Retro Coin Op Synopsis
Sega’s Hang-On let you hop onto a speeding bullet bike and race to glorious victory or crushing defeat. Racing games had been an arcade staple almost since the beginning, but this Sega classic broke away from the pack by offering fairly realistic controls and a deluxe sit-down model that actually turned left and right as you shifted your weight.
Like most games in the genre, Hang-On pitted you against a crowd of other racers and against the clock. Time ticked town constantly, but you could keep on the road longer by passing bonus checkpoints.
The upright version of the game sported a set of motorcycle handlebars, complete with a throttle control and hand brake. But as cool as these features were, they paled in comparison to the sit-down version, which was shaped like a realistic bullet bike. The throttle and brake controls remained the same, but steering was handled by leaning the bike left and right (thus earning the game’s appropriate title).
In 1987, Sega upgraded the game to Super Hang-On, offering improved graphics, new courses and an adrenaline-pounding new feature. Your bike’s instrument panel now contained a mock speedometer, and when that baby hit the red zone (about 280 kph), you could punch the “Nitro” button for an additional burst of speed. The game’s sound effects increased in pitch and the painted lines on the street started blurring together as your top speed reached dangerously high levels. This added burst was enough to leave other bikers well back in your wake, but it made sharp bends in the road especially tricky.
Super Hang-On also divided its courses into levels of difficulty, represented by the continents of the world. Once a course was selected, the game allowed you to pick your theme music from four selections (“Outride a Crisis,” etc.), the better to get the blood flowing for the high-speed thrills that followed.
Technological advancements like force feedback steering have moved Hang-On and its sequel out of the racing spotlight in the years since their debuts, but these sleek racers made an indelible impression on mid-80’s gamers. Breaking down the walls between game and ride, Hang-On showed us the future, and the future was fast.
Arcade Machine Release History1985 - Hang-On
1987 - Super Hang-On
Arcade Game Sub Categoriesracing