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Retrospective: Outrun

What do you get when Yu cross a Suzuki with a Ferrari? A Golden Joystick!

Ray Ban Wayfarers: check. Keys to the red Ferrari Testarossa: check. Hot pixelated blonde in the passenger seat: check. Greatest midi tunes this side of Final Fantasy: you know it. Following its wild hydraulically-powered success in arcades, Sega's Outrun swept the home computing board back in '88 - picking up a hallowed Golden Joystick for Game of the Show to (car) boot.

Outrun pioneered Sega's blue Sky template, and added palm trees, beaches... and a dose of Ferris Bueller. No cops, no opponents - just you ad the lil' lady against the clock. Every time you make it through a checkpoint, you're given a fresh wad of time plus the opportunity to screech either left or right at a fork in the highway - meaning there are a stack of B roads to overcome before you've seen everything Yu Suzuki's racer... sorry, driver had to offer.

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Part of Outrun's success played off its iconic imagery. Who wouldn't want to go on a point-to-point rampage across sunny Euro-Africa-fornia (it's unclear exactly where Outrun is set; that combination of the Alps, Stonehenge, Saharan sandscapes and Florida palms proving geographically befuddling), babe in toe and chillin' tunez pumping out the stereo? Ah yes, the music. Radio as sound select (an arcade first) was inspired, as was flipping though iconic tracks like 'Passing Breeze' and 'Magical Sound Shower'.

Pre-genuine 3D, sprite-scaling ingenuity enabled the actual 'racing' gameplay, with the illusion that player were overtaking crammed roadways of regular traffic at ker-azy speeds. Yet Outrun was always a triumph of style and imagery over bedrock gameplay, right down to that oh so cool sunset High Score screen.

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It was also great at crashes. Spin out and your lass administers loving TLC, prang at 200mph and you'll both sail, seatbelt-less into the horizon. Even the endings rocked - all five eliciting a wry smile.

An iconic Golden Joystick winner, Outrun's flame continues to burn brightly to this day. What do you get when Yu cross a Suzuki with a Ferrari? Gaming magic, what's what.

The GamesMaster Golden Joystick Awards (www.goldenjoystick.com / www.facebook.com/goldenjoysticks) are sponsored by our friends at HMV, who not only sell all the games you'll ever need - but all the consoles and peripherals too. Get voting to be in with a chance of scooping all of this...

● iPad 3 ● Google Nexus Tablet ● Samsung Galaxy S3 Phone ● Beats by Dre Studio Headphones ● Sonos Sound System ● PS Vita ● 3DS XL ● Turtle Beach Headset ● Top 10 Christmas Games ● £500 HMV Vouchers

UK entries only. Good luck!

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