gran turismo 5Are you looking to play a new game, but one that doesn’t center around violence or involve dancing/losing weight? Try looking towards car racing games. If you’re like me and want to play videogames, but don’t necessarily like first person shooter games or getting sweaty and working out, then car racing games are the way to go. These games still allow you to get competitive and sometimes even team up with others to win.

A new car racing game that hit my radar recently is Gran Turismo 5. Gran Turismo 5 is a real driving simulator game for PlayStation 3 that allows players a large variety of personalization options. This game is initially 1-2 players, but gives the option to join the PlayStation Network and play against up to 16 people. New visual effects have been introduced ranging from skid marks, under braking, overturning, ability to flash headlights, and a damage model. The damage model lets players see the realistic damage that happen to their cars when they are in accidents. GT5 lets you pick from a total of 1,083 cars, both “standard” and “premium”. Drivers can pick from up to 31 different scenery locations and 81 different track layouts. If none of those courses work for you, there is also an option to design your own course with the Course Maker. You can also challenge yourself by changing the weather options.

Swerve outside the normal war/first person shooter games and pick up a racing game that you can play with the whole family: Gran Turismo 5.

the-art-of-racing-in-the-rainEnzo is a thoughtful and intelligent observer. He has watched a lot of television – especially the Weather Channel and documentaries – and he has paid attention. He understands much more than he is given credit for, but he cannot put his thoughts into words. His greatest regret in life is that he cannot speak and that he does not have opposable thumbs because Enzo is a dog. In The Art of Racing in the Rain he reflects back on his life on the eve of his death.

When Denny picks Enzo from a litter of puppies, an incredible partnership begins. Denny is a semi-professional race car driver and he often describes his work to Enzo especially his skill at racing in wet weather – the balance and anticipation it requires, the blending of thought and action. Soon Eve enters their lives, and then baby Zoe and they are happy until tragedy strikes and the little family must struggle to survive and carry on. Through it all, Enzo is there, observing, offering comfort and companionship and love.

This is a beautiful, poignant story which is sometimes laugh-out-loud funny and sometimes wrenching. You may be skeptical that a dog as narrator would work, but in fact, Enzo is perfect – wise but always from a dog’s point-of-view, an outsider that can see clearer than the participants. The racing analogies are powerful and effective, but do not dominate the story. You will root for these characters and love them as much as Enzo does, who’s words will stay with you long after you finish the book.