Every year, video games get faster and faster. It can seem impossible to keep up, but once you get in the zone, you're golden. When you're there, and everything is clicking, as a gamer it just feels right. Of course, when the zone is near a preschool, a cop isn't going to give you any slack when you speed through at 100 mph.
So let's keep it to the virtual realm, where speed means racing cars that look more like streaks of light than a machine with four wheels, where a hedgehog grows an attitude and puts on sneakers to move at the speed of sound, or where the enemies attack as fast as your thumbs react. Here are five games where preternatural speed and energy can mean the difference between a win and a fiery, explosive death.
Criterion Games and Electronic Arts released Need For Speed: Most Wanted last year to much acclaim. What's more, absolutely zero time is wasted between picking up the controller and flying over a bridge at over 100mph. Oh, you think you're going fast enough to launch off that ramp and through that billboard? That's because you ARE going that fast.
Most Wanted already pumps the player up with a high-energy soundtrack and amazing visual effects, but that sense of speed means nothing if you can't handle it. Hair-pin turns, split-second misses, and brutal crashes await anyone crazy enough to visit Fairhaven. In fact, Need For Speed: Most Wanted could result in a broken controller if you don't have the reflexes to avoid all the crashes that might come between you and the finish line.
Anyone who's actually played F-Zero on the GameCube knows what I'm talking about when I say that this game might just be too fast. It was originally developed for the arcades, so SEGA developer Amusement Vision probably had quarter after quarter in mind when they were designing the game's insane tracks and and super-fast vehicles.
In fact, F-Zero GX is recognized by many as the fastest racing game ever, forcing players to question their sanity after crashes, spin-outs, and death-defying levels of speed. Sure, you might make it to the end of the track, but it's close to impossible to do so without trading paint with another racer at over 2000 mph. That's right, over two thousand miles per hour.
I promise this is the final racing game on this list, but how can you talk about fast games without mentioning the Extreme G series? Developed and published by the now defunct Acclaim Entertainment, this franchise made it clear to players that the series was called Extreme for a reason, its deadly speed.
What's more, everyone else on the track wants to gun you down with lasers and other futuristic weaponry. Extreme G isn't just about winning a race, it's about jumping your motorcycle over other racers at 300+ mph. In fact, Extreme G is so fast that the racers in the game aren't even humans. The contestants in this sickening display of speed are actually remote controlled. Seriously, how's an average human being going to compete with a bunch of robots?
Action games have come along way thanks to the powerful technology currently under the hood of your console or computer. Bayonetta leads the pack with her intriguing gothic style and insane weaponry, but the best thing about Platinum's well-dressed brawler is her supreme speed in midst of combat.
Yes, you're fighting weird angel-demon things and maybe sometimes they have gigantic baby heads, but that doesn't mean you should slow down and take in the sight of it all. Instead, beat out a furious combo, launch your opponents into the air, and then watch as Bayonetta's hair transforms into a demon and eats them. Bayonetta is so quick in fact, that when she successfully dodges an attack, she can slow down time and spank her enemies 4 times as fast as if the baddies hadn't even attacked her in the first place.
The top of our list is, of course, the Blue Blur. Sonic's average running speed tops the speed of sound and regularly breaks the speed of light. You might even say that Sonic's speed was the main factor in creating such a rift between Nintendo and Sega fans.
Sega leaned heavily on their console's Blast Processing capability. Do you see Mario running around while saving princesses? No, his thing is jumping. That's because there's no way the plumber and his brother could outrun Sonic. And really, speed is the unforgettable quality that made the Sonic series so beloved.
Whether you're just starting out in Green Hill Zone or you've gotten lost in Labyrinth Zone, there's zero time between standing still and running at full speed. Making every jump count, landing just at the edge of one platform before hurtling past another, holding down and mashing the B button to instantly sprint off… These are the gameplay moments that stick with you forever, but only if you've got a burning desire to outrun Robotnik and his robots.