ATVs in Popular Culture: Video Games Edition

ATVs have always held a special place in the hearts of adventure enthusiasts. Their unique blend of ruggedness and freedom translates seamlessly into the world of video games, bringing a thrill that is hard to match. From tearing up muddy trails to navigating technical obstacle courses, ATVs offer a dynamic driving experience that gamers love.

In this blog, we'll dive into some of the top ATV video games that have captured our imaginations over the years. Whether you're a seasoned gamer or someone looking to explore new virtual adventures, these games showcase the best of off-road excitement. We'll also provide an honest review of each game, focusing on gameplay, realism, graphics, and fun factor. So, let's buckle up and hit the virtual road!

Our Rating System

In our reviews, we'll use a simple but effective rating system to give you a clear idea of what to expect from each game. Here are the criteria we’ll be using:

  • Gameplay: How engaging and smooth the game is. Does it keep you hooked?
  • Realism: How accurately does the game represent ATV riding and off-road challenges?
  • Graphics: The visual quality of the game. Are the environments and vehicles well-designed?
  • Fun Factor: Overall enjoyment. Is it a game you’d want to play repeatedly?

Our goal is to help you find the best ATV games to test your driving skills and enjoy some high-speed off-road action. Each review will provide an in-depth look at the features, modes, and overall experience of the game. Ready to explore the world of ATV games? Let’s get started!

Super Off Road game case for the Super Nintendo

Super Off Road

Super Off Road, often called "Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off Road," is a legendary title among ATV video games. Developed by Leland Corporation and released in 1989, it became a popular arcade game before being ported to various home consoles. I remember spending countless hours in arcades, drawn in by the game's engaging off-road racing and the thrill of competing against friends.

Endorsed by the famous off-road racer Ivan Stewart, this game added an authentic touch that resonated with fans. The gameplay involves racing miniature monster trucks on dirt tracks filled with obstacles like water hazards and jumps. You earn money by performing well in races, which they can use to upgrade their trucks' tires, engines, and nitro boosts. The top-down perspective provides a clear view of the track and the positions of competitors, making the races both strategic and exciting.

Key Features

  • Power-Up System: Collecting cash during races allows you to upgrade their trucks, adding a strategic element. Deciding whether to invest in speed, handling, or nitro can significantly impact the race outcome.
  • Top-Down Perspective: This unique viewpoint offers a comprehensive view of the track and competitors, enhancing the strategic aspects of the game.
  • Multiplayer Support: The game supports up to three players, creating a fun and competitive environment. Racing against friends and using power-ups strategically adds to the excitement.

Consoles and Platforms

Super Off Road was originally released for arcades but later made its way to various home consoles, including:

  • NES (Nintendo Entertainment System)
  • SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
  • Sega Genesis
  • Amiga
  • Atari ST
  • Commodore 64/128
  • MS-DOS
  • Game Boy
  • Sega Master System
  • Sega Game Gear
  • Atari Lynx
  • ZX Spectrum

Our Rating:

  • Gameplay (8/10): Engaging and competitive gameplay, especially with the power-up system and multiplayer support. The repetitive nature of the tracks and limited number of circuits prevent a higher score.
  • Realism (6/10): While fun, the game isn't very realistic. The arcade-style physics and exaggerated power-ups create a more fantastical racing experience.
  • Graphics (7/10): Solid for its time, but they don't hold up compared to modern games. The top-down perspective and simple graphics were functional but not particularly impressive.
  • Fun Factor (9/10): Excels in pure fun. The competitive nature, power-ups, and multiplayer mode make it a blast to play with friends.
Overpass game title screen


Overpass is a more recent addition to the ATV video game lineup, offering a unique take on off-road racing. Developed by Zordix Racing, this game emphasizes technical skill and precise control over sheer speed. When I first played Overpass, I was struck by how much it felt like a real off-road driving experience. The game requires careful planning to navigate obstacles like steep inclines, rocks, and mud, making it a true test of driving skills.

Overpass focuses on realistic off-road simulation. You must switch between 2WD and 4WD and manage differential locks to tackle various terrains. The detailed environments and vehicle physics make every race feel authentic and challenging.

