You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

One lap of Silverstone, eight racing games, thirty three years

Me on Twitter: It’s not actually one lap – it’s nearer two. It starts a few turns before the 1952-2000 start/finish and ends at the 2011-present one. The video was put together with Adobe Premiere Pro. There’s no footage from elsewhere - I drove all the laps myself (as you can probably tell). I ran the games with default graphics settings apart from F1 2002, which I played in the screen resolution I had in 2002 rather than the one I have now. I tried to get as similar a view as I could in each game and drove the nearest thing to an F1 car that I could find. I thought the hard part was going to be stitching the laps together, but that wasn’t the hard part. There were many hard parts. Finding games which contained Silverstone was tricky. I wrote a program to find out which of the pages linked from contained “Silverstone”. This gave me 35 results. I didn’t want the video to be too long so I picked my favourite games from there (bearing in mind that I wanted approximately equal gaps of years). Some of them I owned the install media for; some of them I had to dig up from the internet. Forza 2 was a fun one because I borrowed it from a friend who works at Turn 10 Studios and I got a quick tour of where the Forzas were all made. Which was an added bonus. Getting a controller to work properly in the various emulators was rather time consuming, and playing the games themselves was surprisingly difficult. I ended up playing a couple with the keyboard, which did really remind me of 13-year-old me in 1988. But the hardest part of all was the Silverstone layout changes – between 1984 and 2019 the Grand Prix circuit has had six different layouts. They even moved the start/finish - the start of a lap in Revs isn’t in the same place as the start of a lap in Gran Turismo 6. I wanted to cover both the start and finish and I wanted the game segments to get longer over time, and so I ended up with a map of the track printed out with the various year changes marked (map is at On that I wrote down markers for where each game should begin and end, trying to ensure that I didn’t switch clips during non-existent track segments and leaving about the right number of seconds for each clip. It ended up being quite a challenging exercise. All of this also made the driving more difficult because I was switching between track layouts so often. There were a lot of crashes. Game details: 1984 – Revs: Played on PC using gamepad (with very weird axes). Running in BeebEm ( Owned once but download from 1988 - Grand Prix Circuit: Played on PC using keyboard. Running in DOSBox ( Downloaded from 1992 - Formula One Grand Prix: Played on PC using keyboard. Running in DOSBox. Owned original CDs. 1996 - Grand Prix 2: Played on PC using gamepad. Running in DOSBox. Owned original CDs. 2002 - F1 2002: Played on PC using Logitech G27 wheel. Running using Win8 compatibility settings (was quite impressed this just worked). Owned original CDs. 2007 - Forza 2: Played on Xbox 360 using the wireless Xbox steering wheel that I found in a cupboard. Recorded using an Elgato HD60S ( Borrowed original CD. 2013 - Gran Turismo 6: Played on PS3 using Logitech G27 wheel. Recorded using an Elgato HD60S and an HDCP stripper ( Owned original CD. 2017 - Forza 7: Played on PC using Logitech G27 wheel. Bought online (if you buy the Xbox version, you get the PC one free).
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon