How 3D Super Hang-on Uses Gyro Controls To Recreate The Arcade Experience

Originally posted 3/27/2013 on Impress Watch. Translated by SEGA. Siliconera is coordinating with SEGA to share these in-depth interviews about classic games like Space Harrier and Super Hang-On.

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Pictured: Naoki Horii, President, M2 (left), Yosuke Okunari, Producer, SEGA CS3 (right)


– Thanks for having me over again!


Yousuke Okunari (below, YO): We got a lot of positive response from our 3D Space Harrier interview article, so we figured we should give it another try. (laughs) But I wondered why that article [was so popular], so I wanted to ask you. For example, it seemed to have a very different reaction compared to, say, the article about Jet Set Radio, a game we just released last month. I’m thinking it’s thanks to Horii-san here showing up. (laughs)


I think there are several reasons, including the article being targeted at a different age group. Also, the fact that 3D Space Harrier isn’t just another port; it has full stereoscopic 3D, the moving cabinet mode and it reflects the freshness of what it was like to play the game when it was new. Something you often hear when it comes to retro ports is people saying “I used to be good at these, but I can’t play them anymore” or “It’s like being punched in the gut by reality”, but 3D Space Harrier nicely avoids these issues due to the ease of playing the game in 3D. As a player, it’s always a little embarrassing when you have to drop the difficulty or change the options around.


s00_EN YO: When we were making 3D Space Harrier, we talked a lot about what we should to make the game more accessible.

Actually, what I argued with M2 the most about with 3D Space Harrier was the way we were going to have HAYA OH appear as the hidden last boss. At first, he would show up as long as you got to the end of the game, no matter what. But there’s no surprise to that, so I proposed that we add unlock requirements for him. The disagreement was with my initial suggestion, to set it up so you had to get to the end of the game with only three continues. I said, “Since players can create save points, this won’t be that hard.” But M2 was really against it. “Then not everyone is going to be able to fight him,” they said.

Naoki Horii (below, NH): I mean, these days, there are a lot of people out there who just play for 3 minutes and then they’re done playing for the day.

YO: So M2 proposed that if they start from the last stage and clear it without dying, HAYO OH should unlock, but I thought the challenge factor was way too low. In the end, we wound up putting both unlock conditions in. Seeing the reaction post-launch, there are certainly people like me who wanted it to be a little harder, but the majority seem to have been able to unlock HAYA OH by clearing the last stage without dying, so I feel that it was an appropriate difficulty setting in the end.

NH: If this was years ago, I would have gone with the harder conditions. As a player myself, I would want others to start from the beginning, go in focused and play to the end, just like the old days. My thinking hasn’t changed there. However nowadays, with people playing in trains and such, depending on how they play, they may not even see the stuff we’ve gone through the trouble to create, and the last boss may be out of their reach. I really wanted people to see it.

YO: On release day, I sat there watching Twitter to see when people would find it. And about one or two hours later, someone tweeted something like “Ah!” Two people were going off about it, and we knew neither of them. After that, more and more people popped up, and there was murmuring about whether or not they should keep it to themselves, this atmosphere like “should we talk about it at this point?” People were voluntarily restraining themselves from spoiling it from others, sort of like how people behaved after the movie version of Evangelion came out.

NH: That sort of unity is really cool.

YO: Seeing that, I feel like we were blessed with a lot of really considerate fans. It seems like those folks are the ones that really liked the previous article. So although it’s not quite the 8 years we put in for making Space Harrier, I figured we could have a chat regarding the 4 years it took to bring 3D Super Hang-on into being.


From Virtual Console Arcade to SEGA AGES ONLINE, Making Hang-on without permission, and transforming Super Hang-on into 3D

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Left: The arcade version of Hang-on, released in 1985. The first bike race game in SEGA’s physical gaming lineup. Two versions existed, one where you leave the bike and one where you sit and use handlebars.

Right: Super Hang-on’s Mini Ride On type


s05 YO: This all starts with developing Space Harrier for the Virtual Console Arcade (VCA). Shortly after its release, M2 came to me one day and said, “We finished Hang-on!” which I hadn’t even asked them to work on. They told me that, since Space Harrier was playable with the nunchuk, “you can play this one with the nunchuk too!” They showed it to me out of nowhere when I was visiting their offices.

NH: We really wanted to keep working on VCA. We wanted to put out every SEGA game.

