Sega is the king of the arcade, make no mistake about it. Their first game was made in the arcade, some of their best games were made in the arcade, and they continue to make arcade games today. Among their best titles are racers, and Sega has made dozens of racers throughout the years, each one a cut above the rest. Spanning the ocean, race tracks, highways, circuits, and rally courses, plus utilizing stock cars, motorcycles, Road cars, PWCs (personal watercraft carriers), and Formula 1 cars, Sega's racers have taken place nearly everywhere, and on any vehicle. Furthermore, every arcade you go to, you will see some if not all of these cabinets, proudly on display, with a lot of gamers at the helm. When I made my first visit to an arcade in over 2 years this past week, I just felt that I had to write a top 10. And with that, on to the list!

Sega's answer to Wave Race, but in the arcade instead of on a console. Wave Runner is a lot of fun, and very challenging. Interactivity comes down to steering with the handlebars, and controlling your speed with the throttle. The game is highly realistic, taking into account the waves from other riders, and the different ramps and jumps found throughout the course. With up to 4 player support, this is one awesome racer.

Yu Suzuki's first 3-D racer was a hit in the arcades, with its nice looking polygons, and great looking backgrounds. Like most of Sega's racers, V.R. has only three tracks, and only one car could be chosen, the Formula 1 car (the, "stock," and, "prototype," vehicles were made available in the home port). The game was noted for its fine graphics, and realistic, moving, "bodies." A cabinet consisted of only two racers, however this could be linked with others to create up to eight racers. Virtua Racing is not found in too many arcades nowadays, but it has stood the test of time.

A joint effort between Sega AM3 (Hitmaker) and Sega AM4 (Amusement Vision), Manx TT superbike used two bikes on a cab where the bikes moved just like real motorcycles. Yes, other games already had this, though Manx had pegs on the bike, thus adding to the realism (as if you were riding a real bike). You needed to use the pegs in order to master the sharp turns in the game, otherwise, you would lose quickly. Aside from the realism, the game was great on the eyes, and was a lot of fun. Sadly though, the sheep found in the Saturn port were unavailable, but who cares!

The original Sega Rally was noted for its fantastic visuals, and great game play. Last year, Sega released the 5th game in the series, Sega Rally 3. Improving on past titles, the game looks awesome and plays like a dream. Returning are the super crisp 60 Frames per second, along with those ever present turn signals. Two cabinets are available, one with a single, deluxe moving seat, the other with two non-moving, non-vibrating seats. With a massive 62 inch screen to see everything on though, the graphics are what truly stand out for Sega Rally 3.

Chances are, two games get the majority of the play time at your arcade. One game would most likely be Dance Dance Revolution. The other? Initial D: Arcade Stage 3. The Sega Rosso (formerly Sega AM5) creation sports nice visuals, and is the only Sega Racer that allows the player to play in a story mode. Also unique to this game, is the card system. With a card that is inserted at every play, you can save your progress, and progress further into the game. Never have I seen this much love for a racing game, and while it may not be the best racer Sega has ever made, it definately ranks among the best!

At my closest Playdium, Indy 500 takes up a whole massive wall of space. With 8 car cockpits (fully moving and vibrating), connected up to 8 large monitors, this Sega AM1 (Wow Entertainment) creation is second (in my opinion) in terms of fun when it comes to the Sega racers. Like Daytona USA, this game includes a different colored (albeit indentical technically) car for every driver. Also, like Daytona USA, this game has three courses, each with varying difficulty. All in all though, Indy 500 is a great game, even if it is eerily similar to its AM2 cousin.

Yu Suzuki's OutRun was always considered to be one of the better arcade racers out there, however when Sega AM2 released this game, it quickly challenged the original OutRun for the title of better game. OutRun 2 SP includes a 2 car, completely moving and vibrating cabinet, that can be linked (as with most of the other racers on this list) up to 8 cars. OutRun has also always had a strong emphasis on drifting, and that cannot be more apparent than in OutRun 2 SP (I caught a fellow gamer drifting for more than 10 seconds!). With awesome visuals, and another killer soundtrack that only OutRun is famous for, OutRun 2 SP is a winner.

The ultimate motorcycle game! Super Hang-On, another Sega AM2 and Yu Suzuki creation, was (along with the prequel) one of the first motorcycle games to come in a motorcycle shaped cabinet. Sporting awesome visuals for its time, hard (and addictive!) gameplay, and an unforgettable soundtrack, this game super popular when it first came out, and is still relatively popular today. AM2 included this game in Shenmue II, which means that you can play it if you visit one of the arcades. This game also has the distinction of being the only game in this list ported to 5 different consoles, a true testament to its popularity.

Ferrari F355 challenge is known for two distinct reasons. One, its fantastic graphics that are displayed on a 3 screen cabinet, and two, because of its ridiculously difficult learning curve. Yu Suzuki made sure that exact specifications were included in the design of the game, and the rest of the AM2 team made it so. Considered by many to be the most difficult racing game ever created, current Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello stated that he used this game to practice on certain courses! Between the superb graphics, the sheer realism, and the 3 screens, how is this game not number one on the list?

Ah yes, the granddaddy of them all! Daytona USA is Yu Suzuki and Sega AM2's greatest racing achievement to date, and is also the most fun time you will ever have racing in an arcade. Only one car, the famous Hornet, is available, and 3 different tracks are available; 777 speedway (beginner), Dinosaur Canyon (Advanced), and the Seaside Street Galaxy (Expert). With up to 8 linkable, moving and vibrating cabinets, plus excellent graphics and one of the most famous soundtracks in arcade history, it is no wonder why Daytona USA is Sega AM2's, Yu Suzuki's, and Sega's best racer in their 20+, and 55 years (respectively) of existence.

So there you have it, the Sega King of Maple, Ontario, Canada's top ten list of the best Sega Arcade Racers, comes to a head. All of the games on this list, and their predecessors (especially OutRun, Sega Rally, and Hang-On) are quality titles that cemented Sega's place as one of the top Arcade developers. They had both innovated, and re-invigorated the arcade scene with not just their racing games, but their arcade games in general. All I can say though is that hopefully, it won't be another 2 years before I set foot in a Daytona USA cabinet!

List by Truck_1_0_1_ (02/09/2009)

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