outrun v : run faster than; "in this race, I managed to outran everybody else" [also: outrunning, outran]
(also spelled OutRun and Outrun) is a 1986 game designed by Yu Suzuki and Sega-AM2 for the video arcade market. In retrospective interviews, Yu Suzuki has classified Out Run not as a racing game, but as a "driving" game.
DescriptionThe player controls a man behind the wheel of a Ferrari Testarossa convertible who is driving with his girlfriend in the passenger's seat. Starting at a coastal area entitled Coconut Beach, he must pass through four checkpoints between five laps within a set time limit.
The other cars that you pass while driving in this game are:
At the time of its release, the game was unique in that it was possible to choose the stages in which the race took place, save for the initial one. Before every checkpoint, there was a fork in the road, allowing the player to enter one of two different environments. (A similar branching system was also used in the 1983 Atari/Tatsumi racer TX-1, though in that game the choice of fourth stage determined the fifth stage as well.)
There were two upright and two sit-down arcade cabinet designs. All were equipped with a steering wheel and stick shift (instead of a joystick and buttons) plus acceleration and brake pedals. The sit-down versions looked roughly like a Testarossa and used a drive motor to move the main cabinet. These machines turned and shook according to the action onscreen, much like Sega's After Burner II. There were two versions of the sit down: the Deluxe featured a 26-inch color monitor and a custom molded seat, while the Standard featured a 20-inch color monitor with a more simplified design. The upright also came in two versions: normal and mini. Not to be outdone by the sit-downs, the upright also featured a DC motor that would shake the steering wheel violently when the player hit a car or drove off the road.
The game was a major hit with arcade-goers. Its popularity can be attributed to the innovative moving cabinet, to the choice in both soundtrack and route, and to the graphics. Many previous racing games had an overhead perspective, as if watching the player-controlled car from a helicopter. Like other Sega games of the time, such as After Burner, Space Harrier, and Power Drift, it made use of a sprite-scaling technique called 'Super-Scaler Technology' to achieve its 3D effects. Along with Space Harrier and After Burner, Out Run was famed for its ability to give players the sensation of forward motion in a video game long before true polygonal 3D was possible. The price arcade operators charged for a credit highlights the significance of the advancements in technology at the time. Out Run was one of the first games to cost more per play than other arcade games, often requiring three or more tokens.
Route namesA total of sixteen route variations is possible. The most time-efficient route is via Coconut Beach, Devil's Canyon, Alps, Wheat Field and Autobahn, completing the game at goal D. The five goals have different finishing animations to encourage players to attempt different routes.
As can be seen from the properties of Pascal's Triangle, if a route through the game is chosen at random, the player is most likely to end up at goal C ("Desolation Hill", 3/8 probability); "Death Valley" (goal B) and "Autobahn" (goal D) each have a probability of 1/4; whilst "Vineyard" (goal A) and "Lakeside" (goal E) each have a 1/16 probability.
It is possible to see all fifteen stages by playing only five games. It is also possible to see all five endings whilst avoiding the stage "Alps" and one (but not both) of "Old Capital" and "Wheat Field".
In the PC-DOS version, the route that scores the most possible points (about 76.5 million) is Coconut Beach-Gateway-Desert-Old Capital-Desolation Hill.
MusicThe gameplay was backed up by a soundtrack of laid-back beach music (very similar in style and tone to the popular 70s/80s Japanese jazz fusion band Casiopea), and featured three selectable tracks in all that were broadcast through imaginary FM Radio channels received by the radio receiver in the Testarossa. The music was composed by Hiroshi Miyauchi, who also did the soundtracks for other Sega arcade games. The tracks were called:
- Splash Wave
- Magical Sound Shower
- Passing Breeze
- Last Wave (high-score music)
Additionally, the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis port featured an extra track entitled Step On Beat and the Sega Master System Out Run 3D contained the additional Shining Wind and Midnight Highway.
The home computer versions of Out Run (for Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Atari ST) came bundled with a bonus cassette tape featuring the original arcade versions of these tunes, the idea being that the player could listen to the true versions while playing rather than the limited home computer renditions, if available at all.
- Arcade (1986)
- Sega Master System (1987)
- Commodore 64 (1987, ported by Amazing Products and US Gold. Missing: road forks, map and Passing Breeze,girl has dark hair not blonde.)