YO: Hang-on started a new era within SEGA machine architecture, as everything up until then was SYSTEM 1 or SYSTEM 2, which was 8-bit hardware. But this was the first title on 16-bit boards, which wound up influencing the subsequent SYSTEM 16 core. Hang-on was further modified to create Space Harrier’s “Harrier board”, which was subsequently slightly downgraded and generalized to create SYSTEM 16. Since M2 had ported Space Harrier’s arcade board, Hang-on was highly compatible.

NH: Relatively speaking, yeah.

YO: So one day I went to M2’s offices and there it was, Hang-on. At that point it was about half-done. If we were really going to put it out, there were a lot of things we’d need to change, like graphics we can’t use now, etc. Also, since Hang-on’s horizon line doesn’t move up and down, and the course only moves left and right, it’s actually rather a plain game if you just play it as-is. I didn’t feel like playing it with the nunchuk really captured the fun of playing the original. So since Hang-on by itself wasn’t really clicking, I thought that maybe if we released it in combination with Super Hang-on, we could add some historical context to create something I could get SEGA interested in. So that’s what we talked about.

s06_EN NH: That was the discussion, yes.

YO: In the end, there was a lot of back and forth, but we weren’t able to push Hang-on through the company. We did however get approval to move forward with Super Hang-on, and we released in on VCA. But releasing only on VCA wasn’t enough… so we wound up releasing it on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as well. And that’s how SEGA AGES ONLINE[1] was born, you see. If the Hang-on project had never happened, SEGA AGES may have never come into being.



Super Hang-on, released in 1987 (sit down version) inherited some of the courses from the previous title and had four courses in total. Like Outrun, you could choose the music before playing. The left grip had a super charger button, and your motorcycle could hit a max of 324 km/hr. Sit Down and Ride On types had different courses, except for Asia. There was a conversion kit for the Ride On type of Hang-on, but they were rare.

So that’s the background story.

YO: This is how Super Hang-on’s development moved forward. Shortly after the release of the Wii version, I went over to see M2 and they told me: “We made Super Hang-on in 3D!”

NH: Around that time, there was talk about Nintendo releasing a successor to the Nintendo DS, and it turned out to be the Nintendo 3DS, which displays 3D to the naked eye, a device we never thought would exist. I got so excited I went and got a pair of red/blue 3D glasses. (laughs) Much like Space Harrier, these games where you move forward into the game are perfectly suited for stereoscopic 3D. So we tried it out, and it worked pretty well.


So you just built in stereoscopic 3D compatibility without asking anybody? (laughs)


NH: At the time, we hadn’t gotten to grips with the 3DS yet, so we wanted to know what the 3D would look like.


Why Super Hang-on?


NH: Well, there’s the fact that in Super Hang-on, you move forward “into” the background, as well as the fact that’d we’d just worked on it for VCA. So it made sense. That and we thought how it looked in 3D display was awesome, which made other games less attractive… (laughs)

YO: Around that time, PS3 had just started to support stereoscopic 3D as well. We had no plans to include it, but when I gave it a shot, it was definitely fun.

NH: When you crash and the rider goes flying… that’s pretty out there.

YO: We started talking about how great 3D was, and I decided to move forward with including it in the project. As a result, we released not only the PS3 version but also the 360 version with 3D support.

NH: As long as 1st parties build protocols for us, any current gen console is capable of outputting 3D on televisions.


With gyro controls and the moving cabinet mode, at last we have a recreation of the real arcade machine experience.


YO: As all that was going on, I figured, “hey, since Super Hang-on is already in 3D, let’s go ahead and put it out on 3DS.” So the Wii VCA version eventually linked into this 3DS version, which wasn’t planned for at the outset. That’s how we got started on the 3DS version.

NH: There probably aren’t a ton of people out there buying every single port of Super Hang-on, but to those who do, we really appreciate it.


YO: We had decided that our first 3D release was going to be Space Harrier. Then, one day when M2 was working on 3D Space Harrier, this “Moving Cabinet” mode showed up. It was M2’s idea, and they thought it’d be pretty fun to include. Ultimately we feel that it was a feature in 3D Space Harrier that fans were really happy about.

NH: Without a doubt.

