When I was a kid I had a fleeting interest in Nascar, which I eventually grew out of entirely. What I didn't grow out of entirely were the Nascar video games that adorned my adolescents like posters on my bedroom wall. Starting with Papyrus's Nascar Racing I felt as if I were truly a part of a travelling circus of raw American horsepower racing around in a circle at high speeds. This gave way to the followup Nascar Racing 2, which I played for far more years than perhaps I should have.
Nascar Racing 2 was really the PC Nascar game that started it all for me. The sheer number of mods, car skins and so many other options that Papyrus had thrown in kept the game fresh and alive for quite some time. When Nascar Racing 1999 Edition came out I had to download the demo and see if it was worth hanging up my illustrious Nascar Racing 2 career to switch over to. The answer was no.
Nascar Racing 2 was the reason why I started making websites. I just remember a large number of websites that were offering car skins and mods, and I wanted to be a part of that, so I started building my own websites and putting my crappily made skins up for download.
As years came and went my interest in Nascar Racing 2 faded, as did Papyrus's license to make Nascar games. Soon EA took control and was pumping out the Madden of Nascar games; just the same old shit year after year with little to nothing added and even less fun than it had ever been. I own quite a few Nascar games on the Playstation and even one for the Xbox, but reality set it and I realized that one was all I needed. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I realized just how true that statement was.
One was all that I needed and that one was Nascar Racing 2003 Season. Papyrus had outdone themselves with this one, as well as the massive modding community that still stands behind it thirteen years later! At first I didn't expect much, but NR2003 really took control and forced me to dig in deeper, much the same way Nascar Racing 2 did.
At first I was simply some unknown racer doing what I always do; pushing my favorite driver (Terry Labonte) around the track so that we're the only two cars on the lead lap. Before I knew it I was downloading mods, installing car packs and custom car skins. NR2003 is amazing, and it surprised even me. I knew the game was hard to find, I knew the game was expensive to buy, but I truly never expected to have this much fun.
NR2003 takes me back to 1999, sitting at my Mom's computer for hours on end, downloading mods that ranged from open wheel, Australian V8s and even just a bunch of Mini Coopers. If nothing else NR2003 has caused a massive wave of nostalgia to crash over me, even though it wasn't the game those memories were started with, it still stirs deep. NR2003 has an amazingly deep selection of mods that change the game play to nearly anything you could ever want. This is one of those rare cases where the game may never truly die, NR2003 may live on forever through the endless love and dedication from it's fans.