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Gran Turismo

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Gran Turismo
Video Game

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Wikipedia: Gran Turismo (1997 video game)

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Japan Release: 23 December 1997
Europe Release: 8 May 1998
North America Release: 12 May 1998

The first in the iconic series of racing simulator games for the PlayStation series of consoles by Polys Entertainment (later Polyphony Digital).


The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Gran Turismo (1997 video game) page on 21 September 2019, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Gran Turismo is a sim racing video game designed by Kazunori Yamauchi. Gran Turismo was developed by Polys Entertainment and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 1997 for the PlayStation video game console. The game's development group was later established as Polyphony Digital.

After five years of development time, it was well-received publicly and critically, shipping a total of 10.85 million copies worldwide as of March 2013 (making it the best-selling PlayStation game), and scoring an average of 95% in GameRankings' aggregate, making it the highest rated racing video game of all-time. Many publications have deemed it one of the greatest video games of all time. The game has started a series, and has spawned over 10 spin-offs and sequels.

Gran Turismo is a racing game. The player must maneuver a car to compete against artificially intelligent drivers on various race tracks. The game uses two different modes: Arcade Mode and Simulation Mode (Gran Turismo Mode in PAL and Japanese versions). In the arcade mode, the player can freely choose the courses and vehicles they wish to use. Winning races unlocks additional cars and courses.

However, simulation mode requires the player to earn different levels of driver's licenses in order to qualify for events, and earn credits (money), trophies and prize cars by winning race championships. Winning one particular championship also unlocks a video and a few additional demonstration tracks. Credits can be used to purchase additional vehicles, and for parts and tuning.

Gran Turismo features 140 cars and 11 race tracks (as well as their reversed versions). Two Honda NSX cars from 1992 were included in the Japanese version, but were removed from the North American and European versions. There is also a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette and a 1998 Mazda Roadster exclusive to the Arcade mode.

The game required five years to complete. During an interview with Kazunori Yamauchi, it was revealed that development of Gran Turismo started in the second half of 1992. Yamauchi added that at different times there were only seven to fifteen people assisting him. When asked how difficult it was to create Gran Turismo, Yamauchi remarked: "It took five years. In those five years, we could not see the end. I would wake up at work, go to sleep at work. It was getting cold, so I knew it must be winter. I estimate I was home only four days a year." Sound design was one aspect that Yamauchi believed was compromised due to a lack of time. Although Kazunori considered the game's artificial intelligence to be superior to its competitors, he remained unsatisfied with its development.

When Gran Turismo was released in Japan, Polyphony Digital was still a development group within Sony Computer Entertainment. The studio was established in April 1998, before the Western release of the game. Yamauchi estimated that Gran Turismo utilised around 75% of the PlayStation's maximum performance.

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2003 BookThe Cars of Gran Turismo by Huw Evans; Motorbooks International

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