If I were to ask you for a game that signifies the arcade racer of the 1980s, what would you say? Perhaps a game that has speed, great music, clever graphics, and above all, a Ferrari Testarossa as the vehicle of choice? If you thought about all these, you were probably thinking about Out Run.
The basic premise is simple enough; get from the starting line to the next checkpoint before the time runs out, and enjoy both the scenery and the music while doing it. Of course it’s not quite so simple, since other traffic and environment obstacles make your driving life a royal pain.
Surroundings are where Out Run really shines, and you’ll be racing through several different vistas on your way to the goal. From asphalt next to the beach to sand dunes, a wasteland, and grassy planes. Some surroundings will add obstacles, like the aforementioned sand dunes. Your speed will vanish fast if the wheels stay too long in the sand, and shifting to low gear will only do so much to mitigate that. Trust me!
The seat was rock hard plastic and the car wasn’t particularly big, but once your butt was firmly planted and a coin was tossed into the slot, it was one fast experience pumped into your senses. Yes, yes, the steering wheel wasn’t as exact as you could have wanted, at least not all the times I played in the arcades, but it was fun as all heck none the less. I mean, the gear shifter actually worked! That was more than enough for a young boy to be enthralled by it all.
Fortunately SEGA had the wisdom to spread the gospel of Out Run beyond the arcades, and we soon saw some decent, and some excellent poets to home consoles and home computers. Outstanding entries are the ports to the SEGA Saturn via the SEGA Ages collection, as a bonus in the game Shenmue 2 for the SEGA Dreamcast, and recently a very good 3D variant for the Nintendo 3DS.
There has been some life in the series on this side of the year 2000, but my heart beats for he original and classic. When the speed exceeds 192 km/h and Magical Sound Shower is pumping out of the speakers, the vision of 1986 is as alive as it has ever been.
Swerving from side to side of the road, dodging cars and trucks, staying out of the way of obstacles that litter the sides of the road. All in a days work for an Out Run player.
No matter where you find it, I recommend giving it a shot. The arcade is a solid experience, and if you have a Nintendo 3DS, the port for that system is as good as it gets on the go. For the sense of speed, I’d say Out Run does the job, 3 decades later.