Racing games have been among the biggest console franchises. They are somewhat diverse, and some are more fictional with artificial vehicles whilst others include genuine Grand Prix circuits and motors for some enthralling race simulators. Racing games have remained at the forefront of console gaming since the early 1990s.

Super Mario Kart

In the early '90s Nintendo introduced a couple of new and original racing games for their consoles. Among them was Super Mario Kart, on the Super Famicom, which starred Mario and co and included Mario-themed race tracks. What set this apart from the rest was that it had a variety of projectiles such as shells and banana skins, along with additional items, which could be picked up as you went around the circuits. Then they could be targeted and shot at karts ahead to slow them down. As such, aside from its racing circuits the Mario Kart series also included battle modes to battle it out.

Mario Kart

Super Mario Kart soon emerged as a classic, and a variety of sequels have since followed on the various Nintendo consoles. Firstly, there was Mario Kart 64, and then Mario Kart: Super Circuit was the first of the series  included on a portable Nintendo game console. Mario Kart: Double Dash Mario Kart Wii have continued the series, with Mario Kart 7 the most recent addition on the Nintendo 3DS. It is also one of the few Nintendo series that have emerged in the arcades with titles such as Mario Kart Arcade GP. Today it remains among the biggest Nintendo franchises after Mario platform games and Zelda.

Ridge Racer

One of the first genuine 3-D racing games, Ridge Racer has remained one of the biggest racing game franchises since it first emerged in the arcades during the early '90s. The first Ridge Racer was one of the early PlayStation games that propelled the game console into the stratosphere, as it was one of the first which combined polygons with texture mapping across a diverse range of terrain. Ridge Racer is based on drift racing and includes a variety of fictional city based race tracks to select from within Ridge City. As a fictional city the courses of the Ridge Racer series are geographically diverse and set alongside beaches, forests, grasslands and mountains.

There have been lots of Ridge Racer games in the series. A total of 11 on the non-portable consoles, and along with that five on portable console alternative such as the PlayStation Vita and PSP. Most of the Ridge Racer games have been on Sony consoles, but there have also been included on the Xbox and Nintendo consoles such as the 3DS.

Need for Speed

The biggest racing game series is EA's Need for Speed. The Need for Speed series is one that has spawned three generation's of racing games, on a variety of console platforms from the 3DO up to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. EA have included up to 20 games in the series.

Need for Speed

Whilst the games in the series have been somewhat variable, they have included a variety of non-fictional vehicles with various race modes to select from. They include both street racing as well as closed circuit racing on genuine tracks such as Nurburgring and Laguna Seca, effectively combining fictional and non-fictional tracks. In terms of variety of vehicles and tracks, the Need for Speed series has undoubtedly had one of the widest selection with hundreds of vehicles and courses included within the game titles.

These are a few of the great racing game series. Their titles have provided pulsating multiplayer racing across numerous console platforms, and have set a benchmark for other racing games. Expect further additions of these franchises on upcoming Nintendo and Sony consoles.