A Formula One
style arcade racing game. Virtua Racing was Sega
's first arcade game to use the Model 1
board, which allowed for scrolling tile-based backdrops and flat-shaded polygons
in the foreground. It was released in 1991
, and featured a huge dedicated cabinet with a big screen, an advanced version of the type of cabinets used for After Burner
and Out Run
, and a precursor to the modern style of racing game cabinets.
Virtua Racing was unique because it was fast, it has an insanely sharp hi-res picture (at the time) and it was extremely fun to play. No one had seen any really significant game use polygons (at least not for a good few years, and those old, wireframe games hardly counted), so this was an important development.
It was ported to the Sega Mega Drive (with the aid of a dedicated DSP chip) and later to the 32X (as Virtua Racing Deluxe) and the Sega Saturn. Both of these 32-bit versions featured more tracks and cars than the original's paultry three tracks and one car. As of now, the game has still not been emulated successfully (at least not well enough to be playable).
Later games in the 'Virtua' range included Virtua Cop and Virtua Fighter.