SEGA BANDAI Ltd – Revisited

Ever fantasize about an alternate world where something that could have happened, but never happened, but if it had happened, would have made the world a different place today?

You know the butterfly effect or the FireFly Effect? Well SEGA fans should have quite a few alternate reality fantasies, and one of those events might have been the Sega Bandai Merger:

The year was 1997. And Sega, the Dreamcast still a twinkle in Segata Sanshiro’s eye, was in a bullish mood. While its rivals were focusing their efforts on winning the video game war, Sega was looking beyond.

It didn’t have Nintendo or Sony in its sights. It had the Walt Disney Company.

Sega wanted to take the humble video game company and turn it into an international multimedia powerhouse. Movies, TV shows, comics, toys, the works, you name it, Sega wanted in on the action.

To achieve this, though, the company couldn’t go it alone. It didn’t have the money, the properties or the know-how. So it had to team up with somebody else. And that somebody, it was decided, would be Bandai.

Read the Entire Article at Kotaku.

GameArts Founder Passes Away

Last Friday was a sad day for Japanese role-playing game fans. G-mode CEO Takeshi Miyaji, who was also well known for starting up game development company Game Arts, passed away on the July 29. Miyaji was 45 years old.

You may be wondering why this was posted on a SEGA website, but if you go through the developer’s Gameography, you’d find that a majority of their games have found homes on SEGA consoles. Grandia 2 is still one of the best reasons for owning a Dreamcast (it was ported to the PS2, post-Dreamcast days but was inferior to the DC version).

The loss of Miyagi San is a loss for the game industry and fans like us who grew up on true Blue games.  Miyaji San started Game Arts back in 1985 alongside his brother Yoichi Miyaji, who is the current CEO of the company. Game Arts is well known in the gaming community for creating games like Silpheed (Sega CD), and Gun Griffon (Sega Saturn), as well as the Lunar and Grandia series. A few staff members of Game Arts also helped develop Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii.

Rest in Peace Takeshi Miyaji, our hearts go out to his family and friends.

Sonic Generations demo impressions

Happy Birthday, Sonic. I think it is fair to say that many of us can thank the blue hedgehog for who we are today (in a sense). I know that part of the reason I work on this site has something to do with the blue blur’s influence on my early life, and when I look at how many comments we get on Sonic articles compared to most other Sega games it’s evident that there is still a lot of passion for the character 20 years on.

My first Sonic game was Sonic the Hedgehog, the original Sonic game. I got it as a pack in with my Sega Mega Drive and I was hooked right from the start. For me, it took what Mario was doing and made it faster and gave it some attitude; it was like a roller coaster and I’ve stuck with the character through the years. Whilst Sonic went through a really rough patch where even I stopped playing his games, I’m happy to report that I absolutely loved Sonic Colours and as I type this, I’m playing the Sonic Generations timed demo which, despite a few hiccups, I’m enjoying quite a bit.

Sonic Generations demo impressions after the jump:

E3: Rise of Nightmares Hands On (Plus, a celebrity appearance!)

I finally got my hands on (well technically, my hands were not on anything) with Rise of Nightmares. The game’s brought to you by the same team behind the House of the Dead series and it shows. This is by far the most violent and gruesome Kinect title ever released: Kinectimals it is not. It starts off with your character waking up and watching as a mad scientist has another victim tied to a chair. He chops off the man’s hand just for the hell of it and then stabs him in the head. Before he can get to you, his nagging wife calls on the phone and he leaves you with a nurse zombie in your care. Just before this nurse checks your pulse with her teeth, another ally comes out and slices her in two. A gruesome way to start a game, but after he frees you it’s time to go find your wife and slaughter some zombies.

Sonic Boom: Impressions from the Sonic fan event

In the midst of the E3 craziness going on right now in downtown Los Angeles, SEGA chose to honor Sonic’s 20th anniversary and upcoming Sonic Generations game by throwing a free-to-attend-but-hard-to-get-into party for the fans in Club Nokia, just up the street from the famous Electronic Entertainment Expo. The party was probably both, at the same time, one of the coolest and corniest things SEGA’s ever done, but looking back at Sonic’s legacy, that sort of makes sense. Critics may bash the series’ recent installments (some of it well-deserved, don’t get me wrong) for various reasons, but when you have a group of fans in a packed party wearing Sonic hats and begging for an encore presentation after Crush 40’s (earnest as ever) performance, I think that pretty much speaks for itself.

