Retrofinds remembers Outrun The Arcade Machine

Every year when I was young my Mum and Dad would book a holiday to Butlins or Pontins. A holiday camp where they have entertainment on the camp. I always would look forward to the Arcade and thats where I would spend most of my money much to the frustration of my parents who would tell me off for spending my money so quick. Imagine then the trouble I would get in when I saw OUTRUN for the first time.

I can't remember which site it was but it was the full works! The sit-down version and it cost 50p a go. At the time most arcade games cost 10p to 20p but this monster was 50p a go. I moved closer to the machine, my focus firmly fixed on the amazing graphics that was playing on the demo. The music was blaring from the speakers and managed to drown out the numerous fruit machines and random noises from Defender in the corner. I clutched my one pound I had with me, which I had just changed into ten shiny ten pence pieces ready to slot into any worthy machine that took my fancy. "Make it last all day and don't spend it all in the arcade" my parents would say.
It was 9:15. (I was one of those kids that would be outside the arcade waiting for it to open.) "I couldn't plough five of these coins into this machine" I thought. That would be half my money gone in one sitting. I stood and watched the demo for a while, then someone sat in the machine and got ready to play. I was excited to see it in action for the first time and for the first time I noticed the warning signs to move away from the machine when in motion. What was this? Imagine my surprise when the chair actually moved! "WoW! This is amazing, the chair actually moves when the player turns the wheel". It was one of those gaming moments that you never forget. The guy playing had attracted a lot of attention. I wasn't the only one interested in this new machine. He managed to get through the checkpoints then there was a fork in the road. He could choose his route. Again "WoW!". Eventually he crashed. My first thought was about the amazing graphics when the Ferrari crashed. My second thought was thinking if I do have a go I won't be the first one to have crashed. I was always nervous about trying new arcade games. One because people are watching. Secondly I never read the rules so figuring out what to do was luck, and thirdly I never knew how long my game would last. When the guy had finished I stepped up and looked around to see if the crowd was dispersing. It wasn't. No one else was going to have a go. They were looking at me to see if I would play. I clutched my five coins and thought "this has to be done!" I sat in the seat and adjusted. It blasted out a sound as I inserted my coins. I chose my tune, Magical Sound Shower.

This was it. "Get Ready" it blared out. The Ferrari moved into position and I was ready to go.

I moved quite easily through the first checkpoint and for the first time realised there was force feedback on the steering wheel. Brilliant!. The chair was moving as I moved, the steering wheel juddering, the music blaring, the screens showing off amazing graphics. "This was the best arcade game I have ever played" I thought. Then there was a fork in the road. I went left. The speed was immense. The road now started to dip and climb and the bends were more fierce. I went to turn and was too fast! I skidded off, hit a pilar and the car tumbled! The girl in the car was not pleased. I felt I had let her down as she pointed at me. "Damn" I was doing so well. Then I did it again! It was a disaster. After a promising start on the first stage it was all over on the second stage. I ran out of time. It lasted about a minute and a half but I was beaming. I climbed out and felt alive. I had just experienced something new, my fifty pence was well spent. I only played it once that day. I went off and played Bank Panic since I was good at that and my ten pence would last a long time. But those ninety brief seconds embeded in my memories and I still remember them to this day. Now thats money well spent.