Monaco GP (video game)

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Monaco GP
Monaco gp flyer.jpg
Platform(s)Arcade, SG-1000, Sega Saturn[2]

Monaco GP[a] is an arcade racing game released by Sega in 1979. One of the last Sega games to use TTL chips instead of a microprocessor CPU, the game has players race against a clock and pass rival racers while attempting to earn points driving through five areas.

The game was commercially successful in arcades. In Japan, it was among the top three highest-grossing games of 1979 and top five in 1980, while in the United States it was the top-grossing driving game of 1981. It continued to regularly appear on Japanese arcade charts through 1983, and made a record number of appearances on US arcade charts from 1980 through 1987. An upgraded version, Pro Monaco GP, was released in 1980. Monaco GP was ported to the SG-1000 in 1983. The series also had later releases Super Monaco GP and Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II.

Gameplay and technical aspects[edit]

The deluxe cockpit cabinet of Monaco GP. Inside, a stick shift is on the left, and a steering wheel and pedal are underneath the monitor.

Monaco GP was one of the last arcade games made by Sega to use transistor–transistor logic (TTL) based discrete logic circuits instead of a microprocessor-based central processing unit (CPU). Over 100 chips across two circuit boards operate the game. Sprites and other images such as the cars and "game over" message are stored in small custom read-only memory (ROM) chips. Sound effects, such as the cars' engines, a siren, and the sound of wheels slipping on the pavement, are generated by operational amplifiers and other analog circuitry. The scoring information appears on various LEDs located on the cabinet, including the player's score and the high score table.[5]

The main objective of the game is to race against the clock. Points are awarded as the player races through five areas. As the game progresses, rival cars controlled by the game get faster, the road narrows, and the road surface changes to ice and gravel.[5][6] Multiple styles of arcade cabinet exist for the game,[6] including a deluxe cockpit cabinet which was designed in approximation to sitting behind the wheel of a race car with a padded steering wheel and accelerator pedal.[5]

Release and reception[edit]

Initially displayed at the Japan Amusement Association show in Tokyo in 1979, Monaco GP received a positive reception at its debut. Sega chairman David Rosen called the game's warm reception at the show evidence of the world's growing acceptance of coin-operated arcade games.[7] Monaco GP was released in November 1979.[2] An upgraded version, called Pro Monaco GP, was released in 1980.[5] The original game was later ported to the SG-1000 and SC-3000 in 1983.

It became highly successful in arcades. In Japan, it was the third highest-grossing arcade game of 1979,[8] then the fifth highest-grossing arcade game of 1980,[9] and then the 20th highest-grossing arcade video game of 1982.[10] Game Machine later listed Monaco GP on their July 15, 1983 issue as being the fifth top-grossing upright/cockpit arcade cabinet of the month in Japan.[11]

In North America, Cash Box magazine reported that it was the most popular arcade driving game in the US in 1981, and it was among the highest-grossing games of the year.[12] The game appeared on the monthly arcade earnings charts of RePlay magazine from April 1980 until April 1987, a record number of appearances, to which Namco's Galaga was the next closest to reaching.[5] In 1985, Eddie Adlum of RePlay called Monaco GP the "most evergreen" arcade hit to emerge from 1979.[13]

French magazine Tilt gave the SC-3000 version of the game 6 of 6 stars in graphics, and 4 of 6 in gameplay.[14] Sega later revived the Monaco GP series with Super Monaco GP in 1989,[5] and Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II in 1992.[15] In 2003, Sega made a remake for the PlayStation 2, as a part of the Sega Ages 2500 collection.[16] The remake features a number of additions including more cars and game modes.[17] Kurt Kalata of Hardcore Gaming 101 applauded the 2500 remake in particular for its improvements to the gameplay of the original, believing it would have been worthy of a separate release outside Japan.[18]


  1. ^ Japanese: モナコGP, Hepburn: Monako GP


  1. ^ a b Akagi, Masumi (13 October 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971-2005) [Arcade TV Game List: Domestic • Overseas Edition (1971-2005)] (in Japanese). Japan: Amusement News Agency. p. 131. ISBN 978-4990251215.
  2. ^ a b c d e Sega Arcade History (in Japanese). Tokyo: Enterbrain. 2001. p. 39.
  3. ^ a b c Akagi, Masumi (13 October 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971-2005) [Arcade TV Game List: Domestic • Overseas Edition (1971-2005)] (in Japanese). Japan: Amusement News Agency. pp. 34-40 (35). ISBN 978-4990251215.
  4. ^ a b "Video Game Flyers: Monaco GP, Gremlin-Sega (Germany)". The Arcade Flyer Archive. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Horowitz, Ken (2018). The Sega Arcade Revolution, A History in 62 Games. McFarland & Company. pp. 27–29. ISBN 9781476631967.
  6. ^ a b "Monaco GP - Videogame by Sega/Gremlin". Killer List of Videogames. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  7. ^ "Chairman with Hit Game". Cashbox. December 8, 1979. p. 42.
  8. ^ "ベストスリー 本紙調査" [Best 3 Paper Survey] (PDF). Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 136. Amusement Press, Inc. February 1980. p. 2.
  9. ^ "ベストスリー 本紙調査 (調査対象1980年) 〜 アーケードゲーム機" [Best Three Book Survey (Survey Target 1980) ~ Arcade Game Machines] (PDF). Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 159. Amusement Press, Inc. 15 February 1981. p. 2.
  10. ^ ""Pole Position" No. 1 Video Game: Game Machine's "The Year's Best Three AM Machines" Survey Results" (PDF). Game Machine. No. 207. Amusement Press, Inc. 1 March 1983. p. 30.
  11. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - アップライト, コックピット型TVゲーム機 (Upright/Cockpit Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 216. Amusement Press. 15 July 1983. p. 37.
  12. ^ "Industry News: New Equipment, Formula 1 Race". Cash Box. January 9, 1982. p. 40.
  13. ^ Adlum, Eddie (November 1985). "The Replay Years: Reflections from Eddie Adlum". RePlay. Vol. 11, no. 2. pp. 134-175 (159-60).
  14. ^ "Tubes: Monaco GP". Tilt (in French). No. 10. March 1984. p. 32.
  15. ^ "Monthly Hit Chart". Mega Drive Fan (in Japanese). October 1992. p. 67.
  16. ^ Bramwell, Tom (November 25, 2003). "Sega's 3D Ages series for Europe". Eurogamer. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  17. ^ Gantayat, Anoop (May 20, 2012). "Playtest: Monaco GP". IGN. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  18. ^ Kalata, Kurt (June 9, 2007). "Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 2: Monaco GP". Hardcore Gaming 101. Archived from the original on August 25, 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2020.

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