There's nothing that gives a sense of freedom like riding a motorcycle. I can hop on, gear up, take off and even drag knee here and there. But there are limitations to what I can do on a bike though. I can’t ride off skyscrapers and land unscathed, or carry a sword to fight off bad guys, or throw turtle shells at cars during rush hour traffic. This is why video games were invented—to create worlds with no limitations. So we decided to ask IGN to help us find the coolest video games where we can carry out our wildest motorcycle dreams.
When it comes to video games, I'm no expert. The last game I played was circa 2006 and it was Wii bowling--I’m sure that doesn’t really count me as a gamer. So I got up from my desk, walked five yards and was able to get answers from real gamers. You see, I work in the same office as video game news giant IGN entertainment. Working in the same vicinity as IGN has its perks, which include finding IGN staff who ride motorcycles and play video games.
I approached IGN web producer Kyle O’Connor and software engineer Dustin Keeton. Kyle rides a 2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster and always expresses how much he loves it. Dustin rides a 2009 Ninja 250R and is currently looking to upgrade (I told him he NEEDS to get Street Triple.) I knew these two would know about a game or seven that has some pretty sweet motorcycles in them. And as I predicted, they didn’t let me down.
6. Trials Fusion
This one game is surely for the Evel Knievel fans out there. Kyle explained, “Trials Fusion is a side scrolling game set in the future, and it consists of ridiculous obstacle courses the player needs to complete. They’re also super duper hard and the game is really unforgiving.” There are six motos that can be unlocked in the course, and they’re all very different. The motorcycles also have cool names like the "Pit Viper" and "The Roach."
These motorcycles look similar to a Husqvarna TC motocross bike, but the performance, however, is wildly different: The Trials Fusion bikes have the speed and agility of a fighter aircraft. These bikes can also handle falling from tops of skyscrapers and landing like a feather on the ground below—so nimble, so light you can do three 360’s in the air. These bikes soar for forever and must have insane power to traverse those towering buildings.
Transistor is an indie game created by SuperGiant games, which is the name of the development team. Their games are known for their really cool art style.
"The graphics in the game look really sleek, sexy and cool,” Dustin said. The game has a female protagonist, Red, whose goal is to fight enemies and be kick ass. For every battle she successfully completes, she earns experience points and she obtains new powers from “fallen victims.” She also rides around on a cool motorcycle carrying a huge sword.
From the picture above, you can see that Red’s bike has a cinematic style to it—it looks like a naked café racer that shoots flames from the exhaust, which is pretty awesome. To me, this bike would be what a Triumph Thruxton would totally look like in 20 years. There's nothing special about the bike when it comes to performance, and it's mainly used for transportation purposes. Dustin also added, “It’s more of a ‘grounded-in-reality’ kind of bike. The bike definitely makes Red look more powerful.”
Who the heck wouldn't want to play this? Crime fighting on a cafe racer? Yes please, you can now call me Red.
4. Grand Theft Auto 5
At this point, I ask Kyle what’s “GTA” about? His eyes widened as he gasped, “You don’t know what GTA is?”
Now, in my defense I know what Grand Theft Auto is and have played it once or twice when I was younger. I just thought that GTA was a separate game and didn’t put two and two together until after the fact.. I know, I know. I should have picked up on the acronyms...
(Editor's note: I'm still gasping.)
But for those who don’t know what it is, Kyle explained that it’s a huge open world game—meaning you don’t have to follow a linear story line—where you can steal cars and do pretty much whatever you want. It's true freedom for the devious ones out there who want to start a city wide riot, run from the police on your motorcycle, and escape your pursuers.
The game features a sweet looking sport bike that looks a lot like a Ducati, and it even has an Italian sounding name: the Ruffian Pegassi. It's also customizable (you know, I'd customize this bad boy to where I could carry my big sword and have the bike spit flames...I think I'm still caught up on being Red...)
“It’s a really cool, super fast and powerful bike. It’s one of the fastest in the game, I think it’s tied for second. One of my favorite things to do on the Ruffian is to hit the freeway and go into first person mode. I pretty much just drive and do crazy sh*t I wouldn’t do on my actual bike,” Kyle said.
3. World of Warcraft
Bike Featured: The Mechano-Hog/Mekgineer's Chopper—. It looks like a steam-punk cruiser.
I chimed in, “I’ve heard of that game!” Kyle replied, “Okay, we’re finally off to good start then.”
In a nutshell, it’s an online sci-fi game with a fantasy fiction storyline. It puts two factions, the Horde and the Alliance against each other, racing to gain experience and defeat the world's villains. It’s a very complex game so the explanation will be left at that. The complexity, however, makes WoW fun and it involves at lot of fighting, cool weapons, and traveling on cool vehicles (otherwise known as a "mount" in WoW).
There’s two version of an "out of this world-looking" mount in this game: The Mechano-Hog and the Alliance version of it, the Mekgineer Chopper.
