OutRun is a 1986 racing game by Sega. This game has always been one of my favorites, with the art and music direction, alongside the fantastic graphics, shown as an evolution of Sega's revolutionary Super Scaler technology. But unlike the other Super Scaler games that preceded and followed it, OutRun has a modern appeal unlike any of the other games built on its foundation.

When OutRun hit the arcade racing scene, it was almost technically identical to its biking predecessor, Hang-On. Hang-On had the benefit of a very cool rideable motorcycle controller, but was otherwise not much of an advancement over the original arcade racing hit, Pole Position. At this time, racing games were limited to 2D over-the-head style games or these pseudo-3D path following racers. The technology just wasn't there to create a seamless 3D racing experience.

I believe the developers knew this; they knew that racing games couldn't conceivably get any better. So they focused on making OutRun more than a regular racing game: they made OutRun an experience. The game had fifteen unique areas to explore. They licensed the Ferrari Testarossa to put the player behind the wheel of one of the coolest cars of the era. And they truly solidified the entire package with three original songs by Hiroshi Kawaguchi, each with a different speed, genre, and feel, all selectable by the player.


For me, OutRun is one of the earliest games you play just to experience its atmosphere. Unlike older arcade cornerstones, there's nothing to beat in OutRun, nothing to defeat: It's just you and the open road. You choose the music, you choose the path, and you drive. It captures this feeling so well that it still has a lasting appeal today, with modern re-releases, both official and fanmade.

I urge anyone, even someone with a paltry interest in retro games, to play this game: I believe it's one of the all-time greats, and it's still so refreshing to play over 35 years after it was released.

OutRun is available to play on PC thanks to Cannonball. Thank you Reassembler for your excellent port of this classic game.

Apr 16 2022

Madville Neocities

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