The other day I zoomed in on Tokyo’s highway from 2001 on my PlayStation 2. Meanwhile, actresses Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey were babbling in my headphones about a TV show from a similar era. It felt like one of the best stress breaks I’ve taken in weeks.
Hey there. I’m the EIC at Car Bibles, an upcoming sister site of The Drive that focuses on automotive adventures and DIY tips to help you get the most out of your car. This includes industry comments, hot takes, and random reflections around the automobile.
Of course, I’m talking about listening to the Office Ladies podcast which was a wonderful distraction last year. And yes, I still run a PlayStation 2. I’ve grown into some kind of low-key video game hipster while feeling like a stupid old dad with nostalgia for my childhood and high school years (though not the school itself).
I might be able to convince you by the time you are on board with reading this post, but actually I just want to share one very accessible pandemic friendly pastime that I’ve been enjoying lately: playing old driving games, listening to podcasts or TV shows with audio only.
Like many of you, I probably often feel compelled to hook up with multiple sources of entertainment. I’m not even sure I like it. My brain was just cracked open by modern media like a baseball glove. I’ll honestly catch myself on my cellphone or computer or both while watching TV on the reg.
Saying all of that, I realize that submitting “Exposure to Multiple Sensory Stimulators” as “Peak Chill Time” may seem a little strange, and I’m sure I won’t be the first person to play a driving game while she hears songs or spoken word. But friends, it’s like driving around listening to the radio, only not having to get off the couch! Or be sober or follow other traffic rules.
And it is fun!
I specifically mentioned my 20 year old game console because the use of ancient technology is a key ingredient in this formula of joy that I’m growing over here.
My PlayStation 2 retired a few months ago because I wanted to check into Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero, a wonderfully simple game where you get over in tuner cars dodging traffic and battling automated opponents in combat-play style fights zoom the Wangan highway. “I was delighted to discover that my console was still gathering dust in my parents’ house when the mood hit me.
I wrote a full post about it on my last job when I first rediscovered it, but I kept playing because it’s a great game with an extensive catalog of many of my favorite cars … and, my god, I forgot how wonderful it is to play a straightforward video game with no pop-up notifications, internet connection, the appearance of a “storyline” or ill-acting cutscenes. And snappy loading times! My iPhone can’t even open Instagram in the time it takes to get to action from the game’s main menu.
The Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero soundtrack rules, but I’ve spent enough hours listening to the handful of techno songs on a loop that I actually hear them clearly in my head as I type. That’s why it goes so well with podcasts.
Current generation console games are fantastic and I can’t say I don’t enjoy them. But I’ll tell you, if you’re looking for a more relaxing twist on driving for pleasure without leaving your couch, grab an old console from eBay or dig one out of a relative’s basement. Enjoy the low-stakes joy of a driving game in front of the Internet, coupled with the latest auditory entertainment on the Internet.
Andrew P. Collins is the Editor-in-Chief at Car Bibles, an upcoming sister site of The Drive that focuses on practical tips and DIY advice to get the most out of your car. Look for a redesigned Autobible in early 2021. Visit us on Twitter, IG and Facebook.