A drivable OutRun videogame cabinet "de-simulates" driving

A few years ago, a professor at Pasadena Art Center College of Design was planning to build a drivable Sega OutRun cabinet. He did it, and it works.


Fulbright Scholar and contemporary artist Garnet Hertz — who's also an adjunct assistant professor in the Media Design Program at Pasadena — came up with an idea to create a virtual "windshield" using cameras and software to render the roads and obstacles of the real world on a screen through similar 8-bit graphical imagery as the OutRun game, circa 1986. This allows the driver to both "play" the game and maneuver through actual space at the same time.


The OutRun cabinet's been outfitted with the drive system from an electric golf cart, including motors, wheels and other components. A driver controls the e-car using the game's own steering wheel, and pedals. It maxes out at 13 miles per hour, so no actual spinning off onto a tropical beach.

Conceptually, Hertz considers the drivable game a "De-Simulation of Driving," a playful reaction to increasingly realistic videogames that "explores the consequences of only using a computer model of the world as a navigation tool for driving" — by way of the increasing use of GPS. "What happens," Hertz asks, "when an augmentation of reality envelops and obfuscates reality?"

You get the CVT transmission. Ok, just kidding.

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Wait a sec, the guy is named Hertz?! Nothing? Really? No rental car jokes repeating at very fixed intervals?! #disappointed