How well did SEGA’s “OutRun 2019” predict the actual technology of 2019?

The futurists working in entertainment are always letting us down. Back to the Future part II promised us hoverboards and flying cars, but when 2015 rolled around, they were nowhere to be seen. The original animated Transformers movie promised us hoverboards by 2005, so Hasbro was even more off the mark.

As it turns out, video games have been predicting the future via their own art form, as well. One such game is OutRun 2019, developed by SIMS and released for the SEGA Genesis (Mega Drive) in 1993. So how accurately did SIMS predict the world of 2019? Let’s have a look at the story section of the game’s manual to find out! (If you’re unfamiliar with OutRun 2019, watch the video below to get a sense of the game.)

sega_outrun_2019_predictions_the splintering_manual scan

OutRun 2019 manual scan*

SIMS wasn’t too ambitious here. There are only two fact-checkable details, by my count. Paragraph 2 reads “There’s a flash of blinding light before the windshield darkens to compensate.” Do darkening windshields actually exist in 2019?  As it turns out, much like “transitions” glasses lenses, car windshield glass that automatically darkens when exposed to bright light DOES exist, according to patent USD453130 held by Mary Elizabeth Armstrong. There are researchers at Princeton also working on something similar, however neither of these particular products are available to consumers. I suppose the market has roughly a year to catch up with OutRun 2019 technology.

Returning to the OutRun 2019 instruction manual, paragraph 3 of the story page reads “your car’s booster rocket blasts you forward.” Do cars with rocket engines actually exist in really-real 2019? In fact, they do. Rocket cars have actually existed and used in drag races for decades, and even Elon Musk would like to integrate rocket technology into Tesla’s next roadster. Perhaps a joint venture with Wayne Tech is in Elon’s future?

rocket car_outrun 2019_sega_the splintering_futurist

That, good sir, is a rocket car.

So far SIMS is two for two with their 2019 predictions. Since there were only two facts from the OutRun 2019 manual to investigate, let’s check out the game’s rear box art to see if there are any other predictions worth noting.

sega_outrun_2019_predictions_the splintering_rear box art scan

OutRun 2019 Rear Box Art*

There’s not much in the text, but if you look at the two images on the right side- oh, my! Your car can travel up to 682 mph! Is that speed possible in current year? The fastest production car on earth is the Hennessey Venom, which clocks in at just 301 mph, so it looks like SIMS is pretty far off with this one. But OutRun 2019 isn’t limited to just production cars. Remember, we’re talking about rocket cars, and as it turns out, the fastest rocket car on earth has been recorded traveling at 763.035 mph, which you can watch in the video below.

It looks to me like the futurists at SIMS are three for three with their OutRun 2019 predictions. That’s a damn good record, if you ask me! If they could read the future so damn well, why didn’t someone at SIMS tell SEGA that the 32X was such a bad idea…?

*Thanks to SEGA Retro for the box and manual scans!

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