Key Features

  • Technical Skill: Overpass challenges you to master off-road driving. Switching between 2WD and 4WD, managing differential locks, and strategizing based on terrain are crucial to success.
  • Diverse Terrains: The game features various environments, from rocky hills to muddy swamps, each presenting unique challenges that test your reaction time and adaptability.
  • Realistic Off-Road Simulation: The physics engine accurately simulates the behavior of ATVs and UTVs, making the experience feel authentic. Every bump and dip is felt, adding to the immersion.

Consoles and Platforms

Overpass is available on multiple platforms, including:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Our Rating:

  • Gameplay (9/10): Deeply engaging gameplay that focuses on technical driving skills and strategic planning. The diverse terrains and realistic challenges keep it exciting and rewarding.
  • Realism (9/10): Excels in realism with a detailed physics engine and the need to carefully navigate obstacles, making it one of the most realistic ATV games available.
  • Graphics (8/10): Impressive graphics with detailed environments and vehicle models, though there's room for improvement in texture quality and visual effects.
  • Fun Factor (8/10): While not as fast-paced as some other games, Overpass is satisfying for those who enjoy technical challenges and realistic simulations. The fun comes from mastering difficult terrains and achieving precision driving.
ATV Offroad Fury in-game shot showing side by side racing

ATV Offroad Fury Series

The ATV Offroad Fury series is a beloved set of quad racing games that began in 2001. Developed initially by Rainbow Studios and later by Climax Racing, this series quickly became a staple for PlayStation gamers. I vividly remember the thrill of speeding through rugged terrains, pulling off insane stunts, and competing against friends in split-screen mode.

The series' first installment, "ATV Offroad Fury," set the stage with its impressive graphics, diverse tracks, and engaging gameplay. As the series evolved, each game introduced new features and modes, keeping the experience fresh and exciting. By the time "ATV Offroad Fury 4" rolled around, you could race not only ATVs but also MX bikes, dune buggies, and trophy trucks across expansive, streaming tracks. The inclusion of a career mode with a storyline and cutscenes was a notable addition that added depth to the gameplay.

Key Features

  • Quad Racing: Central to the series, offering a mix of speed and stunts that test your driving skills.
  • Series Evolution: Each game brought new features, vehicles, and modes. For example, "ATV Offroad Fury 4" included a variety of vehicles beyond ATVs and introduced point-to-point tracks and a career mode.
  • Multiplayer Modes: From the beginning, multiplayer gameplay was a highlight, with options for split-screen racing and later online multiplayer.

Consoles and Platforms

The ATV Offroad Fury series is exclusive to Sony platforms, primarily available on:

  • PlayStation 2
  • PlayStation Portable (PSP)

Our Rating:

  • Gameplay (8/10): Engaging and fun, with a good mix of racing and stunts. The evolving features and vehicles kept the series interesting.
  • Realism (7/10): While not the most realistic, the game struck a balance between fun and believable physics.
  • Graphics (7/10): Impressive for their time, with each installment improving on the last.
  • Fun Factor (8/10): High replay value, especially with the multiplayer modes and varied racing environments.


MX vs ATV mud racing

MX vs. ATV Series

The MX vs. ATV series is another prominent name in off-road racing games, known for its exciting crossover of motocross bikes and ATVs. Developed by Rainbow Studios and published by THQ Nordic, this series began with "MX vs. ATV Unleashed" in 2005. I remember the thrill of the diverse vehicle selection and the expansive tracks that offered endless hours of competitive racing.

This series stands out for its broad vehicle variety, including not just MX bikes and ATVs, but also dune buggies, sport trucks, and even trophy trucks in some editions. The tracks range from tight stadium circuits to vast open environments, providing a wide array of challenges. The franchise has a rich history, evolving with each installment to include new features and gameplay mechanics. For instance, "MX vs. ATV: All Out" introduced a free-riding mode where players could explore the game world at their own pace. The latest installment, "MX vs. ATV Legends," brings even more refined gameplay and new content, ensuring the series remains fresh and exciting.

Key Features

  • Crossover Racing: Blends motocross bikes and ATVs, along with other vehicles like dune buggies and trucks, offering diverse racing experiences.
  • Vehicle Variety: A wide selection of vehicles adds depth and variety to the gameplay, catering to different racing styles.
  • Franchise History: Evolving from "MX vs. ATV Unleashed," the series has consistently introduced new features and improved mechanics, making each game a unique experience.

