Retro Game of the Day! Hang-On
Hang-On by Sega, original arcade release in 1985.
Do you remember the first time you saw this beast? Do you? I sure do. Although I suspect many people were actually rather flabbergasted when they first laid their eyes on a Hang-On "ride-controller" arcade, I was of those who just had no idea it was something that could be done, and when I gave it a try, I really didn't have any idea what to make of it.
Having never before ridden an actual motorcycle, my 10-year-old (or so) self was kind of cautious about mounting the thing (falling off, etc) But in hindsight this was a CRAZY device. If you couldn't tell by now, the deluxe version of this arcade machine required you to get on top like an actual motorcycle and lean to control your bike. Awesome stuff.. even if it was new, now.
The software wasn't too shabby either. This was Sega's heyday, and they were busy making quite a formidable name for themselves in the arcade markets with their beauutifully-rendered pseudo-3D racing games, with very flashy and colorful scalar sprite technology. It was way ahead of everyone else at the time. This was stellar equipment.
Of course there was no comparison to with the home console port, and so the Sega Master System 8-Bit conversion looked pretty low-grade by comparison, but that's how it was back in those days. Being a Nintendo boy myself, I had to pick up Mach Rider and make do with that, but I would have been all over Hang-On had it (or a more appropriate game) been available. This stuff was just too cool.
To sum up, Hang-On - truly remarkable and trend-setting game. Yu Suzuki, legendary designer. I wish I could find a Hang-On unit right now (if anyone knows where there's one in SoCal, gimme a ring!)