Daytona USA

Daytona USA

Retro Coin Op Synopsis

In the early 1990’s, as home video game systems continued to become more and more advanced, the arcade responded with games that were bigger, faster and more elaborate than anything a home system could offer. At the forefront of that revolution in 1994 was Sega’s Daytona USA, a highly advanced and stunningly realistic auto racing game.

The format and controls of Daytona USA were like those of most earlier racers—a circuit split up with time-sensitive checkpoints, a four-speed transmission, gas pedal, brake pedal, steering wheel, etc.—but that was where the similarities ended. The graphics on the Sega game were miles ahead of most competitors, creating an entire world both on and off the track. Players could select from several viewpoints, giving the players the freedom to decide on the best driving perspective.

The look was impressive enough, but Daytona USA shined brightest in its realistic feel. The game’s stock cars operated on principles of real-world physics, and the player was drawn into that world through a revolutionary force-feedback steering wheel. To the player in control, bumps on the road felt like real bumps on the road, tight curves brought increased g-forces, and when your car bumped another car, you knew it. The controls also responded realistically, gauging their effect by how hard you punched the gas, slammed on the brake or yanked the steering wheel.

The thrill of Daytona USA was increased by its multi-player capabilities. Each unit came with two separate racers, but with a fiber-optic connection, four units could be linked together, allowing up to eight racers to compete simultaneously on any of the game’s three courses—Beginner, Advanced or Expert.

The bigger, faster, fancier strategy worked for Sega, who gave a new generation of gamers a reason to put down their Super Nintendo and Genesis controllers and head for the arcade. The company followed up with a sequel, Daytona USA 2, in 1998, adding a few new stock car options, redesigned tracks, and the ability to link up to sixteen players.

Arcade Machine Release History

1994 - Daytona USA
1998 - Daytona USA 2

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