YO: So we started wondering what we should do for Super Hang-on. Naturally, M2 had included the Moving Cabinet mode for Super Hang-on as well. However, when I played it, I blurted out: “Where are the gyro controls though?!” Haha, pretty mean, right? Gyro controls were never in any plans for the game from the outset. (laughs)

NH: Yeah well… look… the thing with gyro controls is that the control is nice and all, but at the time it actually required a lot of extremely heavy processing. Putting them in meant we wouldn’t be able to maintain 60 frames per second. It was one of those rock and a hard place situations. After all, when we put the arcade mode into Space Harrier, we weren’t able to keep it at 60 fps then either, but we made some speed enhancements at the very end.

YO: I mean, when you think Super Hang-on, you remember playing on those arcade machines that you lean on, right? I said, “How can you not support gyro? That’s so un-M2 of you.” Apparently M2 had a whole struggle with gyro controls on their side, which I wasn’t aware of, and I just kept saying “I want gyro controls in.” And what do you know, a little while later… it was gyro-compatible. That’s a little bit of M2 miracle working. But honestly, just because the gyro controls got in, the game still wasn’t that fun.


What!? (laughs)


YO: I believe we’ve had a few games that support gyro controls, but there aren’t a lot of people out there who enjoy playing like that. And the reason is that it’s just easier to play on the slide pad or d-pad. That’s why, in order to make it a more satisfying experience, I asked M2 to link the Moving Cabinet mode and gyro controls up, so when you turn, the screen tilts in sync, you know? And once they did that, the game become so much more fun.

NH: I think the thing that makes it so engaging is the fact that objects on-screen react in tune with your own movements. I think.

YO: By including gyro controls with the moving arcade cabinet, I think Super Hang-on is the first time we’ve really reproduced the feeling of a player moving an arcade machine.

NH: Oh, for sure.

YO: People who played the games years ago probably know this, but SEGA’s arcade racing sims would be released in pairs, where one arcade machine moves on its own, and players move the other one. Examples of the former would be Space Harrier, Outrun, Afterburner, and examples of the latter are Hang-on, Enduro Racer, and Super Hang-on.

So I decided that if we were going to release something after Space Harrier, it should be a game where you move the machine with your body, so in that respect the release order makes sense. Syncing up the gyro and the screen creates an incredible simulation of moving the arcade machine. I’ve had a number of people play Super Hang-on, and while the person playing isn’t moving at all, to them it seems like they’re really moving around. For 3D Space Harrier, when you’re in arcade machine mode, you kind of sense that you’re tilting because the screen is tilting, but since 3D Super Hang-on has screen sync, you really feel as if you’re tilting. So yeah, I think we’ve reproduced that arcade experience.

Super Hang-on hadn’t been ported much up until we did the Wii version, so if you’re not the type who went to arcades a lot, you might get the impression that it’s a rather obscure game. Also, since the MegaDrive version was one of the first games to come out, it was a little on the plain side. The X68000 was able to use the Cyber Stick (an analog controller), and the port one after that was basically the Wii version. The Cyber Stick and Wii nunchuk kind of give that tilting feeling, but it’s not the same as the whole bike leaning back and forth.

NH: Like Okunari-san is saying, 3D Super Hang-on is the best there is in replicating that feeling of being on the arcade cabinet’s bike. But if you’ve been following us up to now, you have to realize that this is totally coincidental. (both laugh) We didn’t really aim for it to be this good, so we actually feel a little bitter at the result [because it was accidental rather than intentional]! If the whole gyro discussion was as easy as thinking everything out ahead of time and deciding how we were going to adjust each part of the game, building that into Moving Cabinet mode, and then saying “Here you go!”, we could feel like we accomplished what we set out to do. But it never turns out that easy… (laughs)

YO: By tossing the ball back and forth with M2 like this, I think we’re making some pretty interesting games. With SEGA AGES, we really managed to satisfy people with the quality of the ports themselves, but you know, it’s also about playing the game as it was when the original came out. I feel like the amount of people who appreciate the ports for their faithful reproduction of that original experience are on the decline, so the approach we have with the 3DS, of adding new ideas to the experience, is something I feel has a good resonance with our fans.

NH: You can take it with you, and pause whenever you want.

YO: Yup.


Let’s hear more about some of the detailed work that went into 3D Super Hang-on. I’m going to play it while you guys talk.


Six levels of difficulty. Sit Down and Mini Ride On types also have different difficulties. You can also adjust the time limit. Additional Difficulty settings also allow for Time Attack

YO: OK, well, one of the things that M2 really focuses on is difficulty. The original arcade version had four difficulty levels, but this one has six. The VCA version was a straight port, but while we were working on that, we had a problem where some of our testers weren’t able to clear the game. The game was too hard. In the end, we managed to solve the problem, but in the SEGA AGES[2] version, we thought we should add some difficulty options that weren’t in the arcade version. So we wound up adding more time to the clock when you pass through a checkpoint.