“In WoW the mounts you get go a lot faster than you can run. One of them is a motorcycle, but it looks steam punkish and not like not like a modern real-life motorcycle. Your mounts are usually just for your character—you have to be a certain profession to obtain and ride it—and the motorcycle has a unique feature where it has a sidecar and another player can sit in it and you can drive them around,” Kyle explained.
I've never played WoW, but after looking at this cool alien bike (this is totally what a Harley-Davidson would look like 3,000 years in the future), I need to start doing research on World of Warcraft universe guide to learn how to get one of 'em.
Kyle also mentioned he’s not sure about the current version of WoW, but it used to be expensive to make (the bike) in the game using in-game currency. “You get in-game currency by completing quests and selling stuff. It took a lot to get one of them...but it's such a cool bike. The license plate says PWN."
“PWN?” I asked. He replied, “It’s a gaming term for “owned” (like, you just got your ass handed to you.)
2. Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8 = A FUN race game. You go toe-to-toe with the characters found in various other Mario games, and there's also fun, colorful racetracks to choose from. You also get a lot of items to make you go faster and weapons/ammunition to shoot at opponents (i.e. turtle shells) to help get you to first place.
“It's really fun and it actually feels different going from car to motorcycle. I’m not sure if it’s just because I have a soft spot for motorcycles, or if I actually just play the game well. But I always ride a motorcycle in Mario Kart,” Dustin said.
In Mario Kart, the world is your oyster when it comes to cool bikes to choose from—you can pick from various styles of cruisers to street bikes.So which one does Dustin pick to play?
“Well there’s a huge amount of them. The one I normally play with is the sport bike, but what I think is cool in a matter of looks alone is the Phantom, which kind of looks like a Harley. The flame runner is also cool—it’s a sport bike with Bowser’s face on it.”
Dustin also mentioned that while playing the game with a motorcycle, you’re able to turn faster and the acceleration is quicker. I then asked him if I were about to play this game, why would I choose a car? He hesitated and said, “I don’t know? I don’t ever pick a car. Maybe because it's more stable or more defensible.”
He added that Mario Kart is definitely the most outlandish motorcycle game in his opinion, and couldn’t be a “real thing” when it comes to the bikes. But then again, that’s why it’s super fun. I mean, who doesn't want to run over a banana peel and spin out with no consequences?
1. Final Fantasy 7
Back in ’97, Final Fantasy 7 was the first to use 3D computer graphics. The game follows Cloud, who is the protagonist in the game and a mercenary rebel at heart. His main goal is to stop this terrible megacorporation from draining the planet from all if it’s energy. He also battles a bigger enemy called Sephiroth, who is the main antagonist. So the goal of the game is to fight off the bad guys to get the world good again (cue in Hallelujah!)
Cloud is SO cool, and his moto, the Hardy Daytona, is just as cool... or even cooler.
“They obviously call it that because it supposed to be a Harley Davidson, but it resembles a steam-punkish H-D. They wanted it to sound a bit different, and I guess maybe that’s why they went with Daytona,” Dustin said
Kyle elaborated by saying “It’s my personal number one just because Final Fantasy 7 is one of my favorite games of all time and the main character is super relatable just because that’s how he was designed.”
They both mentioned the mini game in FF7, which is comparable to Road Rash (see honorable mention below), where you can slash people on either side with a sword. Oh? Do tell me more! I love the idea of being on a motorcycle with a big sword...
“The mini game is pretty much there to help to show how bad ass Cloud is,” added Dustin.
For Kyle, Cloud being rad on the Hardy Dayton is mainly a nostalgia.
“When I was a kid and I was playing it I was like, “Ahhh! This guy is the coolest thing ever! He’s riding a motorcycle and hitting people with swords! That’s pretty sweet.”
Honorable Mention: Road Rash
Road Rash doesn't necessarily have an awesome moto in it per se, but it has to be mentioned because it's one of the coolest road racing games out there (I've even played it back in the day). You race against computer controlled characters (your opponents) while taking out any would-be overtaker with weapons like bats and chains. The goal is to knock your opponents off their bikes—in an effort to slow them down—so you can cross the finish line first. The pixels... err, bikes go super fast, and on top of hitting your opponent with a bat, you can kick, punch and maneuver easily on these pixellated motos.
“The graphics were so bad, but we'll say that these motorcycles are street bikes,” said Kyle. “It’s one of the first motorcycle video games I’ve ever played back in ’95.” As you can see, Kyle is ancient in age...
“It was actually really hard and super edgy at the time. There’s really no point to the game, but it was fun to play,” he added.
I can agree with that. There's seriously no better way to channel your inner road rage than with this 90's classic.
So there you have it my fellow moto riders. Do remember that this list is subjective, but it's a good base to start with, especially coming from some pro gamers and motorcyclists. With that being said, what's your favorite motorcycle found in a video game?
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