Ken Block's "Gymkhana 5" video, where he shreds the streets of San Francisco (and even busts doughnuts on a barge in the Bay!), is the closest thing to video game driving come to life as I've ever seen.
Then again, that's what being a hoonigan is all about, and it's that type of spirit that Codemasters tried to capture in the new "DiRT Showdown: Hoonigan Edition" game, where the goal isn't always about fastest lap times, it's about the madness you can create with a tricked-out ride.
ESPN Playbook: For all those gamers out there who might not be familiar with the word hoonigan, what's being a hoonigan all about?
Ken Block: For me, the word hoonigan is actually something that describes what I like to do with cars, and that's blow them out and having fun with these amazing vehicles as opposed to simply racing them all the time. When I started racing rally, I just loved driving these cars so much, but the only problem I ever saw with the race car, is I only got to drive it in the race or for testing. So for me, being a hoonigan embodies having fun with the car and driving aggressive and doing doughnuts and burnouts and jumping it and basically just everything I do in my Gymkhana videos, having fun with my car.
Do you think Codemasters has done a good job capturing that hoonigan spirit in the "DiRT" video games?
Yeah, as soon as they added the Gymkhana element into the game, they made it so you can just go out and enjoy these areas in the game, and it enables you to go out and have fun with the car in the game as opposed to only driving the car on the racing area. Originally with "DiRT 3," they went down that path where you can have fun with the game and have fun with the car beyond only racing, and I think they've done a really good job with it. It's something that you just don't see in other driving games. It's usually all about lap times and racing, but in "DiRT," it's about being a hoonigan and having fun with that car.
I see in the game and in the Gymkhana videos how you're able to control the car sliding sideways, which always trips me out, because it seems like you'd have no control whatsoever. Can you explain how you're able to control a car sliding sideways at such high speeds and not go drifting into a wall?
Coming from rally, we like to carry that grip with as much speed as possible around corners, and a lot of it just comes with experience. Our cars are built to slide and drift and carry that speed through the corners while being sideways, and it's just one of those things, whether your in the Gymkhana video, racing, or in the video game, where you need to go out and learn what works and what doesn't work, and how you can get the best that you can out of a corner.