S.EXE: OutRun 2006

The sound of the sea on the menu of the classic arcade racer OutRun 2006 is drifting through Tim Rogers’ Oakland apartment. For whatever reason I find myself in the ex-Grasshopper Manufacture designer’s house, and this guy is making a game, ‘Videoball’, that demands that the voice actor on his new game sound like she comes from OutRun 2006. So I am playing OutRun 2006. It is eye-wettingly beautiful. It is heartbreakingly so. I could cry but I’m dehydrated from California’s stubborn sticky hotness and how gosh darned vegan everything is.

The screeching of the children from the school from across the freesia-fragranced, sun bleached street has subsided, and Tim is cutting audio clips and swearing at the wi-fi. And the game’s menu, the game that Tim once called ‘Love: The Videogame’, well, the game’s menu is doing a perfect impression of contentment. This game is no longer available due to licencing troubles, but man, if anything was ever a game, this, THIS was a game. And I’m on a quest for the ‘ejaculatory gag’. You know, the one that Kieron mentioned in 2008, and I have never found: “I’m still terribly amused by the hyper-cheesy ejaculatory gag half-way through.”

OutRun 2006’s real triumph is how easily it articulates a young man’s fear of emasculation in front of a woman. OutRun 2006’s premise is that you are racing pristine Ferraris, impressing the girl in the passenger seat, making her gush with love every time you overtake a ‘Rival’, or get close but not too close to another car, drifting on sharp curves, or simply winning a race or minigame. Little hearts appear whenever you shift gear and execute something she likes, as if love were a series of corners you drift together, and that’s all. As if it is easy to see where you have failed in life, and where you can improve. Not only does it portray two objects of desire – a Ferrari – a REAL Ferrari – and a hot blonde woman who loves said Ferrari, but it represents the precarious ego of a young man who has just become aware that he might have to become something in order to be worthy of dating someone else.

Of course it’s a simplistic vision born of the sort of politics that tell men that they are entitled to hot women as soon as they have money – once one purloins a Ferrari, a blonde should follow, and of course once one dates a ‘hot’ ‘blonde’ AND possesses a Ferrari one is guaranteed to be happy (the game somewhat accurately depicts this last part as false) but what the game does is promise that here at least, if you win a race in your shiny red you are hypothetically entitled to be sucked off in an enthusiastic manner, even if it never happens in the game. It presents the world as a simple, beautiful, gamified concept with a specifically defined reward, that of the hypothetical naked roadmap of a pretty girl.

The idea that hot blondes are impressed by fast cars, winning races, and that they fall in love with you the more you slide into a frictionified drift, scraping asphalt into blue skies – this is the world that heterosexual adolescent, and sometimes fully grown men are encouraged to believe in. A fantasy world in which women are not people but algorithms whose erogenous zones work like checkpoints on tarmac. And I’m willing to accept this flimsy construction, if only because I guess at one point in my life at least, perhaps when I was seventeen, I’ve dreamt of being a woman on the open road with a hot blond guy in the passenger seat, and being able to make him weak by sliding into a ridiculous drift, or slipstreaming into first in some imaginary race. It is extraordinary to me at least, that no one has made an OutRun where the woman is at least in the driving seat, and the guy squeals with delight as she comes first. Pun intended.

As it is, I cannot drive. I did, however, once in my life, work as a tester on GTA IV, which is almost as good as knowing how to drive.

Anyway I’m ON THE ROAD trying to find this ‘ejaculatory gag’ (which sounds like a terrible end to a blowjob) KG mentioned. “I’m still terribly amused by the hyper-cheesy ejaculatory gag half-way through.” In single player OutRun mode the girl in the passenger seat says “How far are you gonna take me?” half way through the race. What are the chances that the ‘ejaculation joke’ is this comment?

