Retrocon 2024

Racing Games of the 1980s

Racing games were a lot different back in the 80s. Then you didn’t have 4k tv’s producing life-like imagery, or handheld consoles like the Nintendo Switch, which you could take in the car and play on your journey. Instead, you had old school classics, which were just as exciting but without the in-depth graphics we have today. Some of the games launched today have been inspired by years of development within the industry, starting from when racing games were launched back in 1980. Although many of us are looking forward to the Forza Horizon 5 release date, we wanted to look back at what racing games were popular back in the ’80s

Out Run

Out Run was released in September 1986 as an arcade game and, at the time, impressive graphics. The aim of the game was to drive your car and avoid oncoming traffic while aiming to reach the destination. When released, it was extremely popular, being a big hit within the industry. Extremely impressive considering it was designed in 10 months by 11 people.

Pole Position

Selling over 21,000 machines, Pole Position was a great success when launched in 1982 by Namco. It is said that Pole Position inspired many developers to improve their games due to the realistic gameplay it produced. Pole Position was the first racing video game to be based on a real racing circuit.

Rad Racer

Rad Racer was based around driving your car around a course to different checkpoints. If your fuel runs out, you hit another vehicle or crash, it’s, unfortunately, game over, and you start that level again. In this game, there are eight different levels, with each level increasing in difficulty. Launched in 1897, this was an NES release to complete with the popular Outrun by Sega.

Buggy Boy

Known as speed buggy, buggy boy was launched in 1985 by racing game developer Tatsumi. Based on an off-road racing game, the aim is to drive your vehicle around the different courses in the quickest time possible. With this game, you would compete against your friend and see who is the fastest around the off-road race track. Buggy Boy was the 3rd most successful release of 1985.

Hard Drivin

Hard Drivin is all about sports cars, speed, and stunts. The aim of the game is to drive around the track and perform the best stunts, scoring the highest score. Launched in 1989, Hard Drivin sold 3,318 arcade units and was considered one of the top sellers that year. In 2004 Hard Drivin was released on the modern games consoles as part of the Midway Arcade Treasures 2 collection. This consisted of 20 classic arcade games that could be plated on the GameCube, PlayStation, and Xbox.

The 1980s had a great collection of racing, arcade games, which are still spoken about to this day. What racing games did you enjoy? Let me know in the comment box below. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, you may be interested in my gaming through the decades’ article.

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