NH: That’s right. We boosted the time bonus.

YO: For 3D Super Hang-on, M2 also disabled the hitboxes for opponent vehicles.

NH: Some might say at that point, why not just remove the enemy vehicles altogether? But if you do that, the screen looks really empty. So we left them in to keep the game screen lively.

YO: These settings weren’t in the original game, and you could almost call it a Time Attack Mode. Since you can hit your corners at max speed, the game is easier to clear. For people who’ve played the game before, putting it into the easiest difficultly level and just having a pure battle with the course itself is also really fun.

NH: And if you run into an opponent, it’s OK. (laughs) They won’t slow you down.


So compared to the arcade version, you’ve basically added two difficulty settings lower than the original easy setting.

YO: That’s correct.

YO: We also added in the ability to configure your buttons. (laughs) This wasn’t included in 3D Space Harrier, but it was something we heard a lot of people ask for.


Custom configurable controls. Even more customization than 3D Space Harrier.

NH: Sorry about that. We figured that if we had rapid fire and all, no one would need a button config, but we got a lot of requests for it. We had a change of heart. (laughs) Sorry for underestimating everyone!

YO: M2 and I argued quite a bit on the button config defaults… Like, since you hit turbo with your thumb normally, I thought the Y button would be perfectly fine. I mean, strategically speaking, the Y button is the easiest to hit when you really need to push turbo rapidly. But it might be a bit tricky for people when they first pick it up if the accelerator isn’t on one of A/B/X/Y buttons, so currently the default is the R button. For those playing Time Attack hardcore, or people who play the game a lot, I would suggest adjusting the button config to find a setting that works best for you.


s09_EN  s16

Left: Choosing Sit Down Type will also change the screen frame.

Right: Four screen size settings and Moving Cabinet Mode, with four levels of tilt.

YO: The screen size is the same as 3D Space Harrier, but for this game, the default view frames the screen. This is simply because we want people to play using the gyro sensor. This is the first time the game has supported wide screen, and it’s something we put a ton of work into, but since gyro mode is so fun we had to choke back our tears and pull widescreen from the defaults. If you play using gyro with widescreen, it just doesn’t feel quite right, you know? You have to see the edges of the arcade cabinet when the screen tilts. That’s why we set the screen defaults to framed. You can also choose between the Sit Down or Mini Ride On[3] versions of the game, which will change the arcade cabinet graphics accordingly.

For the Moving Cabinet Mode, since you move the game yourself, we put three levels of “leaning” in the settings. When the game is in Moving Cabinet Mode, the gyro controls will be enabled. Note that once they’re turned on, the gyro settings will reset to their defaults. Also, per M2’s request, you can set it so the screen will lean in the opposite direction the control leans (normally, turning right will make the screen lean left, but you can make it so turning right leans the screen right). I don’t know if any of this is needed, but some people might like it that way.

NH: These are the kind of things that are just fun to include, you know?

YO: For the Sit Down type, since the original cabinet didn’t lean, we considered disabling the gyro controls, but… well that would be no fun, so for the Sit Down type, we made it move too. (laughs)

NH: The players can just turn off gyro controls if they want, you know?

YO: And this is digressing a bit, but when we were developing the Sit Down version for Wii, we went and looked at a real arcade kit. At the time, the only machine in the city or suburbs was one over at “Game Fuji” in Ichikawa. So we made the trek to take some pictures of it, and the photos we took are the ones we wound up using for 3D Super Hang-on’s Sit Down frame. (laughs) The cabinet might not even be there anymore, so we are really in those guys’ debt!

YO: In 3D Super Hang On, we made it so your lap times get recorded now. Oh and we added a stage select. So if you get a game over on any of the courses, you can restart from the nearest odd numbered stage. The reason why you restart from the odd stages is that the backgrounds change with every odd numbered stage, so the game itself is made as if each two-stage pair is a single course. We actually did try and see what it’d be like to start from the even stages, but some of the checkpoints would be right in the middle of a curve, so it didn’t give you a good start. Odd stages always start like normal.


s12_EN s14_EN

Lap times are recorded. You can also start on odd numbered stages, and save anywhere in-game

YO: We didn’t include any arcade cabinet sound effects[4] this time.