1) The game is clearly a huge euphemism for sex as it is
2) ‘How far’ indicates that the girl estimates that this guy in the driving seat might not get her to the ‘end’
3) ‘Take’ is pleasingly allusive to sexual intercourse
4) Perhaps she is just literally referring to where she might get dropped off on the race course because she might have a yoga class to attend.

Further into the race the girlfriend exclaims “I wanna go far away”. Is this the ejaculation joke?
1) Is this because she suspects that the ejaculation in question will be very violent
2) Is this because she suspects that her boyfriend is not very considerate about where he ejaculates
3) Is this because she is just annoyed that his conversation is banal
4) Is she trying to escape her abusive father and you are the only ticket out of here and have I made light of a very serious situation?

There is a mode called “Heart Attack”.
1) Will the ejaculation be so violent as to trigger a heart attack?
2) Will some hearts attack his penis triggering an ejaculation?
3) Will his impending heart attack trigger the ejaculation?

In the Heart Attack mode, the girlfriend exclaims “What fun!”
1) Are ejaculations inherently fun?
2) Does this girl particularly like ejaculations?
3) Is he ejaculating right now like a fountain
4) Is she being incredibly sarcastic amidst an ejaculation

The OutRun mode in the game has the caption “Try to reach the goal with your girlfriend”.

1) ‘The goal’ is always an orgasm, right?
2) Is this always going to be ‘your’ (the man’s) goal? Is it the *man’s* orgasm?
3) Is ‘the goal’ her orgasm?
4) There appears to be only one goal, so there cannot be two orgasms?
5) I’m really confused about the goal. What does this have to do with orgasms

There is a music track for the game that can be selected before you begin a mode called “Splash Wave”. Is this the ejaculation joke?
1) Is the wave related to spooge?
2) How much splash are we talking?
3) This seems like an excessive amount of ejaculation

There is also a track called “Passing Breeze”.
1) This could be related to the fact that the driver of the car is ready to go off at any second, a ‘passing breeze’ could trigger an unwanted ejaculation

One of the tracks is called “Risky Ride”.
1) Does this imply sexual goings-on without contraception? This seems careless.

All in all, OutRun 2006 is a pretty brazen euphemism for attempting to sleep with a girl, or even the actual act of sex itself. The simplistic nature of the whole thing – ‘win a race to impress her’ conflates two of the most anxiety-inducing aspects of masculinity: winning competitions, and getting laid. It’s especially troubling that the girl actually beats up on you if you lose a race (one girlfriend actually tries to strangle you at the end of a failed race). If I were a guy, I suspect it would be nice sometimes to not have to be judged by either standard. I guess videogames do a terrible job of busting gender norms in that sense: after all, what about the men?

Kieron Gillen was unavailable for comment on his comment*

*Kieron Gillen was not approached for comment


  1. gruia says:

    I was mesmirized by this when I was young. honestly it looked better then than now )

  2. RedViv says:

    And here I thought trying to achieve glorious success in front of KG Himself might have brought out any latent powers in detecting rude jokes in any sort of medium. And slipping additional ones in.
    Then again, Half-Life is probably not a race, and the mocking might disturb accurate syncing of thought waves.

  3. LionsPhil says:

    >Haven’t renamed the column Cock Paper Shotgun

    Not disappointed by the detailed analysis, though, although somewhat saddened that the mystery remains unresolved.

    • natedynamic says:

      @LionsPhil To be fair, a shotgun made of cock paper would be remarkably ineffective.

      • gwathdring says:

        It takes a while to warm it up, it doesn’t shoot very far or precisely, and after the first shot it can take even longer to fire again and sometimes you can’t even tell if it’s primed and ready to go the second time.

        You know.

        Like a penis.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Another word for which, is “Wang”.
          Ask Queen Victoria.

  4. Shadow says:

    This article cracked me up. Cara, you cheeky devil. ;)

    I mustn’t have played the original OutRun (or OutRunners) much at all, since I never picked up all this (apparently heavy) sexual undertone.

  5. SillyWizard says:

    Any chance we’re going to get a WIT of Super Deepthroat any time soon?

