From Sega Retro


Publisher: Sega, ColecoVision Intellivision Coleco
System(s): VCO Object, ColecoVision, Intellivision
Genre: Racing

Release Date RRP Code
Arcade JP 1981 ¥?  ?
Arcade US 1981-10 $?  ?
Arcade EU 1982 £?  ?
ColecoVision US 1982 $?  ?
ColecoVision EU 1983 £?  ?
Intellivision US 1983-04-04 $?  ?
Intellivision EU 1983 £?  ?

Turbo is a 1981 arcade game developed by Sega. It is a racing game where the player drives a formula 1 car down a long road while avoiding other cars and obstacles.

Turbo is often considered the first racing game to introduce a third-person perspective to the genre, something that is largely taken for granted now. A third-person perspective had earlier been achieved by Sega's Fonz in 1976, and a first-person perspective by Atari's Night Driver the same year, but the weak technology of the era meant that Fonz was monochrome and Night Driver could only produce white squares on a black background (hence the word "Night").

Turbo was revolutionary in that it could display colourful, detailed backgrounds, with sprite scaling, which gave the impression that the car was moving forwards. What is also notable is that Turbo offers changes of scenery, so the player can drive through cities, along the coast, through tunnels and through snow. Turbo would go on to inspire Namco's successful Pole Position arcade title, which in turn would help to popularise the genre. Pole Position is arguably a less advanced game, in terms of scale, as the scenery does not change.

The gameplay is similar to Sega's earlier arcade title, Monaco GP. Like Monaco GP, its arcade cabinet displays the player's score and speed on separate LED displays, meaning that when the game is emulated, extra considerations must be taken. In MAME for example, there is an option to display these values on the left hand side of the main screen, but this would not have been present on real hardware.



Programmer Steve Hanawa was hospitalized after spending hours coding and debugging Turbo.


Turbo was ported to the ColecoVision and Intellivision in 1982, though many cuts were made in order for the game to run on the weaker hardware of these consoles. An Atari 2600 port was planned, but cancelled. However in recent years a prototype version of the Atari 2600 game has been unearthed. The ColecoVision version of the game was, for a while, bundled with the ColecoVision Expansion Module #2 - a steering wheel.

A Turbo board game was released by Milton Bradley in 1983.

Production Credits

Promotional Material

Physical Scans

VCO Object Version

Arcade 90 Sega Retro Average 
Based on 1 review
Publication Score Source
90 AllGame
VCO Object, JP

ColecoVision Version

ColecoVision 90 Sega Retro Average 
Based on 6 reviews
Publication Score Source
74 AllGame
100 №12, p7
93 №3
83 №5/83, p26/27
100 №7, p46
91 2011/6/4
ColecoVision, US

Turbo ColecoVision US Cart.jpg
ColecoVision, US (Expansion Module bundle)

ColecoVision, EU

Turbo Coleco EU.JPG
ColecoVision, DE

Turbo ColecoVision DE Cart.jpg

Intellivision Version

Intellivision 56 Sega Retro Average 
Based on 2 reviews
Publication Score Source
70 AllGame
42 2012/6/19
Intellivision, US
Turbo Intellivision US Box Front.jpg
Turbo Intellivision US Cart.jpg
Intellivision, EU
Turbo Intellivision EU Box Back.jpgNospine.pngTurbo Intellivision EU Box Front.jpg

Atari 2600 Version

Atari 2600 50 Sega Retro Average 
Based on 1 review
Publication Score Source
50 AllGame
Atari 2600, US (Prototype)

Turbo Atari2600 US Coleco Cart.jpg