My absolute blindspot!
Rails West! ?
That’s right! Rails West! had a fascinating background. It started as a simulation history professor Martin Campion developed at Pittsburg State University to help his students understand the era. It was very much a forerunner to Railroad Tycoon, but had a little in common with, say, Ticket to Ride in that you couldn’t plot your own lines but had to pick from certain routes. There was a score bonus for having the first transcontinental railroad. The heart of the game though was its financial model. You played the stock and bond market. You prayed for enough money when a panic came to buy up bonds because when a RR exited bankruptcy you would be given stock in the new company, so you could control some key companies. It was a great game, and one I still come back to every few years.
Campion had a follow-up game, Medieval Lords, for SSI. But it was past SSI’s interest in historical games and didn’t do well. It didn’t help that IIRC it was buggy as shit. SSI actually called Martin Marion in one of its catalog entries for Medieval Lords. (I assume it was a misprint and not a Dan/Dani Bunten situation.)
Anyway, Rails West! was a gem. As much as I loved Railroad Tycoon and later Rails Across America, the financial heart of RW! has yet to be equaled, in my experience.
Man, SSI’s cover game was completely on point in the early- to mid-80s. I’ve never played that one, I’ll have to seek it out.
Racing sim? GTR series was a favorite of mine, so I’ll say GTR 2.
Not so much a sim, more arcade.
Need for speed: something
Test Drive 4?
Sorry, just back from work / dinner. Nope to all three.
Racing Destruction Set?
Racing Destruction Set was an early EA game for the 8-bit computers. My brother and I sank hours into it. It was fun but also a bit mean with oil slicks and the like. Not only that, but a built-in track editor and the ability to change settings like the gravity made for endless fun. Catching incredible air off a huge jump with the equivalent of the Moon’s gravity was amazing.
One of my favorite products of the ‘construction set’ craze of the '80s.
War of the Monsters?