The New Outrun

Author’s note:  this article was written in 2004, originally designed to appear in ugvm07.  It didn’t appear then, nor in the Christmas special, nor in ugvm08.  It was written before Outrun 2 had been released, and in fact the arcade game was first announced just as the article was finished.  Everything’s moved on significantly since then.  So, is this article redundant?  We’re publishing it for the same reason that Edge has recently reprinted material from its first three years, and GamesTM has reprinted its reviews and retro features.  It gives an insight into videogaming history, of how genres can evolve and die out, only to be revived.  We hope you enjoy it as such.

Magical Sound Shower.  The tune bops along without a care in the world, elegant pauses from time to time to remind you that it’s not in a hurry.

But you are.  Pelting down the road in your red Ferra…generic sports car, weaving in and out of traffic.  Under huge stone pillar-type things.  By the side of the sea, over bridges, past odd fuzzy huts at the side of the road. Don’t crash, or you and your pretty lady friend get thrown out the car – you’re not wearing a seatbelt.  But you’re not going to crash.  Past that blue Pors…other generic sports car.  Past that grey saloon.  Get to the end of the stage – will you go left or right?  Better choose quickly …

Outrun is a landmark in arcade gaming.  It’s a formula that many games have tried to copy, but most come nowhere near.  The home conversions of Outrun were originally on underpowered hardware, but recently near-arcade-perfect versions have cropped up on the Saturn, on the Dreamcast (in Shenmue 2), and on the Gameboy Advance.  For now, we don’t care about them.  We want to know: what is the new Outrun? [Read more…]