NH: Right because there wasn’t much to record.

YO: We talked about putting the banging sound from when you lean on the machine in, but that’d be it. So since it’d be kind of weak with just that sound, we cut it. Instead, you can play the background music as much as you want, and the equalizer screen’s buttons are much easier to use this time around! (laughs)


Sound setting screen. The equalizer has been improved over 3D Space Harrier.

NH: Everyone brings that up. Things that get thrown in at the end get put in rather hard to find places. That was the first thing we heard about.


(smiles) Yeah, when I was playing 3D Space Harrier after it was released, I had to kind of search for it. (laughs)


YO: In that sense, M2 is getting better at this. (laughs)

Oh, and on another unrelated note, when we first ported Super Hang-on, we had ROMs on file internally for both the Sit Down and Mini Ride On types, but the Mini Ride On type ROM still had copy protection on it. So when we were porting to the Wii, we had to use the Sit Down type ROM. However, the courses for the Sit Down and Mini Ride On types are different. And you know, back when Super Hang-on was in arcades, I think…

NH: … More people played the Mini Ride On type. Probably.

YO: So we decided that we needed to use the Mini Ride On type. For the Wii version, we were in a dead heat between M2 working to get the copy protection off, and hitting the schedule deadline. It was neck and neck for a while, and once we hit beta, we wound up swapping the ROM into the game. Our QA test team quickly came back to us and said: “Um, all the stages have changed.”


Well, that would be a bit of a surprise if you didn’t know. (laughs)


NH: Since that would basically mean starting testing all over from scratch, the test team were furious. We appreciate all the hard work they put in.

YO: That said, switching the ROM had the side effect of helping them clear the game (The Mini Ride On type is a little easier). However they found a bug about four days before we were going to master up[5]. If you ran over the curb for an extended period, the game’s music would cut out. Suddenly we had to figure out whether this was something that happened in the original version or if it was a bug in the port, meaning we had to do an urgent verification on actual hardware. At the time, there were two places in Tokyo where Mini Ride On cabinets were running: Club Sega in Akihabara, and Warehouse in Shinonome (which no longer exists), but they were both broken at the time. (laughs) So we didn’t have any choice but to ask a favor from the guys at the Akihabara store to take the machine they had, which was pulled to pieces in the arcade’s backyard, put it back together and do emergency repair procedures on the broken spots. Then, when we tried reproducing the bug, bam! It showed up! (laughs) Since it occrred on the original hardware, we left the bug in for the SEGA AGES version, but for 3D Super Hang-on, since this was supposed to be the final version, we fixed it just like we fixed the SFX bug in 3D Space Harrier.

NH: That we did. It had to do with sound requests. Once a sound started playing, it would keep going waiting for the next “key off”, or the other way around. It’s something that happens with a lot of SEGA games.


(laughs) OK! So what’s the “Special” feature for this title, then?


YO: Our special feature for this game is the “World Course”. It was a part of the “Trials” mode in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, but this time, if you race all four courses, the “Special” mode will unlock. This was an idea I had back when we were working on the SEGA AGES version, but something that’s always bothered me was the background music. You see, when you played the World Course [in the PS3/Xbox360 versions], you’d have to listen to the same song for something like 30 minutes. Even if you really liked that song, you tend to get tired of it. But this time, the music will change when the course changes. I brought the issue up with our director on the PS3/Xbox360 version, and he told me with the saddest look on his face, “If only you’d told me a bit sooner…” So right from the start of 3D Super Hang-on, I was like, “You remember that thing we talked about?”




YO: Now you choose which song you want from the very first Africa course, and the other three songs will change in order. By the time you get to the end, it’ll have played all four songs.

NH: Hope you enjoy it. (laughs)

YO: Oh, and for the PS3/Xbox 360 version’s World Course, we used the Sit Down Type courses, but this time you can choose between Sit Down and Mini Ride On types.

There’s also a World Course ending, which is something totally new that M2 made. Hopefully people will get a kick out of it. It’s based on the pre-existing graphics, but it’s the first new animated sequence for Super Hang-on in 25 years. (laughs)

NH: Actually we apparently only made one new graphic. We needed to add something. If you know the game, you’ll recognize it when you see it. Definitely check it out!


(laughs) I’m excited about the release now, as well as the credits!


