What Car Options Have in Common with Video Games

Like almost everybody in my generation, I grew up on video games and comic books. I won’t claim that I’m any good with the controller, mainly because the hours spent online have convinced me there are literally millions of kids from Russia, China or Korea who can humiliate me. However, playing real-time strategy and multiplayer online battle games has made me realize the world of lore and magic spells has something in common with cars, more specifically the way we buy them.
I know it’s a crazy idea, but it’s true. A hero unit and a new car both need upgrades to become better, right? There are simple ones that seem like logical choices, like a buff to a barbarian’s strength or larger alloy wheels. But a limited slip differential or a complicated hero spell both need a capable “operator” to make the best off them. In addition, having the wrong spell/option fitted could make your pet project useless in a fight against the wrong opponent, be that another hero or a car.

A professional Diablo or DOTA player will probably get what I’m saying straight away, but let me go a little bit into detail. This crazy idea for an editorial came about thanks to office water-cooler conversations about Porsche 911 options, which are among the most expensive in the car business. We concluded that a Level 1 set of “basic hero skills” exists: bigger/nicer alloy wheels, red brake calipers and metallic paint. Level 2 upgrades for a 911 become a little more tricky to justify. However, come resale time, most second hand buyers will pay extra for the Sport Chrono pack and upgraded exhaust that you optioned.

Level 3 is where our hero gets things like leather-covered air vents, LED headlights and paint done to special order from Porsche Exclusive. Three or four years after ordering that 911,finding a buyer who has the same taste in cars is as tricky as a six-button combo fatality in Mortal Kombat. Why? Because you’ve just spent Ferrari money on what only you think is the coolest Carrera S in the world.

If I were to reference a well known Blizzard game called Starcraft 2, I could give you the example of a unit called the High Templar. It’s a spell caster who creates a lightning storm over the enemy that could win you the game. However, to get it, you need two special buildings and to research that killer storm spell, all of which takes time and money, which leaves you vulnerable to attack from the enemy’s simple but strong units.

If the 911 Carrera S is your high templar, the simple enemy unit could be something like an Audi RS7, not a capable spell caster, but a brutal straight line opponent nevertheless.

This idea lends itself well to smaller cars as well. Take the Ford Fiesta, for example, surely one of the best selling cars in its segment and extremely popular in the second hand market. €1000 spent on metallic paint or alloy wheels are a very wise investment as they completely change the look of a relatively boring motor. But spend €1,000 on a “Powershift” automatic transmission and you could find that nobody else wants to buy your car, not to mention it’s not as fun to drive any more.

At the end of the day though, winning isn’t everything, both in games and the real world. Living out our gaming or driving fantasies is about having fun, so if you’d like purple seat belts on an AMG or pink paint on your Audi RS, it’s up to you to decide if Level 3 upgrades are what you want to play with.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
Mihnea Radu profile photo

Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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