  6. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I sat at lunch today, drifting (pardon the pun) into a coma, listening to my work colleague complaining that her last boyfriend hadn’t achieved enough in his career. ONLY a medium level engineer with a very well known automotive company. So she dumped him. She then spoke of her current date, who she was concerned about because he might not own his own house. She was prepared to accept only a reasonably expensive car and it didn’t need to be a Ferrari (after all, she wasn’t a snob) but non-taut abs and a body fat range greater than 8% were also off the table. I think she would have liked OutRun.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Your organisation clearly hires only the finest of human beings, dear citizen.

    • SuicideKing says:

      I have a friend (junior in college) who once complained to us for 20 mins how she couldn’t wear diamonds because her fortune teller had said so.

      I also know that there are a lot of guys in my college that drive like assholes just to look cool. Sadly some women actually like that too.

      I’m an uncool safe driver, you see. Almost lost too many loved ones in accidents to be a moron.

      • frightlever says:

        Your screen name is somewhat ironic, no?

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          This is the question that makes SuicideKing wish that RPS allowed signature boxes in comments, to use as a FAQ section

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      There are a lot of women that perpetuate the stereotype too. Fast car = money = the man can buy her things. This isn’t just a male fantasy at all.

  7. Laurentius says:

    I don’t quite get this article, it can be serious, or it can be a joke or something in between. What I do know is that Outrun 2006 Coast to Coast is one of my favourites games of all time that i completed numerous times, So given the nature of this article everyone is free to form opinion about me and my sexual life, actually i’m launching this game right now for a quick session.

    PS. Actually after that quick session with Outrun i can say my mind wasn’t really wandering around sex but rather my mind drew the parallel betwen game and recent oscar wining italian movie Le Grande Bellezza. Brilliant movie: link to youtube.com

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Yep, to be fair for me this game was simply about setting impossible-to-beat-for-my-little-town records on it’s arcade machine, and that was enough joy for me.

      Oh, it didn’t help me get laid though.

  8. BTAxis says:

    At the risk of exposing a critical deficiency in my masculinity, I want to say I’ve never understood the fascination so many people have with road vehicles. Or going fast, for that matter.

    • sanichegehog says:

      gotta go fast

    • gwathdring says:

      Some cars are very pretty. But this is also true of buildings and rocks.

      So I guess I’m with you.

      I like running fast and the sensation of motion. Driving fast gives me all the danger and difficulty of speed but a much reduced sensation of speed making it inferior, in my opinion, to cycling or better still sprinting as fast as possible.

      Generally, I’m rather uncomfortable driving. Either I’m fully aware that I’m in a very awkward thing with a lot of momentum awfully close to other awkward things with a lot of momentum OR I’m superficially comfortable and disconcerted by the fact that, at the moment, I’m not at all concerned about the former matter.

      • Clippit says:

        just had to reply to say you’ve written exactly what i’m thinking about cars in general. the solution of course is to get a suitable car

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Yep, that particular one should remove any possible doubt.

          Just don’t drive with your mouth open in awe in bumble bees rich seasons.

    • SuicideKing says:

      I’m actually uncomfortable beyond a speed. But, i do like the feeling of acceleration, especially on corners. Not really a car person though. I’m only interested if my family were looking to buy.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s fun, basically.

    • Shooop says:

      Adrenaline rushes feel good. The obsessing over the make and model of the cars is pretty much console wars but with cars.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        This, driving fast is fun, I don’t care what I do it in and I’m not looking to get laid whilst doing it.

    • mr.black says:

      Well, think about it like this (said he, as he was downloading the Formula 1 GP coverage) it’s like PC configuration, but which can move.
      We’ve got compact solutions, aesthetically pleasing (expensive), well made (expensive, but not so much as the nice ones), enthusiast high performance (most expensive, also beautiful, most commonly). We’ve got quality brands (more expensive than non-branded), trendy brands, vintage brands… We’ve got setups purely for usability, for durability, for show-off, for competitive usage. Do-it-yourself approach vs. technical support.
      A lot of it is similar to cars.