Consoles and Platforms

The MX vs. ATV series is available on multiple platforms, including:

  • PlayStation 2 (MX vs. ATV Unleashed, MX vs. ATV Untamed)
  • PlayStation 3 (MX vs. ATV Reflex, MX vs. ATV Alive)
  • PlayStation 4 (MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore, MX vs. ATV All Out, MX vs. ATV Legends)
  • PlayStation 5 (MX vs. ATV Legends)
  • Xbox 360 (MX vs. ATV Reflex, MX vs. ATV Alive)
  • Xbox One (MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore, MX vs. ATV All Out, MX vs. ATV Legends)
  • PC (MX vs. ATV Unleashed, MX vs. ATV Reflex, MX vs. ATV All Out, MX vs. ATV Legends)

Our Rating:

  • Gameplay (9/10): Highly engaging with a broad range of vehicles and tracks. The crossover racing adds a unique twist.
  • Realism (8/10): Good balance of realistic physics and accessible gameplay.
  • Graphics (8/10): Consistently solid across the series, with each installment improving visual fidelity.
  • Fun Factor (9/10): The variety of vehicles and tracks, along with the competitive multiplayer modes, ensure high replay value.


A 4x4 truck sites on the side of sand dunes - screenshot from the game MudRunner

MudRunner (Spintires)

MudRunner and its predecessor Spintires are off-road simulation games that provide some of the most realistic and challenging driving experiences available. Developed by Saber Interactive and Oovee Game Studios respectively, these games task players with navigating treacherous terrains using various heavy-duty vehicles. I recall many intense moments spent trying to navigate narrow paths and trails only for the ledge to give weigh, leaving me having to winch myself back on course. Frustration mounts quickly.

Both games feature detailed physics engines that model how vehicles interact with mud, water, and other rough environments. This realism makes every journey a strategic challenge, requiring careful planning and precise control. MudRunner builds on Spintires by adding more vehicles, maps, and a cooperative multiplayer mode, enhancing the overall experience.

Key Features

  • Superb Realism: Both games are known for their highly realistic physics and environmental interactions.
  • Challenging Terrains: Navigate various maps with different environmental challenges, from dense forests to muddy swamps.
  • Co-Op Mode: MudRunner supports cooperative multiplayer, allowing players to tackle tough environments together.

Consoles and Platforms

MudRunner and Spintires are available on multiple platforms, including:

  • PC (Spintires, MudRunner)
  • PlayStation 4 (MudRunner)
  • Xbox One (MudRunner)
  • Nintendo Switch (MudRunner)
  • iOS and Android (MudRunner Mobile)

Our Rating:

  • Gameplay (7/10): Engaging but can be frustrating due to high difficulty and lack of clear objectives.
  • Realism (10/10): Top-notch physics and environmental interactions make it highly realistic.
  • Graphics (9/10): Excellent graphics with detailed vehicle models and environments.
  • Fun Factor (7/10): The high difficulty may not appeal to everyone, but the games can be deeply satisfying for simulation enthusiasts.


In-game footage showing a dirt bike rider in Trials Rising

Trials Rising

Trials Rising, developed and published by Ubisoft, is a 2.5D physics-based racing game that brings the Trials series to new heights. Released in 2019, this game challenges users to navigate complex obstacle courses on motorcycles, using precise control and timing. My first experience with Trials Rising was exhilarating, as each course presented unique challenges that required both skill and creativity to overcome.

The game features a wide variety of global courses, from the Eiffel Tower to Mount Everest, each filled with obstacles that challenge your off-road skills. The customization options for both the rider and the motorcycle add a personal touch to the gameplay. One of the standout features is the "Tandem Bike" mode, where two players control one bike, adding a fun and chaotic element to the game.

Key Features

  • Physics-Based Racing: The core gameplay revolves around the realistic physics engine, which accurately models how the motorcycle interacts with the environment. This makes each jump, flip, and crash feel authentic.
  • Global Courses: Trials Rising features a diverse set of tracks set in iconic locations around the world. Each course presents unique challenges that keep the gameplay fresh and exciting.
  • Customization: Players can customize their rider and motorcycle with a wide range of options, allowing for a personalized gaming experience.

Consoles and Platforms

Trials Rising is available on multiple platforms, including:

  • PC
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Stadia
  • Amazon Luna

Our Rating:

  • Gameplay (9/10): The gameplay is highly engaging and addictive, with a perfect balance of challenge and fun.
  • Realism (7/10): While the physics are well-executed, the game's over-the-top stunts and obstacles keep it from being entirely realistic.
  • Graphics (8/10): The graphics are vibrant and detailed, with each course offering a visually appealing backdrop.
  • Fun Factor (9/10): High replay value and a variety of modes make Trials Rising a joy to play, whether solo or with friends.



