Before autumn of ’86, prior racing games focused on the serious side of car racing. Entries in the genre usually consisted of professional Formula One-style competitions with simple, flat, uninspired black asphalt tracks. Out Run, in comparison, had motorists navigating the stunningly beautiful twisty and hilly roads of Europe. Such peaks and dips obscured upcoming obstacles, providing a distinctive challenge and refreshingly different approach that was both thrilling and fun!

Inspired by the popular film The Cannonball Run, which itself was based on an actual cross-country outlaw road race from Connecticut to California, the game’s original locale was to be the United States. However, Sega president Nakayama feared the US was not safe and too spacious to scout, and proposed Europe as an alternate setting. Yu Suzuki toured Germany, Switzerland, France, Monaco, and Italy for inspiration… which might also explain why an Italian convertible became the vehicle of choice.

Celebrating style over content, the superficial spirit of the ‘80s was evident when players were thrust behind the wheel of a trendy red Ferrari Testarossa – complete with a long-haired blond riding shotgun in the passenger seat! The vehicle even included a state-of-the-art in-car radio which allowed the player to choose from such memorable tunes as “Magical Sound Shower,” “Passing Breeze,” or “Splash Wave.”

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Michael Thomasson Michael Thomasson (63 Posts)

Michael Thomasson is one of the most widely respected videogame historians in the field today. He currently teaches college level videogame history, design, and graphics courses. For television, Michael conducted research for MTV's videogame related program Video MODS. In print, he authored Downright Bizarre Games, and has contributed to nearly a dozen gaming texts. Michael’s historical columns have been distributed in newspapers and magazines worldwide. He has written business plans for several vendors and managed a dozen game-related retail stores spanning three decades. Michael consults for multiple video game and computer museums and has worked on nearly a hundred game titles on Atari, Coleco, Sega and other console platforms. In 2014, The Guinness Book of World Records declared that Thomasson had “The Largest Videogame Collection” in the world. His businesses sponsor gaming tradeshows and expos across the US and Canada.  Visit