Presented by Fastbilly & Racketboy
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“The main impetus behind OutRun’s creation was my love of a film called ‘The Cannonball Run’. I thought it would be good to make a game like that. The film crosses America, so I made a plan to follow the same course and collect data as I went.” – Yu Suzuki – Retrogamer Interview 2008.
If you did not know, Outrun is an arcade racer that was released in 1986. It has been ported and updated dozens of times, but the core of the game is still the same. In Outrun you get behind the wheel of a Ferrari Testarossa and floor it across a fictional country in one of the first arcade driving games ever (its not really a race, its a cross country driving game). With that all said, lets get to it.
Outrun was conceived by Yu Suzuki (Hang On) when he watched everyones favorite 1981 Burt Reynolds film, Cannonball Run. He traveled across the world and based the game on “real world” landscapes. While the game takes place in a fictional country it does have a lot of European influences (ie the Alps). It was initially going to be based on the United States but after Yu Suzuki realized that the game would look similar for most of the middle of the country, so he focused his attention on Europe. He traveled to Europe, talked to locales, and took meticulous notes of the Testarossa. What we ended up with is Outrun. A game that redefined several aspects for mid to late 80s arcade games: Force feedback, Super Scaling (previously used in Space Harrier), branching paths, variable handling based on speed, and was one of the first widespread titles that cost more than one token per play. But according to Yu, it was only a fraction of what he wanted. He wanted multiple vehicles, multiple drivers, events at specific checkpoints depending on your driver and vehicles, and more vehicles on the road. It also ushered in a new generation of game music. Just listen to it for yourself. When most driving games of the era only had blips and boops, having a real soundtrack really changed things. Ofcourse the music has changed over the ages, but the Sega S.S.T. Band still has one of the best versions.
If you are interested in more about the making of Outrun. Buy a copy of Retrogamer issue 54 here. It is an excellent article through and through.
Outrun’s gameplay is actually very simple. Drive from Coconut Beach through a web of fourteen other locations to one of five endings. While driving you must avoid other vehicles and make it through checkpoints within the timeframe.
Outrun has one sequel (with three versions of it):
- Outrun 2 – 2003
- Outrun 2 SP (SPecial tours) – 2004
- Outrun 2 SP SDX (Special tours Super DeluXe) – 2006
It does however have more than half a dozen spinoffs:
- Battle Outrun – 1989
- Turbo Outrun – 1989
- Outrun Europa – 1991
- Outrunners – 1992
- Out Run 2019 – 1993
- Out Run 2 – 2004
- Outrun 2006: Coast to Coast – 2006
- Outrun Online Arcade – 2009
And a bunch of really crazy fans. Look I needed an excuse to post the Outrun sitdown cab turned into a car. Dont say you dont think it is cool.
- Sega Master System – 1987
- Commodore 64 – 1987
- Amstrad CPC – 1987
- ZX Spectrum – 1987
- MSX – 1987
- MSX2 – 1988
- Amiga – 1988
- Atari ST – 1989
- DOS – 1989
- PC Engine – 1990
- Sega Megadrive/Genesis – 1991
- Sega Game Gear – 1991
- Sega Saturn – 1996
- Dreamcast (Shenmue II) – 2001
- Xbox (Shenmue II) – 2002
- Gameboy Advance – 2003
- Xbox (Outrun 2) – 2004
- Cellphone – 2004
- Playstation 2 – 2006
The controls vary per the port obviously, but for the arcade version:
- Steering wheel
- Pedals – Acceleration, Brake
- Gearbox – High/Low
Like always we here at Racketboy suggest MameUI as our choice for classic arcade emulation on a Windows computer. If you have any questions of how to set it up, please feel free to ask in our Emulation forum or in the Outrun topic in the Together Retro forum.
Instead of posting in the comments section of the blog, we will be using the forum for all of our discussion in order to keep things more organized. So play Outrun and talk to us about your thoughts and play experiences in the forums. We want to know your favorite route, your highscores, and your failures.
Discuss The Game In The Forum