YO: You know, as a game 3D Super Hang-on might be a little plain, but if you’ve played 3D Space Harrier, I think you’ll find a lot to enjoy. We’ve got the 3D from 3D Space Harrier, and the gyro controls. I want people to give the gyro controls a shot, so we put the gyro control option right there on the menu where it stands out the most.


You’re really pushing the Gyro! (laughs)


YO: I’m telling you, 3D Super Hang-on’s gyro control has a taste all of its own. A lot of the fans who played 3D Space Harrier said “I didn’t see the point of playing in 3D on the 3DS so I’ve been playing in 2D. But I turn the 3D on for 3D Space Harrier.” We felt really honored to hear that. For those who haven’t played with the gyro sensor on 3DS much, please check it out in 3D Super Hang-on. The difficulty of the game is up to the player, but comparing this version’s controls to those of earlier versions, including the nunchuk on the Wii VCA version, we firmly believe the 3D version has the best controls.




When I played it with the nunchuk, I found it really easy to maintain my course. You can do that on an analog stick [like in the PS3/Xbox360 version], but personally, I felt that tight spots were easier to manage on the nunchuk. I found it really useful when you go into a corner and hit turbo for a speed boost, or when you want to yank the handle slightly, or pull it and then hold your course.


YO: Yeah, the gyro controls make it even easier to hold that mid-lean state.


I noticed this when I played 3D Space Harrier too, but it’s really noticeable how easily the 3D allows you to see where things are positioned. The PS3/Xbox360 version of SEGA AGES ONLINE also supported 3D, but I think there probably weren’t as many people on those platforms who experienced it. The 3DS has 3D built in at the hardware level, so as long as you have one, anyone can check it out. Plus you’ve got the gyro controls for another, different experience.


NH: Yeah, exactly. You don’t have to add anything else.

YO: The biggest sales point for 3D Super Hang-on actually isn’t its 3D. It’s the gyro controls. It’s really Gyro Super Hang-on. The one unfortunate thing is that if you are going to use gyro, you should turn off the 3D. But that’s not something we can work around.


That’s something that’s tricky with naked-eye 3D, I guess. It moves you out of the sweet spot.


YO: Yeah. If you’re playing in 3D, I recommend turning off gyro and enjoying the game in widescreen mode.


You guys had to work hard to get 3D graphics working on 3D Space Harrier, but how about 3D Super Hang-on?


NH: Since we had stereoscopic 3D in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, it was just a matter of porting it to this version. And while we were initially concerned due to the fact that the arcade version of Super Hang-on had slightly different hardware compared to Space Harrier (the CPU clock was different, etc), we were able to get it running.

YO: I think we were able to get all the polish in since this is the same team that’s been doing these ports over and over. If this was their first port, there would have been no way to get all this content packed in within the timeframe we had. By linking the projects up and increasing their number, we were able to accomplish this level of quality. We’ve ported Super Hang-on to 4 different types of hardware at this point, and that’s what allowed us to add all these modes within the development time we had. If it was just a case of porting Super Hang-on to the 3DS as a one-shot, the best we could’ve done was get the game running and that’s it.


Even though Space Harrier and Super Hang-on themselves haven’t changed much over the years, your porting these titles from previous releases on more powerful systems and adding new features, so it seems like that would be hard considering processing power. But despite that, you’re able to port them due to the amount of experience you’ve accrued.


YO: At first, when M2 told me “it’s not going to work,” I thought to myself “What kind of nonsense is that?”

NH: Even now, we pull him aside and tell him, “It doesn’t work. Sorry…” (laughs)

YO: But if you wait a bit, they always come back and say “Ok, it’s running now.” See Horii-san? You can do anything if you put your mind to it. (laughs)


NH: It’s funny, you know. We’ve been at it like this for years now.

YO: Really though, I hate the tough love approach. (laughs)

NH: I think we’ll keep making these gradual advances in processing speed and data reduction. Even then it will be a slow improvement as we go along.


By building games like that, you build leverage for the next project. And sometimes there’s a big pay off by combining things in a smart way.


NH: Yes, there are times when it does bear fruit. On the other hand, there are a lot of games out there that never had their time in the spotlight, you know? Like, Thunder Blade, and… um… Thunder Blade… (laughs)

YO: If we’d just put gyro controls into Super Hang-on and that’s the end, you’d probably just think, “well, that’s cute I guess…” But since we’re carrying on with the ports while making new stuff like that cool Moving Cabinet mode from Space Harrier, we’re able to make a bigger impact by combining the Arcade Machine features with gyro controls.

