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Project Gotham Racing 3

Gaming's Defining Moments - Project Gotham Racing 3

Eight years ago colleagues and I were staring at a jagged Tony Hawk grind his way across a ugly Wasteland.

Mouths were ajar. Sense of disbelief in every eye.

"This is next gen?"

The tone was not courteous.

It's expected a console launch will be dogged by a title or two leaping the generation gap and giving a poor account of themselves. For Xbox 360 that game was Tony Hawk's American Wasteland. Unfortunately for the writing staff coming together to work a newly launching single format magazine, Wasteland was the first retail title to drop through the letterbox - the first example of what we'd expect from Microsoft's new machine. The promise of next-gen graphics clashed bitterly with the last-gen port playing out on screen.

Disappointment was heavy in the air. That, and a worry we'd all backed the wrong horse. Luckily a few days later the cavalry charged in on a A4 bubbled-wrapped package: review code for Project Gotham 3. 72 hours later than expected, the next gen finally arrived.

Project Gotham Racing 3

You have to remember that HDTVs had only started to drip into the market back then. In 2005 you'd find them more as part of expensive store displays than in living rooms. The CRT TV still dominated. So seeing a photorealistic virtual London on a 32-inch flatscreen blew the mind. Crystal sharp. Rich colour. Bleedingly fast gameplay.

There was a great game underneath all the looks too. But it's the visuals that day that marked the latest generation transition for me. For me, PGR3 was the debut of this generation. Eight years on, we all still can be dazzled by the visual spectacle still wrung out of these consoles. We're likely never going to see another graphical leap like this ever again.

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