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OutRun

Composed by Hiroshi Kawaguchi

Sega had become one of the more dominant developers of arcade games in the 80s, largely due to Yu Suzuki and his ability to produce and direct unique arcade experiences like Hang-On and Space Harrier. OutRun was Suzuki's opportunity to create a car racing game as opposed to a motorcycle one. OutRun was only developed by himself, four other programmers, the sound designer, and the composer Hiroshi Kawaguchi. 

Kawaguchi initially had a strong dislike for music, due to the music lessons he took and couldn't find success with at a young age. His appreciation for music started to grow when he became invested in the folk music genre. It was then where he became a self taught musician and learned how to play the guitar and perform in bands. After high school, he shifted his instrument of choice to the synthesizer keyboard. In addition to knowing how to play instruments, he also knew how to program his own games and scores for those games using the Commodore VIC-1001. 

He eventually found work with Sega as a programmer. His first game was Girl's Garden for the Master System. He started composing for Suzuki and his arcade games when Suzuki learned of Kawaguchi's experience playing in bands. Suzuki wanted the sound of his game Hang-On to sound like something you'd hear a real band play on the radio. For Out Run, the relationship between Kawaguchi and Suzuki grew. What separated Out Run from Suzuki's other games was the ability to choose what music was played in the background while you raced. There were only three to choose from, but each piece lasted roughly as long as it would take to finish the entire game from start to finish. The fourth piece, Last Wave, was meant to end the game, whether you won or got a time over, on a relaxing note.

It wasn't enough for OutRun to be another innovative arcade experience from Yu Suzuki, scored by Hiroshi Kawaguchi. The option given to the player to decide what music would enhance the gaming experience was unique, and unlike anything that had ever been done in any video game at the time. A tiny soundtrack by today's standards, but still one of the most innovative uses of a video game score in the 80s.

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