Captain America: Super Soldier hands on (Xbox 360)

I’m weary about being a little too positive regarding games I play at E3. The splendor of it all and having the developer standing right next to you can really help skew the experience, especially for an E3 noob like myself. Even taking this into account, I do believe I can at least say this about Captain America: it doesn’t suck. In fact, I would go so far as to say it’s a lot of fun. How fun the final product will be I cannot say, but my experience here was definitely a positive one.

E3: Shinobi 3DS hands on

I love Shinobi 3: Return of the Ninja Master. In my opinion it was easily one of the best games SEGA ever made for the Genesis. Needless to say, when I heard the series was finally getting a new game, I was ecstatic…and a little worried. After all, after the series hit its high point with Shinobi 3, it’s been subjected to some less than stellar games through the likes of Shinobi Legions and Shinobi PS2. I am happy to report that this game isn’t like those games; unlike them, Shinobi 3DS does indeed have a bunch of things in common with the Genesis games, including a few very obvious throwbacks.

Saturn Month: Sega’s Big E3 Saturn Surprise Debacle

The year was 1995. The Saturn had already successfully launched in Japan, and was preparing for an American launch later in the year. Sega of America was eager to bring the system to the states despite the fact that the 32x had been launched during the previous holiday season. With the mediocre sales of the Sega CD and the failure of the 32X, Sega was starting to do poorly, and they wanted another hit console on the market soon. Perhaps a little too soon.

Happy Birthday SEGA Saturn: Announcing Saturn Month!

16 years ago today, SEGA of America President Tom Kalinske took to the stage at E3 and announced that the SEGA Saturn was now available in select retailers across the United States. Though this would later be seen as one of the greatest marketing blunders in SEGA’s history, it nevertheless marked the debut of one of the greatest consoles ever made. In commemoration of this momentous birthing of this epically underappreciated game console, we at SEGAbits are committing not a day, not a week, but a full month for all things SEGA Saturn! You can expect to see plenty of reviews, articles, and a dedicated episode of the SEGAbits podcast all about the Saturn from here until E3 on June 7th.

Those of you who don’t know much about the Saturn, or think there was a big load of nothing between the Genesis and the Dreamcast, should learn something this month. The SEGA Saturn is a veritable treasure trove of SEGA hits that have yet to see the light of day on other systems due to the Saturn’s difficult to emulate architecture, and the general obscurity of its library. Sure, we’ve all heard of NiGHTS and Panzer Dragoon, and Guardian Heroes has recently risen from obscurity to be remade as an Xbox Live Arcade release. But have you ever heard of Blazing Heroes? Ever heard of Astal? Did you know the SEGA Saturn had two Die Hard games, one which was a piece of crap and one which kicked ass? Have any of you guys even seen Dragon Force?

While Nintendo spent the 32 bit generation giving its 16 bit hits the 64 bit upgrade, and Sony spent it producing games that would go on to define its Playstation brand for more than a decade to come, SEGA went through a creative renaissance, almost completely ditching the franchises that made the Genesis a hit in favor of all new franchises that, regrettably, no one would buy. Even Sonic took a backseat to NiGHTS, which became and still remains one of the best reasons to own a Saturn.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy this month long ride through SEGA’s forgotten generation.

Yakuza Week: Who’s the boss now?

During this generation, I’ve seen a disturbing lack of boss fights, or at least, good boss fights. Thankfully, one of the most enjoyable aspects of any Yakuza game for me has become the boss battles. Yakuza is home to some of the most memorable boss fights in any recent SEGA title and the fourth mainline entry into the series isn’t any different. As with such articles, spoilers for the game follow, so if you happen not to have completed Yakuza 4 yet and do not wish to be spoiled, walk away now, for everyone else, please continue reading to find out my personal five!

Yakuza Week: Favorite Yakuza 4 tunes

In celebration of…I guess we’re calling it Yakuza Week, (rad) I figured it would be appropriate to dedicate some time to the music of the recently-released Yakuza 4. Their soundtracks have been one area that this series has always excelled in, and Yakuza 4 is certainly no exception. The adrenaline-pumping and guitar-heavy soundtrack returns, of course, as do the power balads, and let’s not forget those crazy Japanese karaoke songs. Here are some of the songs I found to be memorable in Yakuza 4, and I encourage you to post/discuss yours in the comments section below!

Sonic fans on Wii: Please Quit Yer Cryin’!

Some folks are never happy.

As with everyone else this week, I was ecstatic to see the new Sonic Generations gameplay trailer. While discussing it over several different forums, I noticed the same topic coming up. “Why isn’t it on Wii?!” “That’s not fair, the Wii should get an anniversary game too!” And my favorite, “LOL typical Sega. screwing over Wii fans”. This line of discussion really ticked me off. Mainly because if you’re a Sonic fan who only owns a Wii, you’ve never had it so good!