  9. Geebs says:

    I’m pretty sure one of the Outrun tracks is called “magical sound shower”

    Also I will never own this and that makes me sad

  10. RPSRSVP says:

    Critique my… fountain!

    Can you be (hot and) bothered to dissect dudebro/fratboy titles more frequently?

  11. rhubarb says:

    At the very moment I finished this article, I noticed that there was a need for speed movie on the television, and, almost immediately, the guy who isn’t vin diesel won the race and bellowed, some would say orgasmically.

  12. Joshua says:

    “winning competitions, and getting laid. ”

    I know atleast one person in my life who considers getting laid a competition in itself. I am still not sure how to properly deal with this.

  13. Gap Gen says:

    Everything wrong with the Victorian patriarchal gender norms. Sounds awesome.

  14. Monkeh says:

    Outrun just happens to be re-releasing on the 3DS! I remember, as a kid, thinking this series looked pretty ‘cool’. Never played it though, since I’ve never been a fan of racing games nor of cars for that matter.

    • GameCat says:

      Wait, what.

      I must buy 3DS.

      BTW, I also don’t really like racing games, but I find OutRun 2006 absolutely fantastic, especially on PSP.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Well, there are a ton of reasons to get a 3DS anyway, Bravely Default as a random example.

        But yeah, this one qualifies too!

  15. Ahkey says:

    There is also a track called “Who are You”.
    1) Is the ejaculation so strong that the driver of the car loses all conception of who and where he is?
    2) Does this sudden loss of identity lead to his ‘crashing and burning’, a thinly-veiled metaphor for his failure to successfully stimulate his partner to orgasm?
    3) Does the girl suddenly realise that our driver is not, as she previously imagined, her ride, and that she is now driving, at breakneck speeds, miles from her house, with a total stranger?
    4) Could the driver have become aware that his very existence is being ridiculed by critics and commentators alike?
    5) Does this realisation trigger his ejaculation?

  16. Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

    This is just looking up for giraffe silhouette (pardon, cum splats) among spots on gepard’s hide.
    Personally, I’ve never found anything of intended sex-themed message in Outrun, and I imagine, by the time playing this game, my teenager self testosterone level was through the roof.

    Or, you can just safely assume that everything (plot, music, visuals) that includes couple of adults of opposite sex, at some stage, involved some grinding action in creator’s mind.

  17. commentingaccount says:

    To be honest, this just seems like a bunch of overthinking. I usually like these articles, but this one fails to hit the mark, IMO.

  18. Jason Moyer says:

    So that explains why Sega pulled it from Steam.

  19. ExplosiveCoot says:

    I’m pretty sure the ejaculatory gag Kieron is referring to is the one he made earlier in the article about getting dumped due to always coming first.

  20. SuicideKing says:

    impressing the girl in the passenger seat, making her gush with love every time you overtake a ‘Rival’, or get close but not too close to another car, drifting on sharp curves, or simply winning a race or minigame.

    There was a sequence like this in Sleeping Dogs as well, found it annoying.

    • Joshua says:

      I am sorry for being so unrelated but…

      Do you play Freespace 2?

    • Kitsunin says:

      Pretty sure the GTA games have also had bits like that.

      Also, Saints Row, but in a self-aware way.

      • mr.black says:

        Saints row 3 had tigers so… par for the course for the game.

    • mr.black says:

      Well, the girl was going to get married and the rival did have her wedding cake..

  21. El Mariachi says:

    “California’s stubborn sticky hotness,” “sun-bleached street”

    Are you sure you were in Oakland and not, like, Indio or Needles?

  22. neffo says:

    (one girlfriend actually tries to strangle you at the end of a failed race)

    Could that be her assisting in some sort of autoerotic consolation prize? Pun intended.

