Greeting Arcade lovers and Sega fans. If you stopped in to check out this tribute post, it probably means your old, but have great taste. This is one, if the most epic arcade racers ever. For most of us, our fond nostalgic memories of this classic originated in the Arcade, but this gem was also equally as much fun on the Sega Genesis for those of us who owned it.
To pay tribute to Sega Genesis’s Out Run (Japan) on its 25th anniversary, I’ve created a very short game-play video of the US version, Some facts, and some pics. If you to have fond nostalgic memories of this Legendary Arcade Racer, please leave a comment below.
Out Run (アウトラン Auto Ran) is an arcade game released by Sega in 1986. It was designed by Yu Suzuki and developed by Sega AM2. The game was a critical and commercial success, becoming one of the best-selling video games of its time, winning the Golden Joystick Award for Game of the Year, and being listed among the best games of all time. It is notable for its innovative hardware (including a moving cabinet), pioneering graphics and music, innovative features such as offering the player choices in both soundtrack and nonlinear routes, and its strong theme of luxury and relaxation. In retrospective interviews, Yu Suzuki has classified Out Run not as a racing game, but as a “driving” game.
Out Run is a 3D third-person racing game. The player controls a car, a Ferrari Testarossa Spider, from a rear third-person perspective. In contrast to other third-person racing games at the time where the camera is some distance above the horizon to see into the distance, Out Run places the camera near the ground, directly behind the car, simulating a Ferrari driver’s perspective view and limiting the player’s view into the distance. The road also curves and dips, which, combined with the low perspective, increases the challenge by making it difficult to see what is on the other side of a hill.
The player must race to the end of each stage as fast as possible against a time limit while avoiding traffic. At the end of each stage, the player is presented with a fork in the road where the player must choose one of two stages. The left route presents an easier stage, while the right offers a greater challenge. Passing through checkpoints awards the player with extra time. Once the timer reaches zero or the player completes the race, the game ends. In addition to the nonlinear gameplay, Out Run also offered the choice of music to listen to while driving, represented as radio stations.
History and development
The arcade game features raster graphics on a color CRT monitor and amplified stereophonic sound. There are a total of four cabinet designs (two upright and two sit-down), all of which are equipped with a steering wheel with force feedback, a stick shift plus acceleration and brake pedals. The upright cabinet came in two versions: Normal and Mini. The sit-down cabinets resembled the in-game car and used a drive motor to move the main cabinet — turning and shaking according to the onscreen action. There were two versions of the sit down: the Deluxe version featured a 26-inch color monitor and a custom molded seat, while the Standard featured a more simplified design and a 20-inch color monitor.
Running on the Sega OutRun arcade system board, Out Run achieved its 3D effects using a sprite-scaling technique called ‘Super-Scaler’ technology (first used one year earlier in Hang-On and Space Harrier). This allowed a large number of scaled sprites to be displayed on the screen at the same time. Like the Sega Space Harrier games, the pseudo-3D sprite/tile scaling in Out Run was handled in a similar manner to textures in later texture-mapped polygonal 3D games of the 1990s. Sega AM2’s Yu Suzuki stated that his “designs were always 3D from the beginning. All the calculations in the system were 3D, even from Hang-On. I calculated the position, scale, and zoom rate in 3D and converted it backwards to 2D. So I was always thinking in 3D.”
Most previous racing games had commonly used a bird’s eye view. Out Run had great amounts of roadside detail and a “camera” that appeared to travel along the road with the car, passing through the action rather than merely observing it. According to the game’s designer, Yu Suzuki, the stages of Out Run are mostly based on European scenery; he had toured Europe for a period of 2 weeks in order to gain insight on how to design the game’s levels and capture as much realism as possible. His original concept was to base the game on The Cannonball Run but he switched the setting to Europe which offered greater landscape variation. The game’s backgrounds and roadside objects include old stone buildings, the Alps, windmills, and Stonehenge-like formations. Other stages include Devil’s Canyon and Death Valley.
In 1988, Out Run was voted as 1987’s Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick Awards, beating Renegade and The Last Ninja for the award. Out Run also received the Arcade Game of the Year award, beating Renegade and Bubble Bobble for the award.
Out Run has been listed among the best games of all time, by publications such as Next Generation, Retro Gamer, Stuff, and Time, as well as organizations such as G4, Killer List of Videogames, NowGamer, and Yahoo! Writing in 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, Joao Diniz Sanches praised Out Run‘s “unforgettable design and expertly tuned game balance”, describing the title as “the consummate exhibit in an oversubscribed genre” and “one of the purest and most joyous experiences in video gaming.”
In the arcades, Out Run was followed up in 1989 by Turbo Out Run. Turbo Out Run was a checkpoint racer in which the player drove from New York City to Los Angeles in 16 stages. It featured a rock-infused soundtrack. As with all Out Run games aside from OutRun 2, this is named by Yu Suzuki as an unofficial sequel. The game Rad Racer was based on it.
Another unofficial sequel came in 1992 with OutRunners, returning the game to its roots by bringing back the forks in the road. Head-to-head support appeared in the game for the first time, and if arcade cabinets were linked, up to eight drivers could race against each other. The game also featured eight different cars for people to drive in. It was the most successful game released for Sega’s System Multi 32 hardware, and one of the last successful 2D games released by Sega.
In 2003, the series made the jump to 3D graphics with the arcade release of OutRun 2 (featuring actual licensed vehicles from Ferrari, including a Testarossa). Yu Suzuki, the creator of the original Out Run, was on hand to bring his vision up to date, earning OutRun 2 great critical acclaim and the distinction of being the first official sequel to the original. The Xbox release added features such as new cars, new audio tracks and even a fully playable version of the original Out Run.
An updated version of OutRun 2 was released in arcades in 2004 entitled OutRun 2 SP. This expanded upon the original by offering a plethora of tracks to drive through, including the original map. It also improved on graphics and added more tunes to listen to while driving. It featured the 512 BB and 250 GTO, which were also featured in the Xbox version of the original OutRun 2.
In turn, OutRun 2 was succeeded by OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, developed for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox and Microsoft Windows. The game combines all the courses from OutRun 2 and OutRun 2 SP while adding additional features of its own, such as special car models, new game modes and more audio tracks. It also contains an “OutRun 2 SP” mode itself, meant to be an exact arcade port of OutRun 2 SP.
OutRun Online Arcade was released on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network in 2009. This downloadable game included only the tracks from OutRun 2 SP.
There are three other unofficial OutRun games that were only released for home systems: Out Run Europa (started in 1989, and completed in 1991), Battle Out Run (1989), and OutRun 2019 (1993). On the Master System, there is also a special version of Out Run which makes use of the 3D glasses add-on.
Coconut Beach, the first stage in Out Run, makes an appearance in Sega Superstars Tennis as a playable court. A course based on the series, named “OutRun Bay”, appears in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed as a free download to those who purchase the Bonus Edition. The game also features Ryo Hazuki from Shenmue as a playable character, driving an Out Run sit-down arcade cabinet during land-based portions of a race. The car the Mii drives is inspired by the Car on the box art of the home ports.
In 2015, OutRun appeared at 4th place on IGN’s list of The Top 10 Most Influential Racing Games Ever, behind Pole Position, Gran Turismo and Virtua Racing. According to Luke Reilly, OutRun‘s selectable “radio stations”, “undulating tracks, and a killer cockpit-style cabinet” was “unlike any racing game out there in 1986.” He said it proved “to be a hugely influential force on the genre, and traces of OutRun DNA can be found in series like Test Drive, Need for Speed, PGR, and Burnout” as well as “modern racers like the Forza Horizon games and DriveClub“.