Out Run series

Out Run series

Retro Coin Op Synopsis

A fast car, a babe in the passenger seat and rocking tunes blaring from the sound system… It was a boy’s world in 1986 arcades, and Sega’s Out Run gave them everything they wanted. Racing games had been around for more than a decade, but this one blew its ancestors away with bright, colorful graphics, a wide web of course options and the real feel of fast-cruising fun.

Out Run’s visual pleasures were clear right from the starting line. Seen from a raised, behind-the-car perspective was a bright red Ferrari Testarossa with a cool dude in the driver’s seat and a blonde hottie riding shotgun. In the background was a lush beachscape, with palm trees lining the road ahead and a crowd of fans there to send you off with a bang.

Once the race got started, there was little time to look at the scenery, but if you got a spare moment (say, during a particularly nasty crash), you could stop and admire the color and detail of Out Run’s 15 unique routes—Devil’s Canyon, Seaside Town, Wheatfield, Autobahn, Gateway, Vineyard and many more.

The game followed the standard racing pattern—make it to certain checkpoints before the clock expires to earn extra time—but Out Run really outran the competition with its route selection. Each stage of the race branched off in two, giving players numerous ways to get from the first track to one of the five end tracks. To make the journey even more pleasant, Sega allowed players to select one of three bopping tunes for the journey—Passing Breeze, Splash Wave or Magical Sound Shower.

In addition to its upscale graphics, Out Run won over players with its game physics. Using the two-speed shifter (Low and High), players topped out at very unsafe speeds, leading to spectacular crashes. On screen, the Ferrari flipped around in the air as the passengers flew out. Off screen, the steering wheel shook back and forth with the impact. And on the sit-down simulator cabinets, the entire seat shifted around on special hydraulics.

With so much going for it, Out Run was destined for success, and it more than delivered. The game was one of the biggest hits of the era, spawning numerous home versions and a pair of sequels. The first, 1987’s Turbo Out Run, brought a new car, new courses and a new feature—the “Turbo” button on the gear shift, which gave your car a burst of extra speed but also put it in danger of overheating.

Six years later, Sega introduced Out Runners, which brought the franchise into the new era of multi-player racers. Each cabinet housed two separate out-runners, and up to eight could play at once when multiple cabinets were linked together. So far, no more sequels have been released, but Out Run’s legacy of outdoor convertible fun lives on in today’s rip-roaring racing games.

Arcade Machine Release History

1986 - Out Run
1987 - Turbo Out Run
1993 - Out Runners

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