  23. BobsLawnService says:

    Wow, this article really is labouring a bit to hard. I think the whole Oh.My.God.I’m.A.Girl.Gamer.Writing.About.SEX.Look.At.How.Special.I.Am! genre of games journalism is officially becoming tiring and not exactly painting women in a good light either.

    • tormos says:

      Wow, this comment really is laboring a bit too hard. I think the whole Oh.My.God.I’m.An.Internet.Commenter.With.No.Sense.Of.Humor.Look.At.How.Special.I.Am! genre of comments is officially becoming tiring and not exactly painting closeted misogynists a good light, either

    • Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

      I have to agree. The S.exe bit got stale about 3 articles ago. But (cute girl) + (writing about sex) = clicks, so here we are.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Did you prefer it Cara wrote explicitly about sex, in games articles? As opposed to writing articles explicitly about sex in games :) I like this column but I do hope there will be more like the former too, I can’t shake the doubt that this column is justified largely by clicks for the wrong sort of reasons. At least it’s harder for the trolls to get worked up about risque content in this format.

  24. Radiant says:

    Ey yo Cara why you gotta hate on the dream?!

    *kicks ferrari into a ravine*

  25. Scumbag says:

    All this ejaculation talk is playing with my imagination, seeing young men on bikes painting the white lines on the roads while woman follow in tow, creating deadly skidpans for other drivers.
    Don’t ejaculate and drive kids.

  26. Llewyn says:

    I haven’t played Outrun 2006 (and – confession – haven’t read the article in full yet) but as an English kid growing up playing the original arcade machines I don’t think it ever occurred to me that the woman wasn’t in the driving seat.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Right hand drive. The most Equal of driving … positions [pardon the pun, again]

  27. tnzk says:

    Can I make a very small generalisation and state that the probability of people in the RPS community who do not understand men who like cool cars, and women who like men who have cool cars, is a bit high.

    I’m one of those men who likes cool cars, and I know a bunch of women who like men who have cool cars. In fact, just the other day a (good) friend of mine was gushing over her last date simply because he drove a Mercedes. She’s contemplating a second university degree, so she’s not exactly a bimbo.

    That being said, Outrun is absolutely fucking true except in one regard: real Ferrari owners are absolute douchebags. They’re not cool. If you owned a Jaguar XK or the new F-Type, then you would really drive like that down state highways. Not a Ferrari owner. Ferrari’s corporate culture breeds a community of dickheads. If Outrun were truer to life, the guy would call up his dealership at every stage checkpoint for no other reason than to talk about him and his Ferrari.

    Anyway, here’s a real life Ferrari pick up prank: link to youtube.com

    • drewski says:

      Having an education doesn’t stop people from being shallow.

      Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with being shallow if that’s what does it for you.

      • BobsLawnService says:

        Because only a male feminist like yourself or Cara gets to dictate what a woman should be aroused by. If a woman is aroused by a car with a V12 engine and the financial security its owner offers then she is a shallow slut. Right? It is yours and Cara’s job to shame women for being turned on by things that meet your disapproval. You’re a hypocrite. And an idiot.

        Women should be free to be submissive, dominant, lesbian, straight, materialistic or spiritual without the fear of judgement by idiots like you or Cara.

        • Kitsunin says:

          “Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with being shallow if that’s what does it for you.”


          Edit: Okay seriously. Being shallow has nothing to do with gender. Obsession with expensive cars is just an extension of obsession with money, guys and gals both suffer from it, and it’s just as lame whoever it is. But, we live and let live I suppose. If the man/woman is cool with buying someone’s affection, and that person wants to be bought, it’d probably be a healthy relationship.

          There’s a difference a superficial and genuine interest in cars, too. If you are a hobbyist mechanic and you’ve been putting spare parts together to make something you really care about, that’s awesome! And a potential partner being into that is just as cool. But buying a Ferrari because it’s cool is pretty much just showboating or a waste of cash, and the person who is into you because of it, is probably looking for a free ride.

