23rd Mar2020

A Review of the Best Horse Racing Sims of Our Generation

by James Smith

Horse racing sims aren’t just reserved exclusively for arcades and carnivals

There is nothing quite like the thrill of watching a highly competitive horse race. Whether it’s over fences or an outright sprint for the finishing post. You only have to look at the tens of thousands of people that head every year to the UK’s Cheltenham Festival or the Kentucky Derby in the US to see just how much of an adrenaline rush horse racing can be. Such a following translates to the betting world, with bookmakers like Oddschecker offering odds and tips on major horse races every year.

As gamers, we were wondering whether any video game developers have attempted to translate that excitement into a virtual sim or console game that can be enjoyed by racing fans all year round. We were pleasantly surprised to find a few releases that made it to our shelves through the years:

Starters Orders

If you have ever been a fan of the Championship Manager or Football Manager sim, you’ll probably enjoy the chance to manage your own horse racing stable in Starters Orders. The franchise has proven so successful that it’s into its seventh version now, available exclusively on desktop PC. The latest version is even compatible with Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headsets allowing you to watch your stable stars in immersive 3D action on the track.

Gallop Racer

Gallop Racer was a horse racing video game that was originally designed as a classic arcade title, but was successfully in its own right during the late 90s and early 00s. Players would create their own simulated jockey, choose their own horse to ride based on their own unique attributes and temperament. The more races you win, the more money you have in the purse to spend on more talented thoroughbreds.

G1 Jockey

Ever wondered what it’s like being a jockey? G1 Jockey was designed to help racing fanatics to get the most authentic perspective of life on the saddle. Designed initially for the Nintendo Wii and other platforms, like the PlayStation 2, this subtle strategy game requires moderate knowledge of horse racing and knowing when to utilise your horse’s innate attributes such as sprint finishes or leading from the front. The fourth and latest edition of G1 Jockey was released back in 2007.
Starters Orders is the only of the three that are still going strong today and the seventh edition is now available to download from Steam.

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