Virtua Formula

From Sega Retro


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

Number of players: 1-8
Release Date RRP Code
Arcade (Model 1)
¥? ?
Arcade (Model 1)
$? ?
Arcade (Model 1)
£250,000 ?

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 mid-size attraction for theme parks and entertainment centres.


Virtua Formula consists of a significantly larger setup compared to standard editions of Virtua Racing. Players are seated in hydraulically actuated Formula One 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.

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 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, however, are altered, and can span multiple screens.



The eight player version of Virtua Formula made its public debut at AOU Show 1993 in February 1993. The smaller four-player variant was permanently installed at Roppongi GiGO the following month,[2] with the larger model later appearing at Sega World Carnival House in May.[3] Both versions were subsequently installed at numerous large scale entertainment centres and Sega-owned venues around the world, as well as at other events and the Sega exhibition space at Innoventions in Walt Disney World.

In the UK, the 4-player Virtua Formula deluxe cabinet initially cost £250,000 for arcade operators, and £3 per play for players.[4]


Virtua Formula units are now exceedingly rare, largely down to their medium-scale attraction nature requiring more maintenance than a typical coin-operated arcade machine, as well as further technological improvements rendering its feats less impressive; thus, many installations have been converted to instead run Indy 500 or destroyed. However, the design features of the unit continue to inspire similar full-motion "Super Deluxe" versions of Sega racing titles such as OutRun 2 SP SDX.

The survival and re-discovery of the game's source code, preserved by one of its main programmers, would turn out to be a deciding factor in the development of Sega Ages Virtua Racing.[5]

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Magazine articles

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Sega Retro Average 
Publication Version Score
Computer & Video Games (UK)
Arcade (Model 1)
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Virtua Formula

Main article: Virtua Formula/Magazine articles.


Mid-size attractions
R360 | AS-1 | Virtua Formula | Virtual Batting | Power Sled | Murder Lodge | Bike Athlon | The Lost World: Jurassic Park Special | Boat Race GP | Wild River | Dennou Senki Virtual-On Special | Sky Cruising | MaxFlight VR2002 | Wild Jungle | | Cycraft | Wild Wing | The Quiz Show | The House of the Dead 4 Special | Wild River Splash! | OutRun 2 SP SDX | Burnout Running | Let's Go Jungle! Special | Hummer | Storm-G | Wild Jungle Brothers | Sonic Athletics | Sonic Brain Training | Transformers Human Alliance Special | Wild River The Treasure Hunt | Spicy Taxi | The House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn The Attraction

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)