        • Ahkey says:

          Artists should be free to express their views, biases and agendas without fear of judgement, reproach or reprisal by anyone.

        • drewski says:

          Ummm…I specifically said anyone can be as shallow as they want, and I made no reference to the sex of the people I was referring to.

          That you assumed I meant shallow as a pejorative and that I was referring to women being shallow says more about your sexism than anything else.

        • phlebas says:

          Cara’s a male feminist? Did I miss a memo?

  28. thedosbox says:

    I love how this piece swerved into a “choose your own adventure” story

  29. Firkragg says:

    This is becoming a favorite of mine: start reading article, without seeing who wrote it and suddenly arrive at a moment in the article where it becomes apparent this must be Caras work, scroll up and smile.

  30. Foosnark says:

    13 years ago I bought a Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally Edition in bright yellow. At the time, there were not many in the area, and it seemed terribly sporty and it had lines that weren’t very common then.

    I can say with some authority that if you want to attract the attention of young douchebag guys who like cars, drive something sporty and interesting. Not so much with the ladies.

    • drewski says:

      To be fair, I suspect rally editions of basic sedans send out a very different message to extremely expensive luxury supercars, regardless of how much each of them happen to cost.

  31. P-Dazzle says:

    What an awful article.

    • hprice says:

      Yeah … its like its written by Beavis and Butthead but without the charm.

      Anyhooo … I think the next article should talk to people in the games industry with amusingly saucy names and/or really funny punned on names like:

      Peter Molyvagina

      Tim Shafhunglikeahorse

      John Carspunk

      Dean “Rocket” (Fnar fnar) Hall

      Jonathan BlowJockeyshortsarereallysexy

      Chris RobOhhugewobblydanglyones (tm Not The Nine O’clock News, late 70s/early 80s)

      Can’t wait for the next s.exe article, either. It will be … fun … and just a bit naughty. A bit like the Rocky Horror Show but with more enormous penises (giggle …)


      [Oh, and what no women on my list?? Oh no … sexism or something. Nope. Just couldn’t think of any females off the top of my head whilst writing said rant that’s all …]

      • HadToLogin says:

        That lack-of-women just shows there are no BIG NAMES women in industry.

  32. granderojo says:

    “I could cry but I’m dehydrated from California’s stubborn sticky hotness and how gosh darned vegan everything is.”

    The obvious satire where you dismantle bro-culture is whatever. It’s everywhere right now on the internet and that’s fun I guess. That said, I thought this line was really good. It both setup for the tone of the article exquisitely, while being concise and jovial.

  33. Faxmachinen says:

    “It is extraordinary to me at least, that no one has made an OutRun where the woman is at least in the driving seat, and the guy squeals with delight as she comes first. Pun intended.”

    Indeed. We only got half of what the title promised in “Hot Chix n’ Gear Stix”.

  34. pipedream says:

    This was an amazing article. Thanks Cara. I’ve always enjoyed randomly stumbling on to this site, like you randomly stumble on to some infomercial about a juicer, drunk at 4am – however, this is now earning itself a proper bookmark.

  35. ben_reck says:

    If Outrun didn’t have some ejaculatory humor, I think Cara has more than remedied that oversight.

  36. harcalion says:

    While I have had my share of young ladies who speeded really fast while I was on the passenger’s seat (full disclosure, I am a man) and then commented the moment as a “good substitute for sex”, what I want to remark in this comment is that here in Spain, just before the crisis there was a survey of 8-12 kids. The question was “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, boys’ top answer was “football star player”, girls’ top answer was “wife of football star player”. There is a problem with aspirations, but there is also a fair number of crazy women that get off driving very fast while trying to impress male passengers.

  37. JamesTheNumberless says:

    The original Outrun is possibly my favourite arcade machine ever. I had the Spectrum version that came with a bonus tape of the music from the arcade version, which was undoubtedly the best part of it.