Samba de Amigo may have mastered the art of making sunshine, but OutRun is undeniably its blue skies ancestor. Outrun

Obligatory music paragraph now: the music in OutRun ranks as some of the greatest tunes ever composed for a game. That’s all I’ll say, because later in this countdown is a game that improves on perfection.

I usually find the talk of music overshadows OutRun’s importance as an out-and-out racing game. Taking the driving genre off the circuit and onto the roads of America was a brave decision that could easily have backfired – look at any one of the Cruisin’ games for proof – but the variety of routes and scenery keep it fresh each time, and the pure bliss of drifting around a corner will never, ever die.

There’s no more optimistic game in the top 50 than OutRun, and for a driving game to epitomise any kind of emotion really is a triumph. It’s been a long time since I’ve played a racing game as concerned with giving the player such intense joy, and although these days its primary colours and worrying gender stereotypes might seem a little dated, it’s what’s under the bonnet that counts, and OutRun is blessed with what other driving games lack: a heart.

Bright, bold and brave, OutRun is the quintessential Sega experience, and the rumours of OutRun 3 are enough to send any Sega fan into cardiac arrest. A PS3-powered Ferrari may not be far away.