NH: It makes me wonder what cabinets for Afterburner or Galaxy Force would be like.


How would you go about replicating that? Even if you give it the same description as the Arcade Machines for the other two games, the development approach and how it’d feel to play are completely different. Replicating that really requires building things one step at a time.


YO: If we were to port those, first we’d need the actual arcade machine. This time we had the photos on hand for the Sit Down type since we’d gotten them on a previous project, so it makes me want to document everything we can get our hands on, while we still can.


That would be a ton of work. You know, as I play this with the gyro controls, I really think you’ve done a great job replicating the feeling of the cabinet, the slight difficulty that the leaning cabinet created, and the feeling when you cut back and forth. When things got really tough, I remember putting my feet down on the floor and just tilting the arcade machine. (laughs)


YO: When we were doing 3D Space Harrier, we wondered just how many people would get on board with this crazy idea.

NH: I wondered at first who we were even building it for.


Certainly there were more than 1000 people that felt nostalgic for the moving cabinet and environmental sound effects. (laughs)


YO: The combination of those two was key. So I’m not going to say Super Hang-on is a simple game without it, but I hope people check this mode out.

NH: We’re running out of things to do now, so we want to hear from everyone next time their suggestions as what to try.


Does that mean an open call for ideas? (laughs) This remake series seems like it really has to balance both the technical difficulty of emulating the game screen and the hardware, and emulating the cabinet itself.


NH: It’s not just a matter of getting the game to run at a perfect 60 frames per second, it’s the part about reproducing the authentic ambiance of the original that’s hard… And since Space Harrier wound up working so well… Everyone’s really busting their ass here. (laughs)


(laughs) That’s because you raised the bar with 3D Space Harrier.


NH: Well, you could say that we’re burning both ends of the candle in order to knock everyone’s socks off. (laughs) To say we’re ‘looking for ideas’ might sound a bit weak, but please send us your feedback. (laughs)


If anyone has any ideas for M2, give M2 a shout! (laughs) (NOTE: As this article was original posted some time ago, M2 is not currently accepting game feature ideas)


YO: That said, I think we’re already moving a little bit ahead of what everyone expects. I think the series is coming along pretty well. I think with3D Super Hang-on, people probably could have guessed we would do ‘3D’ and ‘gyro controls’, , but I think the game has enough to excite the people who played the original arcade machines and make them say “Hey! Look how they did that!”


This series weaves together a lot of different technology, and I always admire how none of the work goes to waste.


YO: Yeah, it really doesn’t.

NH: You can build a mountain out of trash. Once it’s larger than Everest, it’ll be worth something! (laughs)

YO: I hope players get a new appreciation for the 3DS hardware.

NH: Personally I think it’s a really nice piece of hardware. Though developing for it is exhausting. (laughs) Still, for the players, it’s a really nice machine.


I’ve asked every time we do this, but what’s in the future for the 3D Remaster Project?


YO: 3D Space Harrier has done quite well for us, and I feel like it’s lowered the barriers to doing what we want to do next.

NH: Thank you very much.

YO: This series will keep going after 3D Super Hang-on. Since we had Space Harrier in development ahead of time for research purposes, we are expecting to pick up the pace after Super Hang-on. The next one is going to be a lot of fun as well, so sit tight!

Alright, well you’ve got me interested! Thanks so much!

©SEGA Copyright ©2013 Impress Watch Corporation, an Impress Group company. All rights reserved.

[1] Known as Sega Vintage Collection 3 outside Japan.

[2] Vintage Collection 3 overseas.

[3] Super Hang-on has two arcade cabinet formats in Japan: Sit Down type, a more standard kit with a chair and handlebars, or Mini Ride On type, which has a small motorcycle that you climb onto and tilt back and forth to control. The overseas arcade cabinet had slightly different configurations, but generally they were the same.

[4] 3D Space Harrier contains sound effects that mimic the sounds of the original arcade cabinet. See the 3D Space Harrier interview for details.

[5] “master up” refers to creation of the final version of the game for submission to 1st party manufacturers.


Thanks for reading the 3D Super Hang-on interview! If you’ve read this far you must be a fan of Sega’s classic arcade games. Siliconera is going to post codes to download 3D Super Hang-on from the Nintendo eShop (North America region).





Check back for more codes later on.

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