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Hard Drivin'

aka: Hard Drivin' 1
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Description official description

Hard Drivin' is a 3D arcade hit from Atari Games. You are in control of a high-performance sports car. Your objective is to race around the course as fast as possible and hit as many checkpoints as possible. If you hit a checkpoint you gain extra time to go farther. You will see traffic on the road both in your direction and coming down the opposite direction, so be careful when you pass...

The course has two sections: speed track, and stunt track. Speed track is longer, but you can usually achieve higher speeds. Stunt track requires you to perform several stunts such as jumping bridges, driving through a loop, and so on.

Crashing the car has no serious consequences and indeed shows a replay of your crash from a cinematic angle. Admire your crash head-on into the cement truck, or clipping the minivan, or flying off the bridge in the wrong angle... You lose several seconds as your car is "reset" and you get up to speed again.

The home conversions retain most of the then-advanced 3D graphics but lack the force-feedback that was in the arcade version.


  • ハードドライビン - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Amiga version)

6 People (5 developers, 1 thanks)

  • Teque
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Average score: 70% (based on 36 ratings)


Average score: 2.6 out of 5 (based on 70 ratings with 1 reviews)

A major disappointment.

The Good
Although I found the game very disappointing, I have to admit it's one of the arcade conversions for 8 bit computers that more closely resembles the original.

It maintains both circuits from the arcade, as well as the traffic and the external replays after accidents.

The Bad
Almost everything. The 64k tape version doesn't have any sound at all, but that's only a minor complain. The main defect of the conversion is the sluggish scroll and the handling.

"Hard Drivin'" tries to replicate the handling of a real car through a progressive steering system. It's not very responsive, and what's worse, it has no return. If you turn right, for example, the car will continue to steer right until you center the steering wheel again. Which is almost impossible, specially considering how slowly the car reacts to commands. You either end up oversteering and taking the car to the roadside or driving in S figures, like some drunk driver.

The Bottom Line
An early example of driving simulator, with primitive 3D graphics and realistic physics.

Versions of the game for 16 bits consoles and computers actually do the original arcade justice, but this game just shouldn't have been released for 8 bit computers.

Amstrad CPC · by Neville (3552) · 2008


Commodore 64 version

The C64 version, generally considered the weakest of Domark's home computer versions, was only released on budget and compilations. It was developed from scratch in two weeks after the original attempted conversion (coded by Mike Hutchinson) had major glitches when other cars were added

Cancelled NES port

A NES port was planned, programmed by Mark Morris, but was eventually not released.


In 2007, Midway held the rights to this game, a lucrative deal as it included a series of patents to the concept of recorded "ghosts" in racing games. These are recordings of a certain racing session, shown in a new game allowing players to race against and compare their best times. New games that wanted to use this feature had to license it from Midway: Patent #5,577,913, a "System and Method for Driver Training With Multiple Driver Competition". Since 2011, the patent was held by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. On November 26th 2013, the patent expired, allowing anyone to use recorded "ghosts" in racing games.

Sega Genesis cover artwork

If you look carefully, the rear license plate of the car reads "10-GEN". You might think that the "GEN" references the Genesis platform, but the full vanity plate text phonetically reproduces the name of Tengen, Atari Games' home console division and developers of this port.


  • Commodore Format
    • November 1994 (Issue 50) – #4 The Bottom 10
  • EMAP
    • Golden Joystick Rewards 1990: Winner Best Coin-Op conversion.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Servo.

Amstrad CPC added by B.L. Stryker. Genesis added by Guy Chapman. Arcade added by FatherJack. Amiga added by Rebound Boy. Lynx added by tbuteler. Commodore 64 added by Xoleras. Atari ST, ZX Spectrum added by Martin Smith.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Kasey Chang, Jeanne, Sciere, Martin Smith, Pseudo_Intellectual, j.raido 【雷堂嬢太朗】, Patrick Bregger, Jo ST, FatherJack.

Game added August 20th, 2001. Last modified September 17th, 2023.