As a kid, I never really got the concept of going out for a drive. To my mind, driving had always been a very purposeful activity – something you did because you had a particular destination in mind. Of course I was looking at it as a passenger, the only perspective my age afforded me (and the only one my lack of a driving licence allows today), but videogames didn’t offer me any further insight. Sure, OutRun offered pretty scenery, but you still had cars to overtake and a clock to beat. If you didn’t have a purpose, why bother?
The idea of driving itself being fun had never really crossed my mind, and it wouldn’t do so until I got the chance to experience an open-ended driving game for the first time. Suddenly, it all made sense. Turbo Esprit was about catching drug smugglers – that’s what the inlay said, at any rate. For a child with a terrible grasp of the controls and a love of causing chaos, the open world offered far more fun. I could drive on the wrong side of the street, wedge my car into narrow roads and stop traffic, and generally ruin the day of every virtual commuter in the city. Did I have a particular goal? No, but I was definitely having fun. I’d finally learned the point of going out for a drive.
And dear reader, you’ve learned something new as well – specifically, the reason why the government won’t licence me to drive.