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?
It’s the year 2049. Earth, as portrayed in BlueSky Software‘s Vectorman, has become completely uninhabitable by the human race. Having left their polluted planet behind, they’ve set off through the galaxy in hopes of finding a new home, while a crew of mechanical Orbots remains in their place to clean the Earth up.
Into this scenario (one which today seems oddly reminiscent of Pixar’s Wall-E) appears Vectorman; one such Orbot with an attitude and the courage to stop Warhead, an Orbot who went rogue and took control of the planet. The adventure that ensues is a fun one with great atmospherics, an addictive scoring system, and a bit of an edge. Vectorman was a great showcase of the Genesis’ capabilities back in its day, and even today remains a must play for those who want a stylish and futuristic sidescroller.
SEGA Genesis month continues with part one of a three part Streets of Rage series of My Life with SEGA episodes!
In this first part, we take a look at the game that started it all: Streets of Rage, also known as Bare Knuckle in Japan. Created as SEGA’s answer to Capcom’s Final Fight, Streets of Rage quickly overshadowed Capcom’s brawler, bringing us three fantastic titles that appeared on the Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, and on various compilation discs including the SEGA CD, Xbox 360, and PS3. Most recently, Streets of Rage appeared in the Nintendo 3DS 3D Classics series of games. But enough about modern ports, let’s look back at the cartridge that started it all (that’s your cue to press play on the video above).
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Ghostbusters for the SEGA Genesis is a game that holds a very special place in my heart. During Christmas 1991 I received my Model 1 SEGA Genesis with Sonic the Hedgehog bundled in, and from that point forward I was a SEGA fan. Owning a Genesis also meant that a whole world of games opened up to me, and since the console was a little over two years old, I spent much of 1992 buying up games I had missed out on. Buying games in the early ’90′s was tough. Nowadays we have instant access to the internet, so it’s easy to spot a game on the shelf, Google search reviews, and make the decision to purchase. Back in ’92 all I had to go by was the box art and the few screenshots provided on the back. Being a huge fan of both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters, it only made sense for me to seek out the Genesis titles those franchises provided, and boy did I strike gold.
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.
In mid-January we made the announcement that all year long we’d be celebrating five famous (and infamous) pieces of SEGA hardware hitting milestone anniversaries in what we dubbed 2014: The Year of the SEGA Console. While the 32X, Saturn, Dreamcast, and Pico are slated for month long celebrations later this year, all of March will be focused on SEGA’s 16-bit underdog the SEGA Genesis.
As an American who grew up in the late 80′s and early 90′s, the Genesis is a console that is near and dear to my heart. The Genesis was my introduction to the world of SEGA games, as well as the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. I know I’m not alone, as that period from 1989 to the mid ’90′s is filled with nostalgic memories for many SEGA fans of the era. As time went on, I became more savvy of SEGA’s impact on other territories, leading to the realization that the Genesis was actually the Mega Drive to everywhere else but America. Still, to me it was the Genesis, not the Mega Drive, that shaped my SEGA fandom and played a major part of defining my childhood.
To honor the Genesis, we plan to feature exciting content both here at SEGAbits and at the SEGAbits YouTube Channel. Expect to see another SEGAbits Franchise Week – this time dedicated to a certain bare knuckle brawler – as well as retro reviews, interviews, round tables, special edition podcasts, and a few surprises. So plug in your controller of choice, clean off those cartridges, and power on for SEGA GENESIS MONTH!
Learn more about the SEGA Genesis at our SEGA Retro wiki
Following the reveal of Sonic Boom, SEGA and Sonic fan communities exploded with discussion regarding the redesigns of the characters. Things like muscles, sports tape, scarves, tool belts, and blue arms became the subject of heated debates. Before the assurance from SEGA staff that the new game and TV show were a branch of the franchise and not a reboot, fans were both delighted and angered at the idea of Sonic undergoing another redesign after getting to know Modern Sonic for the past 7 years. Of course, fans of the franchise are not new to redesigns of SEGA’s mascot, so they can’t be blamed for assuming that Sonic was undergoing another permanent major change. While Sonic Boom Sonic and Modern Sonic “will continue to move forward in parallel” to each other, as stated by Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka, the new Westernized design of Sonic is here to stay – at least for the near future.
As we move forward into the Sonic Boom era, we thought it would be fitting to look back at five major moments in Sonic’s history of redesigns, from buttface to green eyes and beyond. “Buttface” is enough incentive to read on, right?
This is Saturn returns, with a look at Fighters Megamix, SEGA AM2′s crazy crossover fighter featuring characters from Virtua Fighter, Fighting Vipers, Sonic the Fighters, Rent-A-Hero, Virtua Cop, and even Daytona USA!
Being my first SEGA Saturn game, Fighters Megamix is a game that regardless of quality, means quite a bit to me. But does it manage to hit the heights of Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers themselves? Or is it a clumsy mash-up of two hits? The answer lies, in episode 2 of This is Saturn! Though really, it’s a SEGA AM2 game, so what do you think the game’s going to be?
As stated in the video, Gaming Hell played a huge role in the research for this video, and it’s a kick-arse site! You can also specifically find Gaming Hell’s Fighters Megamix page, including a full review and guide here. Give the site some love, because hell, it more than deserves it! A special thanks goes to Ant Cooke, owner of Gaming Hell, for clearing up several particular details as well, notably the After Burner cameo code.
This is Saturn is a video series created by British teenager Liam ‘TrackerTD’ Ashcroft, aiming to give an alternative and in-depth look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of SEGA Saturn gaming, all whilst maintaining a somewhat strong accent.
Hot on the heels of the reveal of the new Western television series and video game Sonic Boom, SEGA of America producer Stephen Frost sat down with Swingin’ Report Show hosts Barry and George, as well as David of Sonic Retro, to discuss all things speedy and blue. In this hour long discussion we delve into the genesis of the project, learn more of the team at Big Red Button Entertainment, and get a few hints at what we can expect to see in both the game and show. If Stephen’s enthusiasm is any gauge for what we can expect, we’re in for a real treat later this year!
Learn more about the new branch in the Sonic franchise at the official Sonic Boom website.
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Back in 1983, Sega released Congo Bongo in arcades as Sega’s isometric answer to Donkey Kong. The game had you playing a man on safari chasing a giant gorilla through several levels. However, due to the isometric nature of the game, it made it very challenging. The game was soon released on all popular gaming platforms of the early to mid 80′s so of course, a commercial was made to sell the game. The comedian you hear in the ad is the very famous Henny Youngman who made a career out of zippy one liners such as “Take my wife…please!” and is a much funnier comedian than what’s shown in this commercial. Continue reading for an example of his better stuff.