Gamers have always had to contend with non-gamers asking them why, if they want to play football or golf, why they don’t just do those things in real life instead of ‘pretending’ to play them in games such as FIFA or Tiger Woods. This attitude has always been a strange one to me – just because you’re a fan of a certain sport or activity, doesn’t mean that you’re skilled, able or even invested enough to want to take part in said activity in real life, particularly when things like cost and even weather are also taken into account.

Not to mention the fact that gaming can also see you take part in fantasy match ups that’d never actually happen in real life – or take you on a journey to win championship competitions that only the best of the best real life competitors would ever get to for real.

So yes, gaming doesn’t only scratch very particular itches in different ways to real life sports – and believe me, I have never had any interest in real life football, but used to be absolutely obsessed with games such as ISS 64 – but sometimes, even the professionals use gaming to recreate their passions.

Take, for example, Lewis Hamilton. There’s few professional Formula One drivers in history who are as accomplished as Hamilton; he’s currently the joint record holder for the most F1 World Championships won (seven – equalled only by Michael Schumacher) and also currently has the record for the most wins (with 103), pole positions (again, 103) and even the most podium finishes (with a frankly amazing 184 of them!).

Despite this, he still had a hankering for some good, old-fashioned 16-bit racing recently. So much so, that upon landing in Montreal last week, he immediately went to a retro game shop and bought himself a Sega Genesis (aka Mega Drive for everyone outside the USA and Canada), along with Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II.

How do we know this? Well, he posted as follows on his Instagram feed:

Though I’ve always balked at the ‘why don’t you do it in real life instead of video games’ thing, I do find it really refreshing to see someone of Hamilton’s experience and success still going back to the video games that inspired him and finding that they’re still loads of fun, even when you can probably do better and be the actual best in the world in real life.

The photo he used to accompany the post was quite telling as well; the eagle eyed among you will notice that he also picked up the original Mortal Kombat.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t move on to becoming the best in the world at ripping spines out in real life too.

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