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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.


Hard Drivin' Arcade Title Screen.
Hard Drivin' Arcade Let's Go.
Hard Drivin' Arcade Crash Replay.
Hard Drivin' Arcade Staright on or turn right?

Promo Images

Hard Drivin' Magazine Advertisement
Hard Drivin' Magazine Advertisement
Hard Drivin' Magazine Advertisement Page 29

Alternate Titles

  • "Hard Drivin' 1" -- Informal name
  • "ハードドラむビン" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

There are no reviews for the Arcade release of this game. You can use the links below to write your own review or read reviews for the other platforms of this game.

Critic Reviews

Power Play May, 1989 86 out of 100 86
Commodore User Mar, 1989 8 out of 10 80
All Game Guide 1998 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
Retro Archives Apr 14, 2020 12 out of 20 60
The One for 16-Bit Games Apr, 1989 Unscored Unscored
Your Sinclair May, 1989 Unscored Unscored


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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.

FatherJack (62721) added Hard Drivin' (Arcade) on Jan 26, 2014
Other platforms contributed by B.L. Stryker (23452), Guy Chapman (1996), Rebound Boy (19578), tbuteler (3146), Xoleras (66455), Martin Smith (79198) and Servo (57355)
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