The original OutRun was highly innovative for its time. Released in 1986 to worldwide arcades, it featured a cabinet that looked like a Ferrari Testarosa.
It also featured a stick shift, in game radio stations, brake and gas pedals, and a steering wheel with force feedback.
AGAIN THIS WAS 1986!
Needless to say, OutRun was far ahead of its time. Sega AM2, who would go on to develop huge arcade hits such as Space Harrier, Virtua Fighter, Daytona USA, and many others, created OutRun under the direction of Yu Suzuki.
Suzuki was the arcade genius who had a vision for immersive experiences at the arcade. He was always striving for another level of gaming and wanted to offer new games that were unlike anything else.
The objective of Sega OutRun was simple – make it through each route and checkpoint before time runs out. The graphics were vibrant and were in a pseudo-3D look. This was accomplished by creative sprite scaling to create a more immersive experience combined with the tight controls and high sense of speed.
This was the granddaddy of arcade racing games and unique cabinets
At the time, there was no way to duplicate this set up at home. Steering wheels with pedals for a home console game were unheard of and would likely be absurdly expensive. Essentially, OutRun helped pioneer racing setups for home consoles. OutRun saw great success during its run in arcades. Critics loved it and players couldn’t pump enough quarters into the machines.
The innovations OutRun created were later become an arcade staple. Different genres and games would have large cabinets you could sit in to give you a new experience, such as After Burner, Rad Mobile, and later on Crazy Taxi and the RUSH series of games.
OutRun would still maintain a presence throughout the years. Console ports were released on the Genesis which were certainly fun, but not nearly as exciting at the arcade cabinets. Peripherals just were not there for that kind of experience at home.
OutRun 2: Coast to Coast were eventually released for the PS2, PSP, and Xbox in the mid-2000s. They featured the same great gameplay as the original, but better graphics. The PS2 wasn’t as great of a port as the Xbox version, but there was more support to steering wheels for the PS2.
A port of Coast 2 Coast was released for PS3 and 360 on their respective marketplaces, but unfortunately, Sega’s license with Ferrari expired and the game was delisted in 2012.
One thing that shouldn’t be up for dispute is the influence OutRun had on arcades and eventual at home peripherals for racing games. 1986 saw the origins and now in 2015, we have only expanded and become more immersed in these kinds of experiences. Those immersive experiences were originally restricted to arcades, but now we can share them at home and create full racing setups. And we have OutRun to thank for a good part of this.
Whats your take, do think the Sega Outrun arcade game sent us down the path of sim racing at home? Let me know in the comments.