Racing games like The Crew and Forza Horizon 2 let players explore miles and miles of open road. However, their massive open-world maps pale in comparison to the scope of a new driving simulator that pulls data straight from Google Maps.

The 2D Driving Simulator by Japan-based developer Frame Synthesis lets you drive (nearly) anywhere in the world. After punching in the address, you can start exploring the area from a top-down perspective. The map is created from satellite photos stitched together by Google.

The developers included a few bizarre options to color your experience. For example, you can swap out your car for a bus. If you want to obey traffic laws, you can use turn signals or hazard lights.

The actual driving is really bare-bones, though. Your vehicle picks up speed over time but there's next to no friction, so you slip and slide around like you're playing Watch Dogs. Furthermore, the "world" of the simulator is just a giant flat image. It doesn't differentiate between streets, parks, or even oceans so you can literally drive anywhere. Here's me parked in the middle of Fenway Park:

Fenway Park

And here's my reliving my Oregon Trail days by fording the Snake River:

Snake River

And fighting Noise in Shibuya:

Shibuya

Another flaw is that Google Map's data isn't complete. Some areas of the Earth have vague or nonexistent maps. If you're hoping to do donuts in Antarctica with this simulator, you're bound to be disappointed.

Still, this simulator is a fun diversion for a slow afternoon in spite of its limits. It's a good way to learn your new neighborhood or revisit your hometown.

Still, this simulator is a fun diversion for a slow afternoon in spite of its limits. It's a good way to learn your new neighborhood or revisit your hometown.

This isn't the first time that a developer has used satellite photos for a driving game. Real World Racing generates tracks from across the world using aerial photography. RWR has much more sophisticated mechanics, as it's an actual racing game rather than a driving app. However, the trade-off is that it has a smaller amount of environments for players to explore. I'm hopeful, though, that some day we'll see a full-fledged racing game that spans multiple continents.

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