- Amstrad CPC (1987, ported by Probe. Missing: map, in-game music -available through audio tape- and car-flip)
- Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1987, ported by Probe. Missing: map, in-game music on 48K, Passing Breeze and car-flip)
- MSX (1987, ported by Probe)
- MSX2 (1988, ported by Ponycanyon)
- Commodore Amiga (1988, ported by Probe)
- Atari ST (1989, ported by Probe)
- PC-DOS (1989, ported by Unlimited Software, Inc.)
- NEC PC Engine (1990, ported by NEC)
- Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis (1991, ported by Sanritsu)
- Sega Game Gear (1991, ported by Sanritsu)
- Sega Saturn (1996, ported by Rutubo Games - released as a standalone product in Japan, part of SEGA Ages elsewhere)
- Mobile Phone (2004)
- PlayStation 2 (2006, SEGA ages Vol. 13)
In the video game Shenmue II you can discover an Out Run arcade machine, which is faithfully reproduced, aside from minor changes to the sound samples and the car graphics (the original game didn't possess an official Ferrari licence).
The original Out Run is hidden inside the Xbox game Out Run 2 and can be accessed by using the code NINETEEN86 and also by completing all routes in arcade mode. However, the original arcade had sprites with one translucent color, used for shadows, which is not replicated in this emulation. The emulated version renders this color opaque.
SequelsIn the arcades, Out Run was followed up in 1989 by Turbo Out Run. Turbo Out Run was a checkpoint racer in which the player drove from New York City to Los Angeles in 16 stages. It also featured a rock-infused soundtrack. As with all Out Run games aside from OutRun 2, this is named by Yu Suzuki as an unofficial sequel.
Another unofficial sequel came in 1992 with OutRunners, returning the game to its roots by bringing back the forks in the road. Head-to-head support appeared in the game for the first time, and if arcade cabinets were linked, up to eight drivers could race against each other. The game also featured eight different cars for people to drive in. It was the most successful game released for Sega's System Multi 32 hardware, and one of the last successful 2D games released by Sega.
Out Run benefited from 3D graphics in the game's first official sequel in 2003, when OutRun 2 (featuring actual licensed vehicles from Ferrari, including a Testarossa) was released to the arcades. Yu Suzuki, the creator of the original game, was on hand to bring his vision up to date, and to great critical acclaim. The game was later ported to the Xbox with added features such as new cars, new audio tracks and even a fully-playable version of the original OutRun.
An updated version of OutRun 2 was released in arcades in 2004 entitled "OutRun 2 SP". This expanded upon the original by offering a plethora of tracks to drive through, including the original map. It also improved on graphics and added more tunes to listen to while driving. It featured the 512 BB and 250 GTO, which were also featured in the Xbox version of the original OutRun 2.
In turn, OutRun 2 was succeeded by OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, developed for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox and Microsoft Windows. The game combines all the courses from OutRun 2 and OutRun 2 SP while adding additional features of its own, such as special car models, new game modes and more audio tracks. It also contains an OutRun 2 SP mode, which offers an exact arcade port of OutRun 2 SP.
There are three other unofficial Out Run sequels that were only released for home systems: OutRun Europa, Battle Out Run, and Out Run 2019. On the Sega Master System, there is also a special version of Out Run which makes use of the 3D glasses add-on.
Pop cultureAn MTV public service announcement against drunk driving shown in the mid '90s shows a gamer playing Out Run while under the influence of alcohol, and cuts to each point where the gamer crashes until the end of game.
The original arcade game contains in-game billboards advertising KTM motorcycles.
Coconut Beach, the first stage in OutRun will be making an appearance in Sega Superstars Tennis as a playable court.
- Out Run FAQ at Mike's Arcade
- System 16 Out Run Hardware
- OutRun.org (fan site)
- http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/outrun/outrun.htm info at Hardcore Gaming 101
- Out Run - "Lost In Translation" @ ExoticA
outrun in German: Out Run
outrun in Spanish: Out Run
outrun in French: Out Run
outrun in Korean: 아웃런
outrun in Italian: Out Run
outrun in Japanese: アウトラン
outrun in Portuguese: Out Run
outrun in Russian: Out Run
outrun in Finnish: Out Run
outrun in Swedish: Out Run
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