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  • Out Run (Sega, September 1986)

    Posted on March 30th, 2010 keving 5 comments

    What red-blooded ’80s boy, no matter which side of the ocean he lived near, didn’t have a poster of the Ferrari Testarossa in his bedroom? One that always depicted the supercar of all supercars framed around a matte-black background, maybe with a few white clouds of smoke around the sides for effect? Anyone who didn’t was a dweeb, a dork, a Sega Master System owner, and no doubt they’re the ones busing your table at the Steakountry Buffet this evening. Make sure to give them a decent tip, because c’mon, man, they had a hard life, they’re driving beige Camrys, they don’t know no better.

    Since few of us have actually sat inside a Testarossa, it’s not well-known that the Italian speedster can operate at its top spec speed of 294 km/h on literally any type of road surface — tarmac, sand, grass, the Pacific Ocean. Yes, the Ferrari Testarossa is fully submersible. Italy, you know, it’s a very high-water-table country. Flash floods kind of creep up on you. It’s a safety feature.

    Yu Suzuki, being a man of refined automobile tastes, naturally knew that. That’s why, if you carefully shift gears in a high-low-high pattern on the edge of the road, you can run over any sort of terrain you like in Out Run for up to seven seconds without any speed penalty while the game tries to figure out where you’re going. It’s a feature (I wouldn’t dare call it a bug, for doing so would suggest that the Testarossa is not the divine vehicle for the soul which it is) that became household knowlege in Japan after Gamest and other mags brought it up in their strategy guides in 1987.

    Unfortunately, the timing behind this move can be pretty tricky, and most gamers flailed away at the arcade cabinet’s gearshift like a hummingbird trying to search for just the right technique. This led to a lot of broken gearshifts and signs in Japanese arcades threatening to kick punters out of the establishment for gia-gacha (gear-rattling) play. MAME, and automatic rapid-fire, make it a lot easier these days.

    The same trick can also be pulled off in Turbo Out Run, but in no other Out Run game after that — an homage to the original Testarossa model getting phased out of production in 1991, no doubt. Right? Right?