Out Run

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Out Run
Out Run Coverart.png
Arcade flyer
Developer(s)Sega AM2
Designer(s)Yu Suzuki
Composer(s)Hiroshi Kawaguchi
SeriesOut Run Edit this on Wikidata
Platform(s)Arcade, NEC PC-8801, Atari ST, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Commodore 64, Game Gear, Genesis, Master System, PC Engine, MS-DOS, Sega Saturn, ZX Spectrum
ReleaseSeptember 20, 1986[1][2]
Genre(s)Arcade racing
CabinetSit-down, upright
Arcade systemSega OutRun, NEC PowerMOS
CPU68000 @ 12.5 MHz
Z80 @ 4 MHz
DisplayRaster (horizontal),
320×224 resolution,
60.0543 Hz refresh rate,
12,288 colors on screen,[3] 98,304 color palette[4]

Out Run (アウトラン, Auto Ran) is an arcade game released by Sega in 1986. It was designed by Yu Suzuki and developed by Sega AM2. The game was a critical and commercial success, becoming one of the best-selling video games of its time.[5][6] It is notable for its pioneering hardware and graphics, and innovative features such as a selectable soundtrack with music composed by Hiroshi Kawaguchi, along with nonlinear gameplay.


Out Run is a 3D driving video game in which the player controls a Ferrari Testarossa Spider from a third-person rear perspective.[7][8] The camera is placed near the ground, simulating a Ferrari driver's position and limiting the player's view into the distance.[9] The road curves, crests and dips,[10] which increases the challenge by obscuring upcoming obstacles such as traffic.[11] The player's car cannot suffer damage from a collision, but will be slowed down and thus lose time.

The object of the game is to reach one of a variety of destinations against a timer. If the timer reaches zero, the game ends. The player periodically encounters checkpoints near junctions, which add time to the clock. At each junction, the player must choose one of two directions, each of which lead to different environments.


According to the game's designer, Yu Suzuki, the stages of Out Run are mostly based on European scenery, having toured Europe in a BMW 520 for two weeks in order to get ideas.[12] His original concept was to base the game on the America-located film The Cannonball Run (1981) but he largely switched the setting to Europe which he felt offered greater landscape variation.[12] The game's backgrounds and roadside objects include old stone buildings, the Alps, windmills, and Stonehenge-like formations. Suzuki did, however, include American locations such as Devil's Canyon and Death Valley.

Arcade hardware and software[edit]

The arcade game features raster graphics on a color CRT monitor and amplified stereophonic sound. There are a total of four cabinet designs (two upright and two sit-down), all of which are equipped with a steering wheel with force feedback, a stick shift plus acceleration and brake pedals. The upright cabinet came in two versions: Normal and Mini. The sit-down cabinets resembled the in-game car and used a drive motor to move the main cabinet—turning and shaking according to the onscreen action. There were two versions of the sit down: the Deluxe version featured a 26-inch color monitor and a custom molded seat, while the Standard featured a more simplified design and a 20-inch color monitor.[5][13]

The sit-down deluxe cabinet version of Out Run

Running on the Sega OutRun arcade system board, the game achieved its 3D effects using a sprite-scaling technique called 'Super-Scaler' technology (first used one year earlier in Hang-On and Space Harrier). This allowed a large number of scaled sprites to be displayed on the screen at the same time. Like the Sega Space Harrier games, the pseudo-3D sprite/tile scaling in Out Run was handled in a similar manner to textures in later texture-mapped polygonal 3D games of the 1990s.[14] Sega AM2's Yu Suzuki stated that his "designs were always 3D from the beginning. All the calculations in the system were 3D, even from Hang-On. I calculated the position, scale, and zoom rate in 3D and converted it backwards to 2D. So I was always thinking in 3D."[15]


Out Run's original score was composed by Hiroshi Kawaguchi, who had previously composed soundtracks for other games designed by Suzuki, and was a part of the S.S.T. Band, Sega's in-house band at the time. Out Run was the first video arcade game that allowed the user to choose the background music.[16][17] The soundtrack consisted of both jazz fusion, similar in style to that of Casiopea, and Latin/Caribbean music, similar to Miami Sound Machine. In all, three selectable tracks were featured: Passing Breeze, Splash Wave and Magical Sound Shower. An additional track, Last Wave, played at the final score screen.[18][19][13][5]

The 1991 Mega Drive/Genesis port added an additional track entitled Step On Beat, written by Masayoshi Ishi. The 2014 Nintendo 3DS version features two additional tracks, titled Cruising Line and Camino a Mi Amor, composed respectively using the original game's sound hardware by Manabu Namiki and Jane-Evelyn "Chibi-Tech" Nisperos.[20][21] In more recent years, the game's music greatly inspired a musical genre known as synthwave.[citation needed]


Out Run was received very favorably. In 1988, it won the Golden Joystick Award for 1987's Game of the Year, beating Renegade and The Last Ninja. Out Run also received the Arcade Game of the Year award, beating Renegade and Bubble Bobble.[22]

