I'm a simple man when it comes to racing games. I just want to hop into a car and race against other people online. I don't want to study the torque and handling of each car, nor do I want to unlock items so I can faff about and try and strike the perfect balance between tire thickness and spoiler height, whatever that means. Just give me a few cars to choose from, I'll pick the one I think looks the coolest, and away I go.

That's one of many reasons why I wound up sinking so many hours into Blur. For the unlucky gamers among you who have never heard of it, Blur was the spiritual successor to Project Gotham Racing from the now-defunct Bizarre Creations. Effectively a more realistic-looking version of Mario Kart, Blur's online races pitted 20 players against one another, with items like boosts and rockets littered around the track making for absolute chaos. Skill and experience played into the results somewhat, but again, much like Mario Kart, a lucky beginner, or bang average player like myself, could finagle their way into a top three finish if the circumstances were just right.

RELATED: F-Zero Fans Executed Live On Television By Nintendo Executives

Clearly not enough people were as into Blur as I was. It struggled to fill lobbies so the servers unexpectedly shut down. I searched for a series that might replace it for years. Gran Turismo didn't scratch the itch, Need For Speed's newer games didn't satisfy me in the same way as Underground and Hot Pursuit used to, and while I enjoy the F1 games, they haven't filled the Blur-shaped hole in my heart.

cars racing in blur
via Xbox

It has been so long since the Blur servers shut down that I assumed that hole had healed over. That was until I played F-Zero 99. Even if I had still been actively looking for something to replace Blur, I certainly wouldn't have looked to F-Zero. No hate for the series, I know there's a lot of love for it out there, but outside of one time a friend thrust an N64 controller in my hand and asked me to play it at a video game bar, I know nothing of it. I didn't even realize F-Zero 99 was basically a slap in the face to hardened fans who have been waiting 20 years for a new game. While they might not be satisfied with a battle royale version of the original, since it was available right away and free for NSO subscribers, I figured I'd check it out.

I assumed I'd have a few races and then return to the growing pile of games I still need to play before the end of 2023. That didn't happen. Two races quickly turned into two hours, my entire evening consumed by F-Zero. Turns out the battle royale racer is everything I want from a racing game in many of the same ways that Blur was. Four cars to quickly choose between before you're thrown into a race. 98 other players in that race so yeah, about as chaotic as you could ever hope a racing game to be. No weapons but with so many other cars in close proximity, and the ability to deal damage by spinning them Crash Bandicoot-style, weapons would be overkill.

car exploding in f-zero 99
via Nintendo

The leaderboards, something I would obsessively check while playing Blur, are also there. Collect tickets in regular races and those tickets can be exchanged for entry into the Grand Prix. The longer you last in a Grand Prix, the more points you get, and the higher you climb up the leaderboard. All very simple, and all more than enough to keep me playing. I will have likely played a lot more by the time you read this, and progressed way up the leaderboard too, naturally.

The best part of all may well be how easy the game is to play. There's nothing worse than picking up a new racing game and it feels more difficult than driving the real version of that car round a track at 150mph. I don't want to think about which tyres I should use or if my gearbox can handle three more laps. F-Zero quickly teaches you the controls, three races to get you ready for the sheer number of players on the same track, and away you go.

lots of cars racing on the same track in f-zero 99
via Nintendo

All of that to say, if anyone responsible for the potential return of Blur is reading this, I do not now give you permission to rest easy. I love F-Zero 99, and while it'll tide me over for now, if anything, it has reawakened my hunger for more Blur. Remaster, sequel, hell, I've still got my Xbox 360, just turn the servers back on.

NEXT: Dig Tunnels And Build Massive Castles In Enshrouded