Car Games and Apps

The Tesla Model S is an excellent video game controller

Playing Beach Buggy Racing 2 in a brand-new Model S Long Range makes a passable game pretty darned fun.

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I've reviewed a lot of video games over the years, and I've reviewed an awful, awful lot of driving games. Heck, back in the day I used to run a blog wholly dedicated to the things. But it's been a very long time since I played a racing game inside a real car using the car's steering wheel to control the game.

Today, that's changed, thanks to the release of Tesla Arcade and its newest addition: Beach Buggy Racing 2. As you can probably tell by the number there, this isn't the first game in the franchise, and you certainly don't need an $85,000 electric luxury car to play it in. You can just download it on your phone, if you want. But, as I would learn, having a car certainly helps. 



Beach Buggy Racing 2 is what I would loosely call a Mario Kart knockoff. In isolation, this game doesn't hold a candle to Nintendo's finest racing game. In fact it doesn't even hold a candle to Nintendo's own imitators like Diddy Kong Racing. On your phone, it's a fine way to pass a few stops on the subway but it likely wouldn't hold my interest for much longer than that.

However, sitting in a new Model S Long Range and playing the game with your steering wheel... that changes some things. I was surprised at how much I actually got into the game when I wasn't just relying on touch or motion controls. To turn you literally turn the steering wheel of the car. To brake you actually hit the brake pedal. To accelerate? Actually you're always accelerating, so no need for a control for that -- shame.

It's actually really fun to play the game like this, but as I sat there turning the wheel back and forth, tires creaking and complaining out on the asphalt, I couldn't help but wonder whether an extended gaming session during an extended Supercharging session might just create some flat-spots. Tesla-owning parents, better make sure your kids are sneaking off to the garage to clock some fast laps.

So, perhaps not a standout game on its own, but in this environment it is good fun. I look forward to seeing what's next for the Tesla Arcade.