On Tuesday, Kotaku posted a refreshing article about 10 year old Gryffin Anders, who used his Mario Kart skills to steer his great grandmother's car into a ditch after she passed out from what was probably a mini heart attack. Given that he's 10, I'd imagine he karts on the Wii with a wheel, but he didn't disclose that information. Either way, this is exactly the sort of thing I set out to find with this series, and this pretty much confirms that you can learn how to drive from games. There's been loads of stories about this sort of thing over the past few years, so let's alter the question just this once: exactly how much can you learn about driving from games?
Gryffin didn't need to use the pedals as a part of his heroics. He simply steered the car from oncoming traffic to a ditch outside the right-most lane and coasted from 60 until the car stalled on the grass. As a result, we don't know if he could use the pedals or make it through traffic like one 6 year old from Virginia did after missing the bus. The kid was so confident in his abilities, learned from Grand Theft Auto and Monster Jam, that he walked back to his house, grabbed the keys to the family Taurus, and drove 6 miles before clipping a pole and trying to walk the final mile like a true badass. 6 year olds probably shouldn't be allowed to play GTA, though Monster Jam isn't that bad, and his parents, who were completely asleep at the time, were rightfully charged with child endangerment, but this is still a very interesting case. It makes sense for a 22 year old to get practice in and learn traffic laws from GTA, as Kotaku reader Lucia did, but the fact that a 6 year old managed to learn from it makes me think that a modded version of GTA should be used for driving schools.
But just driving to school isn't exactly hardcore. For that, we turn to the Gran Turismo Racing Academy, which takes elite players of the popular racing game and puts them on a real track, in a real car, to prepare them for motor racing's greatest events. Now, Gran Turismo players can't immediately jump into, say, Monaco and expect to take home first place. But with a little extra instruction and some time behind the wheel of a real car, top GT players have been able to take the podium at several events, including the 2013 Spa 24 Hours, where a team of 4 players took third place in the Pro-Am category and 7th place overall. And driving in real cars hasn't affected their gaming either. The British GT Championship actually banned the team from the pro tournament, because they were that much better than everyone else.
So apparently not only can you learn to drive from video games, but if you play the right ones, you're a good enough driver to race competitively, and only a bit of training and track time away from being able to place in a 24 circuit. Talk about an unfair advantage.
Next time: we're keeping in the speed category, but moving to something that requires a little legwork. It might actually get posted Thursday evening instead of late Friday this time too. (Seriously, somebody keep spamming my inbox so that I get Sunday Brunch written before midnight on Sunday, otherwise I'll get kinja'd or accidentally sleep in and it won't go up til 2 pm again. Zyx, I nominate you for this important task.)
Edit: good lord, another example of games helping with driving! Is there no end to this madness?