Multiple ATVs race in the video game PURE on Playstation


Pure is an off-road, quad-bike trick-racing game developed by Black Rock Studio and published by Disney Interactive Studios. Released in 2008, this game took the racing genre by storm with its emphasis on high-flying stunts and intense races. I remember being blown away by the game's breathtaking jumps and the freedom to perform insane tricks in mid-air.

The gameplay is centered around three race types: Race, Freestyle, and Sprint. In Race mode, players compete over three laps filled with sharp turns and vertigo-inducing jumps. Freestyle mode focuses on performing and comboing tricks to achieve the highest score before running out of gas. Sprint mode, on the other hand, emphasizes quick races with many hard turns and minimal jumps. The trick system encourages you to perform fresh tricks for higher scores, adding a strategic layer to the game.

Key Features

  • Quad-Bike Racing: Players race in various locations worldwide, executing incredible stunts at extreme heights.
  • Trick System: The game features a unique trick system where performing new tricks fills the "thrill bar," allowing access to higher-level tricks and special moves.
  • Customizable Bikes: Instead of selecting pre-made ATVs, players build their quads from scratch, customizing everything from the suspension to the color of the handlebars.

Consoles and Platforms

Pure is available on multiple platforms, including:

  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • PC

Our Rating:

  • Gameplay (8/10): The gameplay is highly engaging with its mix of racing and stunt mechanics. The variety of race types keeps it interesting.
  • Realism (7/10): While the tricks are exaggerated, the game's physics and handling provide a satisfying experience.
  • Graphics (8/10): The visuals are impressive, with detailed environments and smooth animations.
  • Fun Factor (9/10): High replay value thanks to the stunt system and customization options.


Art clip showing Trevor from GTA5 on an ATV

Grand Theft Auto 5

Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5), developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games, is a game that needs little introduction. Released in 2013, GTA 5 offers a sprawling open world where players can engage in a variety of activities, from heists to leisurely off-road ATV rides. One of my favorite aspects of GTA 5 is the sheer diversity of gameplay options and the freedom to explore the massive world of Los Santos and Blaine County.

While GTA 5 is much more than an ATV game, the ATV riding is so well done that we had to include it. ATVs play a significant role in the game, especially in the rural areas where players can tackle rough terrains. The "Blazer" ATV is particularly popular for its speed and stunting capabilities. Customization options in GTA Online allow players to modify their ATVs, adding a personal touch to their off-road adventures.

Key Features

  • Diverse Gameplay: GTA 5 offers an extensive range of activities, from story missions to side quests and random events, providing endless entertainment.
  • ATV Customization: Players can modify their ATVs in GTA Online, enhancing performance and aesthetics.
  • Open-World Exploration: The game features a vast, detailed world that players can explore at their own pace, with plenty of opportunities for off-road adventures.

Consoles and Platforms

GTA 5 is available on multiple platforms, including:

  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 5
  • Xbox 360
  • Xbox One
  • Xbox Series X/S
  • PC

Our Rating:

  • Gameplay (10/10): The gameplay is diverse and immersive, with a mix of action, exploration, and customization.
  • Realism (8/10): While some elements are exaggerated for entertainment, the game's world and physics are highly detailed and believable.
  • Graphics (10/10): The graphics are outstanding, with realistic environments and character models.
  • Fun Factor (10/10): No other rating would do this game justice. The sheer amount of content and freedom in the game makes it incredibly fun and replayable.


Writing this article was a delightful departure from our usual topics, allowing us to dive into the rich and varied world of ATV video games. From the nostalgic arcade races of Super Off Road to the realistic simulations of Spintires, we explored diverse gameplay experiences that highlight the creativity of developers like Rainbow Studios. These games offer thrilling ATV action, each with unique gameplay and features.

Looking ahead, the future of ATVs in video games looks promising, with developers continually pushing the boundaries of realism and gameplay. As gaming technology advances, we can expect even more immersive and dynamic off-road experiences. We'd love to hear from you! Share your favorite ATV games and experiences in the comments, and let us know which features and modes you enjoy the most. Your insights help us understand what makes these games truly unforgettable.


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