Now this one is unusual! Instead of loading a commercial with loud noises and attitude, SEGA took to lampooning “As Seen on TV” ads instead. Well what can I say? It’s hilarious! I have to admit, even though it’s through a mail in rebate, this is a surprisingly good deal. These days your lucky to get a pack in game with your system, let alone a rebate that gets you a recently released triple A game completely free.
Given that Sonic 2 was one of the best-selling Genesis games of all time released in the middle of the Genesis’s most successful years on the market, I can’t help but wonder why SEGA would offer a deal like this. With consoles like Wii U and Vita struggling, maybe it’s time Nintendo and Sony took a leaf out of the Genesis playbook and offered a deal like this?
People don’t often think of the Genesis as a polygon pusher…mostly because it wasn’t. That didn’t stop some developers from trying to turn it into one though! Enter Hard Drivin’, a port of Atari’s 1988 3D polygon racing game. Ported to the Genesis in 1991, this game was one of the earliest examples of 3D graphics on a home console and given the limitations of the hardware, is surprisingly not a complete and utter disaster. That is not to say the game is good, though. Far from it in fact.
Back in the 1990s SEGA made some of the most unsettling video game commercials I have ever seen. Oddly enough, this commercial makes the case that many parents groups have been making against video games for years: they corrupt our youth and rot their brains! Apparently SEGA felt that this would make a great marketing ploy!
But what really gets me about this ad is just how fast and insane everything is. This commercial embodies SEGA’s 1990s marketing messaging. There is nothing clean or neat about it. It’s obnoxious, loud, ugly, and barely shows any game play. Yet, it still makes me want to play a Genesis. Is it giving any of you the same 16 bit cravings?
In the early 90s SEGA was in a pretty good place. They had finally managed to break through Nintendo’s monopoly over the market, Sonic was a hit and the Genesis was on top. Even so, the Genesis’s position was still precarious. By 1992 the Genesis was four years old and its age was beginning to show. The SNES was beginning to really show off its superior graphics and sound capabilities and the incredible Mode 7 effect on display in Mario Kart was out of the Genesis’s reach (at least, until the release of Pier Solar twenty years later).
So how does SEGA respond? With awesome marketing of course! Marketing that brags about the one thing that the Genesis can do better than the Super Nintendo: speed. What makes this ad even more spectacular is how it takes Mario Kart, the SNES’s most impressive looking game at the time, and compares it to a broken down jalopy. That takes some serious balls.
Blast processing may have been bullshit, but you can’t deny the sheer effectiveness of this ad. Especially since the Genesis continued to dominate the industry in the West after 1992.
The internet has made much ado about Chuck Norris as the manliest man who has ever lived, but that’s only because they are too afraid to admit that Segata Sanshiro will one day beat them all up for not diligently playing their SEGA Saturns.
Segata Sanshiro is the definition of an unstoppable force, the embodiment of an unmovable object, but even he is susceptible to love, as this Sakura Taisen 2 commercial shows. That said, it takes a true to be willing to gleefully play in a pile of Sakura pedals with his beloved. Do not be comforted by this ad though, non-Saturn owners. After Sakura Taisen Week is over, he will come for you all…with a vengeance.
Sakura Taisen has had an interesting history in the West. Though the first four games that make up the core of the franchise were never localized, the series’ anime and manga adaptions were. As a result, Sakura Taisen was able to establish a cult following in the West, one strong enough to spawn continued interest in the franchise from both fans and corporations years later.
Thanks to the efforts of these companies and fans, there are now several ways for western audiences to get a taste of the franchise. Though they are not all complete and they are not all convenient, these are the five ways you can experience the biggest SEGA franchise to never officially make it West.
This is the Westerner’s guide to Sakura Wars.