Publication Score
  • 852 (Master System)[23]
  • 610 (Commodore 64)[24]
  • 873 (Atari ST)[25]
  • 822 (Amiga)[24]
Australian Commodore and Amiga Review
  • 95% (Commodore 64)[26]
Commodore User
  • 9/10 (Arcade)[27]
  • 67% (Commodore 64)[28]
Computer and Video Games
  • 9/10 (Master System)[29]
  • 24/40 (Commodore 64)[30]
  • 8/40 (Amstrad)[30]
  • 7/10 (Atari ST)[6]
  • 70% (PC Engine)[31]
  • 72% (ZX Spectrum)[32]
  • 4.5/5 stars (Master System)[33]
Génération 4
  • 90% (Mega Drive)[35]
  • 90% (Mega Drive)[36]
  • 79% (Game Gear)[37]
  • 58% (Mega Drive)[38]
  • 9/10 (Mega Drive)[39]
Sinclair User
  • 81% (ZX Spectrum)[40]
Svenska Hemdatornytt
  • 85% (Mega Drive)[41]
The Games Machine
  • 72% (Master System)[42]
  • 67% (Commodore 64)[42]
  • 61% (ZX Spectrum)[42]
  • 79% (Atari ST)[43]
  • 75% (Amiga)[44]
  • 17/20 (Master System)[45]
Your Sinclair
  • 8/10 (ZX Spectrum)[46]
Entity Award
Golden Joystick Award (1987) Game of the Year[22]
Golden Joystick Award (1987) Arcade Game of the Year[22]
Next Generation,[47] Retro Gamer,[48] Stuff,[49]
Time,[50] G4,[51] KLOV,[52] NowGamer,[53] Yahoo,[54]
1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die[55]
Best Games of All Time
IGN[56] 4th Most Influential Racing
Game Ever


Out Run became one of the most popular arcade games.[5][57] It was the best-selling arcade game of the year, having sold over 20,000 arcade cabinets within a year.[58] By 1994, it had sold 30,000 cabinets worldwide.[59]

Clare Edgeley reviewed the arcade game in both Computer and Video Games (January 1987) and in Sinclair User (February 1987), praising the graphics and the element of danger in the gameplay.[9][11] A review in Commodore User (March 1987) described it as "a great game for driving enthusiasts" and awarded it a score of 9 out of 10.[27] Gary Penn, writing for Crash (April 1987) called the game "highly polished" and praised the attention to detail.[10] In Your Sinclair (August 1987), Peter Shaw praised its realism and described it as "the most frighteningly fast road race game I've ever played".[60]

Home versions[edit]

Out Run was converted to numerous home consoles (see below). The 8-bit computer game ports published by U.S. Gold sold more than 250,000 by Christmas 1987.[61][62] Out Run became both the fastest-selling and the best-selling computer game in the UK that year.[6][32][62]

The Sega Master System version was praised. Computer and Video Games (October 1987) concluded that it had "all the thrill power of the arcade version."[29] The Games Machine gave the Master System version a score of 72%, stating that the Master System version came closest to the original coin-op.[42] Reviewers for Dragon described it as a "refreshing" game "that provides hours of entertainment".[33] Computer Gaming World named it as the year's best arcade translation for Sega.[63]

The reception for the 8-bit personal computer ports published elsewhere by U.S. Gold was mixed. The ZX Spectrum version received positive scores from Your Sinclair[46] and Sinclair User.[64][40] Some reviewers at Crash expressed disappointment at the low quality in contrast to the arcade original.[32] The Games Machine gave the Spectrum version a score of 61%, noting the machine's technical limitations in comparison to the Master System and Commodore systems.[42]

The Commodore versions received positive to average reviews, though Computer and Video Games described the Commodore 64 port as "rushed".[30] The Amstrad CPC port received a score of 8 out of 40 from Computer and Video Games, which described it as a "travesty".[30]

Reactions to the 16-bit versions were generally positive. The Atari ST version (1988) was described by Computer and Video Games as "far from perfect," but that it came closer to the arcade original than the other ports.[6] The 1991 Mega Drive / Genesis version was well received.[41]


There have been numerous follow-up titles to Out Run, including Out Run 3-D (1988), Turbo Out Run (1989), and OutRunners (1992), among many others. Out Run 2 was released in 2003 to critical acclaim, and has been followed by further titles.

Coconut Beach, the first stage in Out Run, makes an appearance in Sega Superstars Tennis as a playable court.[65] A course named "OutRun Bay" appears in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed as a free download to those who purchase the Bonus Edition. The full game was featured as a minigame in several other Sega games, such as Shenmue II, Yakuza 0,[66] Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, and Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise.

"Magical Sound Shower", one of the game's songs, was given official lyrics that were sung by the virtual-diva Vocaloid Hatsune Miku. The song was featured in the games Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Arcade and Miku Flick. The game Crackin' DJ features a slowed-down remix of the song as its bonus stage.

In 2015, OutRun appeared at 4th place on IGN's list of The Top 10 Most Influential Racing Games Ever, behind Pole Position, Gran Turismo and Virtua Racing. According to Luke Reilly, "traces of OutRun DNA can be found in series like Test Drive, Need for Speed, Project Gotham Racing, and Burnout" as well as "modern racers like the Forza Horizon games and DriveClub".[56]

Out Run has been listed among the best games of all time by publications such as Next Generation,[47] Retro Gamer,[48] Stuff,[49] and Time,[50] as well as organizations such as G4,[51] Killer List of Videogames,[52] NowGamer,[53] and Yahoo!.[54] Writing in 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, Joao Diniz Sanches praised Out Run's "unforgettable design and expertly tuned game balance", describing the title as "the consummate exhibit in an oversubscribed genre" and "one of the purest and most joyous experiences in video gaming."[55]

The Ferrari from OutRun with the driver and blonde passenger can be seen in Afterburner II at the right on a end stage where your F-14 lands for re-arming and refueling.


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External links[edit]