What's Missing from Car Games? The Nutty Drivers and Nuttier Cars.

Illustration for article titled What's Missing from Car Games? The Nutty Drivers and Nuttier Cars.

Cars aren't just about the cars. They're about the colorful characters that buy them, customize them, and drive them.


This is something that beautiful driving simulators sometimes seem to forget, but something that hellaflush doesn't.

Hellaflush is a car culture movement that didn't start in Japan, but rather, it was coined by San Francisco's Fatlace. It refers to cars that have their wheels flush with the fenders.

Japan has its own version of hellaflush, called "tsura-ichi" (ツライチ), so the country's car enthusiasts took to last year's Hellaflush event at Fuji Speedway like ducks to water.

The music and culture element of hellaflush are solely missed in gaming. Sure, both Forza and Gran Turismo have thriving communities, filled with custom paintjobs and parts.

There are those who say hellaflush sucks, but the amount of crazy customization is something that realistic car simulators cannot even become to touch. They're just scratching the surface.

Car games let us experience the thrill of driving a wide variety of cars and driving them fast—something that they've been focused on for years. In-game customization is always about making your car better—leveling up. But sometimes, "better" might just mean "cooler". For those who want to trade drivability for expression, look elsewhere.


Some people, you know, are happy with a P.O.S. 1988 Mitsubishi Lancer with an amazing stereo and magnificent spoilers. Or, you know, something like this. Video games' inability to replicate this overlooked experience is somewhat depressing!

In the video here by iPhilms, the world of hellaflush in Japan is brought to life. Depressing, it's not.


HellaFlush Japan from iPhilms on Vimeo.

Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome—game related and beyond.



The only game i think that got closest to this japanese street style was Kaido Battle series for PS2 (part 2 being the best on IMHO). Its the only game i know for consoles that featured many unlockable and obscure D1 drift cars during its golden years (2002 D1 GP grand champion car anyone?). Its also let the user customize not only the front and rear wheels separately, but it featured the same model for different years (zenki/kouki or for you Americans, early and late models), and if your a real japanese car snob, you can spot and appreciate the differences (kouki tails on 180sx etc). It doesn't let you customize wheel offset or width but it has plenty of everything else!