Join our Discord to chat with fellow friendly gamers and our knowledgeable contributors!

Not an American user?


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' Atari ST Title screen
Hard Drivin' ZX Spectrum Initially steering with the joystick proved hard. When the car goes off road a ten second countdown starts
Hard Drivin' Amstrad CPC Driving down the road.
Hard Drivin' Atari ST Passing under a stunt bridge

Promo Images

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

Alternate Titles

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

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A major disappointment. Amstrad CPC Neville (3390)

Critic Reviews

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) ZX Spectrum Jan, 1990 921 out of 1000 92
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Atari ST Dec, 1989 92 out of 100 92
The One Atari ST Dec, 1989 88 out of 100 88
Génération 4 Genesis Feb, 1991 86 out of 100 86
Raze Amiga Aug, 1991 80 out of 100 80
Hobby Consolas Genesis Oct, 1993 72 out of 100 72
All Game Guide Arcade 1998 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
100 aktuelle PC-Spiele DOS 1990 6 out of 10 60
GamePro (US) Lynx Nov, 1991 3 out of 5 60
The Video Game Critic Genesis Jan 08, 2001 D- 16


There are currently no topics for this game.


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 holds the rights to this game, a lucrative deal as it includes 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 want to use this feature have to license it from Midway: #5,577,913, a "System and Method for Driver Training With Multiple Driver Competition".

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.

Contributed to by B.L. Stryker (23422), Guy Chapman (1997), FatherJack (62725), Rebound Boy (19429), tbuteler (3146), Xoleras (66479), Martin Smith (76472) and Servo (57358)