Hard Drivin ' is a driving arcade game that invites players to test drive a high-powered sports car on stunt and speed courses. The game featured one of the first 3D polygon driving environments via a simulator cabinet, rendered with a custom architecture. The force feedback, car physics simulator, game design and most game programming were done by Max Behensky. According to the in-game credit screen, Hard Drivin' was designed by two teams working concurrently in the United States and Ireland.
Development began in 1988. Atari also originally intended to release the game in 1988. However, according to one of Atari's Engineer and designer, it was delayed due to the dispute from its Vice President claiming that no one would buy an arcade cabinet for $10,000 after The Last Starfighter arcade game was canceled for the same reason a few years ago earlier. After weeks of research, it was decided that $10,000 was an acceptable price point.  
Hard Drivin ' was released in February 1989, when arcade driving games were largely implemented with scaled 2D sprites, such as Pole Position and OutRun, and when filled-polygon 3D graphics of any kind were rare in games. Hard Drivin ' is the second commercially released arcade racing game to use 3D polygons, after Winning Run.
In total, there are fifteen variations of the arcade unit. The eleven cockpit and four compact machines included various British, German and Japanese versions.
Hard Drivin' sold 3,318 video game arcade cabinets. The PC games Stunt Driver and Stunts were released after Hard Drivin ' and shared many elements with it.