Arcade Racing Sim Nostalgia

The ’80s was an important decade. We saw the birth of MTV, games like Donkey Kong, and the Rubik’s Cube. It was an era of some outlandish fashions and some great music. And, at the same time, it was also a period of significant economic development and technological innovations, who can forget the Walkman? 


It does seem like a long time ago but there is a good reason we shouldn’t forget the ’80s:


Early coin-operated machines were the kind, like Zoltar, from the 1920's that sometimes told a player’s fortune (made famous in the Tom Hanks movie Big), played music, or allowed you to shoot at targets in return for a toy. While they are a far more primitive from those manufactured today, or even in the late ’70s–’90s—generally acknowledged to be the “golden age” of the arcade, they still performed the same function modern ones do, providing entertainment for a coin or two.

Game controls and gameplay in arcade machines were usually intuitive and easy to understand, and they were addictive because the promised “next level” was always just within reach. Many hours of my youth were spent at at my local Arcades in Britain playing WWF Wrestling, Pacman, Outrun and many more.  Double Dragon was the one game that I always went to first, man I loved that game so much but it was Sega's Outrun that truly won my heart. 

It was inevitable that the arcade manufacturers, once the technology was available, would turn their attention to making racing or driving games. The first, Atari’s Gran Trak 10, was primitive, but others followed throughout the ’70s and ’80s and right up to today.  In fact around 50% of the current arcade machines manufactured today are driving / racing games, from manufacturers like Namco, Sega and Raw Thrills. 

The current crop of racing arcade machines have come a long way, we now have very sturdy and accurate steering wheels, analogue pedals, 50" flat screen 1080p screens, very loud sound systems and even tactile feedback.  Let's take a trip down memory lane and look at some of those classic driving games that caught my attention growing up in the Eighties and Nineties :










In 1986, Sega’s Outrun was considered a breakthrough game. Using the latest computer boards available at the time, Outrun was like nothing seen before. Advanced graphics, an available moving driver’s seat and screen (cabinet), user-selectable music, and optional driving routes. On top of that, your “driver” was accompanied by a blond babe in his very own Ferrari Testarossa convertible. Players needed to navigate a coastal landscape within a set time limit in order to advance to other stages of the game. Players would choose their next level by forks in the road before each checkpoint…3…2…–ugh, not again!












In 1989, Leland’s Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off Road featured three steering wheels and three accelerator pedals—just get used to literally jostling for position with your friends! This all made for endless fun, well, at least until your pennies ran out. You had to spin those wheels a couple of times to get around a single corner. With upgrades, you could drive different tracks, and—most importantly you could hit “Nitro” for a boost of power. It had everything you wanted in a racing game and proved that 2D was still very cool.















Bally Midway’s Spyhunter of 1983 was more than a driving game. The game drew inspiration from the James Bond series of films, and originally was supposed to carry the James Bond license. The object of the game is to drive down roads in your “Interceptor” car, and destroy various enemy vehicles with a variety of onboard weapons like oil slicks, smoke screens, and missiles. This game actually has no end whatsoever, it just gets progressively more difficult.  A fantastic example of progression from simple driving games to driving games with FIRE POWER.


























Motorcycle fans weren’t left out of the fun, either, and Sega’s Hang-On from 1985 was one of the best of the two-wheeled bunch. Using a behind-the-motorcycle perspective, the player races down race track within a time limit. There was also an arcade cabinet-style unit available where the player sat on what looked like a real motorcycle. To steer, the player leaned to tilt the bike, which likewise then steered the bike on screen—not advisable after a few drinks.

So they were the classics, but what about now?  Well manufacturers like Raw Thrills and Sega are still making racing arcade machines.  Sega is still investing heavily in the Sega Rally franchise and Raw Thrills is developing some really great titles like their flagship Batman game and others such as SoCross and Dirty Drivin'

The great news is you can still play all of the classic racing games and the new ones on Retro Plays 'Speed Devil' arcade racing sim, Australia's first and only commercially available and dedicated driving arcade machine is available to order from just $3450 AUD.































The Speed Devil is a custom designed full racing sim with powered, life like, racing wheel, gear shifter and pedals.  The wheel has force feedback which means that, through supported games, the wheel will vibrate and clunk with hard steering, crashes and skids.  Gamers can enjoy hundreds of different racing and driving titles all from the comfort of the professional racing seat, which is fully adjustable.  The Speed Devils clever part is the beautiful 32" curved IPS monitor which fills your vision and engulfs you in the game.  Wether you are playing Sega classic Outrun or Forza Horizon 4, this beast of a machine will keep you and the family entertained for many hours.  

You can play ALL the racing and driving games from the following systems :

Sony Playstation Portable (aka PSP) 

Sony Playstation 2

Sega Model 2 and 3

Nintendo Gamecube

Nintendo Wii

MAME (all classic arcade racing games) 

Tekno Parrot supported games (recent arcade titles)-



Dirty Drivin'

Out Run 2

Sega and Sonic All Stars Racing

Mario Kart DX (Arcade) 

Daytona Championship (aka Daytona 3) 

Chase HQ2

Ford Racing

KO Drive

Winter Games X SnoCross

And a non exhaustive list of Windows titles :

Forza Horizon 4

Euro Truck Sim 2

Project Cars 2

Crew 2

Burnout Paradise

Driver San Francisco 

+ many more 

So sit back, load up your game of choice and play away