(Special Note: the information from this list is derived from Kori Maru’s extensive knowledge of the franchise. He was gracious enough to help us out with the research for this article)
As some of you may remember, we’ve covered Sakura Taisen on Tuesday Tunes before, featuring music from both the game itself and its stage show incarnations. As a musical theatre buff myself, I am extremely jealous of Japanese fans for the dozens of Sakura Taisen related stage shows they’ve had over the years. After all, the closest thing us westerners have gotten to a proper SEGA related stage show is that awful Sonic musical from Australia.
A Sakura Taisen stage show is rather fitting though, given that the game itself stars performers who actively sing and dance on stage. The above video is from the 2003 Shichifukujin show, which features all the voice actors from the Sakura Taisen video games and anime reprising their roles on stage. From what I’ve seen of the show it looks pretty cool, and the performers themselves are definitely talented.
The song “Kimi Yo Hana Yo” was originally composed by Kouhei Tanaka for the end credits of Sakura Wars 4. The stage version features all of the games voice actors reprising their roles as members of Flower Division, including Akio Suyama as Captain Ichirou Oogami and Chisa Yokoyama as titular character Sakura Shinguji.
Check below the fold for the version of the song featured in the game!
Watching Master System commercials from places like the UK and Australia sometimes feels like watching something from an alternate dimension, one where the NES didn’t obliterate its competition and establish an unbreakable monopoly on the 8-bit gaming market. That’s because despite the NES’s utter dominance of the US and Japanese gaming markets, Nintendo failed to establish much of a foothold in Europe or Brazil, where SEGA dominated. Thus, we have ads like this, that act like the Master System was on top of the world. Mostly because it was…in Australia anyway.
The ad itself is pretty typical for its time, lacking the flare and attitude that would eventually become characteristic of SEGA’s marketing in the nineties. It does give us a nice window into the Australia’s 1980s games market. The After Burner music in the second half is a nice touch, too.
Update: After the break, another image of Sonic and the gang as they’ll appear in Sonic Boom the Game, which you can learn more about in this news post.
Update 2: Check out the TV show trailer for Sonic Boom after the break!
It’s been a long time coming, but the new Sonic Boom designs for Sonic and his friends have finally been revealed! At the moment we only have photos of Sonic and Knuckles, but according to Sonic Stadium Tails now has a tool belt.
Sonic Boom is also going to be much larger in scope then initially thought, as it will be more than just a television show. It will also be a toy line from Tomy and a new video game, which will be released on both console and mobile platforms.
Whether or not this is a permanent and franchise wide redesign of the character or something restricted to everything Sonic Boom related is currently unknown, but this is easily the most drastic official redesign of any sort that the franchise has seen to date.
We’ll keep you updated with more news as it happens.
I’d like to introduce all of you SEGAbits’ latest feature: SEGA Saturday Morning Ads. This feature will take a look back at SEGA’s advertisements, their admen and their context in SEGA’s history. Today, we take a look at one of the most intense infomercials I’ve ever seen: SEGA Europe’s Mega Drive/Mega CD infomercial from 1993, released via VHS in the UK just as the MEGA CD was finally making its way across the Atlantic.
I first saw this infomercial back in 2002 when I was researching the SEGA CD and considering a purchase. The moment I downloaded and watched this commercial…I knew I had to have a SEGA CD. It just looked so awesome! I had no idea what the hell Make My Video was or how the hell it was a game, but I just wanted to play it immediately!
Of course, most of the SEGA CD games in this commercial ranged from barely mediocre to utter trash, but the fact that it got this reaction from me in 2002 should speak volumes of this infomercial’s sheer quality, from its sound, to its script, to its cinematography. Making someone lust for ten year old hardware and terrible FMV games? That is a quality piece of advertisement my friend. Unfortunately good ads aren’t always enough, and in the case of the SEGA CD, they weren’t enough to get more then 60,000 UK consumers to buy the peripheral at its £269.99 price tag.
Sit back, turn up your speakers and play this ad on full screen. Just be forewarned: you will want a SEGA CD after this.