Virtua Formula

From Sega Retro


Virtua Formula
System(s): Sega Model 1
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Racing

Number of players: 1-4
Release Date RRP Code
Arcade (Model 1)
¥? ?
Arcade (Model 1)
$? ?
Arcade (Model 1)
£250,000 ?

This teeny-tiny article needs some work. You can help us by expanding it.

Virtua Formula (バーチャフォーミュラ) is an expanded version of the 1992 Sega Model 1 arcade game Virtua Racing, designed as a medium-scale attraction for theme parks and family entertainment centers.


Virtua Formula consists of a much larger setup to standard editions of Virtua Racing. Players are seated in full-motion, hydraulically actuated Formula One car cockpit replicas in front of a 50-inch screen. Cameras attached to each "car" film real-time footage of the players, which are displayed on screens above the unit. At the time of release, Virtua Formula was one of the most complex racing configurations ever seen in an arcade environment, and would go on to inspire several other "Super Deluxe" adaptions of Sega racers for the FEC market.

Virtua Formula was manufactured in four-player and eight-player variants; though theoretically any number between two and eight cabinets can be linked together (and indeed, one cabinet can act as a (costly) single-player experience). A further Model 1 board is used to drive a screen for spectators, showing the action from different camera angles with a a pseudo-commentary by "Virt McPolygon", an animated 3D model with text sometimes reflecting what is happening in the race. Monitors above the cabinet also display live footage of the player's facial expressions, filmed by small cameras mounted on each car.

From a gameplay front, Virtua Formula is identical to Virtua Racing, although eight possible cabinets means eight possible colours for the player's vehicle. Attract sequences are completely different in Virtua Formula and can span multiple screens.



Virtua Formula made its debut in 1994 as one of the opening attractions at Sega's Yokohama Joypolis theme park, which boasted a dedicated room containing four eight-player units. The 4-player Virtua Formula deluxe cabinet initially cost £250,000 for arcade operators, and £3 per play for players.[2]


Computer and Video Games reviewed the deluxe Virtua Formula cabinet, giving it ratings of 89% for graphics, 91% for sound, and 90% for gameplay, with a 90% score overall. The reviewer Paul Rand described it as "one of the most exciting arcade drives around," praising the "hydraulic control" and movements of the "full-size F1 car" cockpit cabinet which make it "feel as though you're flying along at 300km/h." He compared it favorably with Namco's Ridge Racer, noting that while it doesn't have the latter's "drop-dead stunning graphics," Virtua Racing has "the vital ingredient that makes or breaks games of this genre - a heart-pumping sense of speed."[2]


Virtua Formula cabinets are rare, not just because as medium-scale attractions they typically require more space than the average arcade cabinet, but because as technology improved over the course of the 1990s, Virtua Formula cabinets became less desirable (particularly when compared to the eight-player Daytona USA setups). Many Virtua Formula cabinets were converted into eight-player Indy 500 units or destroyed. However, the basic design of the unit continues to inspire similar full-motion "Super Deluxe" versions of Sega racing titles such as Sega Rally 3, Outrun 2 SP SDX, and Daytona Championship USA.

Photo gallery

Magazine articles

Main article: Virtua Formula/Magazine articles.


Virtua Racing series of games
Virtua Racing (1992) | Virtua Formula (1993)
Sega Mega Drive
Virtua Racing (1994)
Sega 32X
Virtua Racing Deluxe (1994)
Sega Saturn
Time Warner Interactive's VR Virtua Racing (1995)
Sony PlayStation 2
Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 8: Virtua Racing FlatOut (2004)
Nintendo Switch
Sega Ages Virtua Racing (2019)
Virtua Racing related media
Virtua Racing & OutRunners (1993) | Yu Suzuki Produce G-LOC/R360/Virtua Racing (1998)
Virtua Racing: Official Racing Guide (1994) | Virtua Racing Hisshou Kouryaku-hou (199x)