patrick, I have enough confidence now to actually drive at a comfortable speed and not the excruciatingly slow speed when I first started. I did take my driver’s licensee test and now I’m a legal driver! I’m so proud of myself. But I can never be too cocky since I will still remember that, when I first started out, I was an idiot driver even will all of the virtual experience I’ve garnered through video games. Guess you can’t learn everything from playing games!

Speaking of which, I guess this is proof positive that you can’t apply the things you’ve learned in video games in real life. And that includes performing the graphic acts of violence you see in a lot of mature video games! And this is what I’d like to talk about next time!


How did you start out when learning how to drive? Let me know in the comments section below!



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