The original ultimate driving simulator; revolutionary for very good reason. A thing of beauty.
In GT, the idea of the game is simple, and has carried on through all of the games in the franchise since; you start with a pittance, which you must spend wisely on a car. With this car, you race, and when you win, you win money, which you use either to improve your car, or to purchase a new one. This basic formula carries you all of the way through the game until you finish, which is achieved when all races have been one.
Even when the game was released, it had a very raw edge to it; black backgrounds, mostly hard rock and metal music and a lot of blood-red used throughout the game. However, once the track was selected and the car chosen, the gamer was transported from a hard-core world to one of elegance and sophistication. The game utilized the PS capabilities as well as any game could have. The graphics were mind-blowing for the day and the driving was considerably more realistic than any car racing game ever had been.
With 178 cars and 11 tracks, GT was a huge game for the day and the challenge insured nobody finished the game in a hurry.
The main problem with the game was the repetition. For hard-core car enthusiasts, this was not that big a deal, but for people who were just 'gamers' it was a great problem. Luckily, they were usually entertained or amazed enough to stay on board until the game was finished with car upgrades to boot and both 'career' and 'arcade' game types to play. The two-player split-screen was and remains to this day the perfect blue print that ALL half descent (and even most of the terrible one) car racing games have used for a two-player race.
And also, not that I play games for their cinematics but, the opening movie was, and still is (in my opinion) the best opening cinematic to any car game ever. I don't quite understand how a car game can have such a great intro movie, seeing as the cars are so obviously fake and, even as a car fan, just watching fake cars doesn't have a great deal of an appeal to anyone; but it just is fantastic.
It is no surprise (and somehow everyone knew then) that the GT franchise ended up being the single most successful PS exclusive game franchise in history with combined sales over 60 million world-wide, Gran Turismo alone selling more than 10 million copies around the world. A previous Guinness World Record holder for the most amount of cars in a game, largest instruction booklet of any game, and still is the highest selling PS1 game of all time.
But there are no surprises there.