The deluxe coin-op version of Sega's Out Run was huge, literally. It was this great big, red, hydraulic-powered machine that you had to climb inside of. Somehow, this marvelous little hack distills the joy of cruising into the horizon into miniaturized toy form.
As you could guess from the name, the Tomy Turnin' Turbo Dashboard Out Run Arcade takes a Turnin' Turbo Dashboard, a mechanical toy made by Tomy that was popular in the 1980s, and converts it into an Out Run mini-arcade tabletop game.
This is what the original Turnin' Turbo Dashboard looks, in case you forgot:
What's remarkable about the hack is how everything fits together seamlessly. The level of thought and intricacy put into this thing is amazing. Naturally, the steering wheel turns your tiny Ferrari Testarossa in the game. The gear shift controls the speed. But you might not expect for the speedometer to accurately reflect the speed of your car, nor for the fuel gauge to represent the time remaining in the stage, nor for that matter, the ignition switch to power the game on and off.
Matt Brailsford, who created the hack, cut no corners, as he explains in meticulous detail over on his blog. Basically, he hardwired the inputs, ordered a 3.5 inch HDMI screen, had a circuit board printed for the dashboard, installed a speaker, and wired it all up to a Raspberry Pi, which serves as the brains of the machine.
As for the game itself, well, that's interesting. The Turnin' Turbo Dashboard actually plays Cannonball, a C++ port of the arcade version of Out Run. This concession allowed Brailsford to run the game on a Pi. It also let him get down to a granular level with the code so he could redirect the game to interface with his new toy.
Of course, no mini-arcade machine would be complete without decals, which also appear to be modeled after those from Out Run's deluxe arcade model.
Unfortunately, only one of these units exists in the world, so if you really want one, you'll have to build it yourself.
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