Drag Illustrated Issue 169, June/July 2021 - Page 42


{ Op-Ed }

Unlimited Potential

A captivating , well-done mobile game is exactly what drag racing needs By Nate Van Wagnen

Young , tech-hungry fans of every major sport in the world have always had a wealth of options when it comes to video games focused on their sport of choice . Madden NFL and NBA 2K games fly off the shelves when they ’ re released , and their mobile versions on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store are similarly popular . NASCAR even has a mobile game where fans can race as their favorite drivers on their favorite tracks with super-realistic graphics .

Drag racing is in a much different situation . The last official , NHRA-licensed video game was released in 2007 for the PlayStation 2 . Tony Schumacher has since added four Top Fuel world championships to his total , and Antron Brown has switched from Pro Stock Motorcycle to Top Fuel , where he ’ s won three world titles . The tech world has moved on to the PlayStation 5 , and most games are downloaded directly onto the game console , not purchased from a physical store shelf . All this is to say a lot has changed since NHRA : Countdown to the Championship was released , and the sport has done a whole lot of nothing to keep up in the gaming world .
Sure , NHRA announced in May a new partnership with video game publisher GameMill Entertainment that suggests a new NHRA game is coming , but there ’ s no indication when that game will be released or what it will look like . Anyone who ’ s played the Street Outlaws : The List game , released by GameMill in 2019 , probably doesn ’ t feel too excited about what the publisher has in store for NHRA fans .
Fortunately , independent developers on the mobile app stores have picked up the slack . Drag racing games have existed on the Apple App Store in some form or fashion since the beginning , from simple arcade games to realistic games that feature anything from street cars to Top Fuel dragsters and require users to upgrade parts and tune their cars . Door Slammers 2 and Pro Series Drag Racing are two examples of such games that have been on the market for a few years and have generated a sizable user base .
But a new game , No Limit Drag Racing 2 , has taken over . In just a couple months , it ’ s become one of the top racing games on the Apple App Store . As of print time , it ranks # 12 on the Racing list ( Mario Kart is # 4 ) and nearly 6,000 reviews have given it a 4.5-star average . Fans of all ages play it , from young kids yearning for a Jr . Dragster to baby boomers with actual race cars in the garage . Even stars of the Street Outlaws shows have been known to stage up against unknowing fans in online multiplayer races .
This is exactly the kind of game the drag racing world has needed . For young racing fans without the ability to get out to an actual track with an actual car , this is an entry point to learn more about the basics of the sport . For kids just looking for a fun game to play on their iPad or Dad ’ s iPhone , it ’ s an addicting way to kill time , and maybe , just maybe , they ’ ll find it fun enough that they ’ ll ask their parents to seek out the local dragstrip . For a generation with an ever-decreasing attention span , a great drag racing app like No Limit 2 is perfect : in less than 10 seconds , you know if you won or lost .
The game , developed by Zach Smith , is appealing for diehard enthusiasts , too , though . Players can purchase classic muscle cars or brand-new showroom models and build them up from bonestock street cars to full-blown race cars capable of running deep into the 5-second zone in the quarter mile . Numerous parts upgrades are available , and players can design their dream car with custom graphics and sponsor decals from industry-leading manufacturers . Racers can test-n-tune , race against computer-generated racers , or compete against fellow gamers around the world in online races .
The online racing part of the game has taken on a life of its own , with racers setting up shootouts and class races in categories ranging from Pro 275 to Factory Stock Showdown . The “ Factory Stock Shootout NO LIMIT 2.0 ” group on Facebook has 40 members that gather on Monday and Wednesday nights to pair up for qualifying and 16-car eliminations . The group ’ s founder , Dan Green , even has a custom trophy and championship ring for the points champion . Short of a check and a jacket , that ’ s the same prize package you ’ d get for winning the actual Factory Stock Showdown championship .
In just a few short months , this app has given drag racing fans what they ’ ve been asking for in a video game for more than 10 years . NHRA – or any other large organization whose future relies on a steady stream of new fans joining the sport – would be wise to get involved . No Limit 2 fans can already race using Lizzy Musi ’ s “ Aftershock ” Camaro or “ Daddy Dave ” Comstock ’ s “ Goliath ” Nova . Shouldn ’ t they be able to race Antron Brown ’ s Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster or Troy Coughlin Jr .’ s JEGS . com Pro Stock Camaro , too ?
Sports organizations ranging from the NFL to PBA Pro Bowling have catered to video gamers with great success . It ’ s time for drag racing to take the gaming world seriously as well . No Limit 2 is a huge step in the direction . The forthcoming NHRA game is also promising , but there ’ s still so much more potential for growth . DI
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