A long stretch of desert highway extends before me as my engine growls angry. My thumb pulses on the accelerator button, trying to hold my RPMs just short of redline, and my trigger fingers are primed above the buttons that will function as a gear shift. I am at the wheel of a souped-up 1969 Dodge Charger R/T, a classic and ostentatious muscle car that has in raw power all that it lacks in grace and subtlety.
The race starts, and, despite my best efforts, wheels spin uselessly on asphalt that may as well be ice. Next to my car a ghost vision of another car appears and begins to urge itself forward down the track as my angry car struggles to find purchase. I’m not worried. Grip isn’t why I’ve chosen the Mustang. I am thinking about the straightaways. I’m thinking about just the right amount of power to apply to the rear-wheel drive on the apex of turn four to swing the back end around just enough to take the turn at high speed. I’m thinking about what the engine sounds like at exactly the right moment to up-shift. Let the wheels spin for now. I have no intention of winning the race at the starting line. I plan to win it on the straightaway on the other side of the track.
It is a plan I see through to fruition, as eventually the pure guts of the beefy 429 sail through the ghostly apparition of my rival, a time that he may have set days or weeks before. By the time I sail back across the finish line, I’m a couple of seconds ahead, and somewhere a friend has been beaten in a race he didn't even know he was competing in.
As a result, right now, I’m beating forum goer Xeknos in a number of races within Forza Horizon. Or at least, I was the last time I checked.