SEGA Memories: The Day the HD Stood Strong

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Imagine growing up with a family who got you your first video game system, even though they have little to no knowledge of what video games are. That may sound like most of you, but for those that didn’t have that lovely experience, nine times out of ten you hoped that you got the one game system you wanted to get or you relied on friends to have the ones you didn’t have. And somehow, unfortunately, my neighborhood was all Nintendo territory.

Let’s fast forward to early 2012; I started to branch out in my gaming endeavors. I got an Xbox 360 a year before and third-party titles started to become my new favorite (I went crazy over all of the Suda51 games). Then one fateful spring morning, it was announced that three classic Sega titles were coming to the 360 and PS3 later on in the year. And while I already spoiled myself silly over the Gamecube port of Sonic Adventure 2, the other two games were ones that I was most excited about than any other game of that year: NiGHTS into Dreams and Jet Set Radio. Since there were no Sonic games coming out that year, SEGA gave us three remastered HD titles to melt over. And while some have already played these gems, this was an exciting and memorable moment for me in a time when people thought the world was going to end.

SEGA Memories: Looking back on Fleetway’s Sonic the Comic

s5Remember when Knuckles used to ride a pterodactyl? Remember that time Eggman was called “Kintobor”? And who could forget how Super Sonic was Sonic’s evil split personality? What’s that? You don’t remember? Well then, you’ve probably never seen Fleetway’s unique spin on the Sonic universe before.

Whether you’ve read it or not, most people are at least a little familiar with Archie’s long running comic series based on the blue blur. However, as a poor little English boy, I grew up with quite a different set of comics in my youth. In this installment of SEGA Memories, I look back on this unique moment in Sonic history.

SEGA Memories: Playing Jet Set Radio Future for three days straight in 2002!

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2016 is a big year for milestone SEGA anniversaries, and while the Jet Set Radio franchise didn’t make our mega list (which you can check out right here), I’d be remiss as a Jet Set Radio fan if I didn’t tip my hat to the sequel Jet Set Radio Future which turns 14 today in North America. As an all-encompassing SEGA fan, I don’t really pledge allegiance to one franchise. Everything from Space Channel 5 to Guardian Heroes to Valkyria Chronicles pull at my SEGA fan heartstrings. But one franchise that gets to me more than any other is Jet Set Radio. Playing the first game on the Dreamcast was more than your typical “yay, a new game” experience. Jet Set Radio introduced me to a crazy new world where bright colors, catchy music and offbeat street culture melded together into a game that I couldn’t stop playing. It wasn’t so much the gameplay the grabbed me, as it was the world of Tokyo-to. Popping the game into my Dreamcast was another free trip to explore my favorite video game world.

So you can imagine my excitement when Jet Set Radio Future was announced, featuring a much larger world and even better graphics. The only catch? It was on a console I had never intended to buy at the time, Microsoft’s Xbox.

SEGA Memories: Owing a debt to the SEGA Dreamcast

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With Dreamcast month currently underway, I thought I’d share my launch memories with all of you. It’s a little different from the launch discussion we’ll be talking about in our next round table, because I already had an import Dreamcast for a little while. This is more about helping a small business out by giving them a bigger launch while helping big business sell out it’s stock. Well…that and paying off some debt.

SEGA Memories: 2003’s strange case of Beta-7

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2003 was a strange time for SEGA fans. It was the first year following the Dreamcast’s discontinuation with no new games released, new SEGA titles began to release on rival consoles, and a shocking conspiracy unfolded behind the doors of SEGA of America and Visual Concepts. In March, 2003, SEGA and Visual Concepts began beta testing NFL 2k4 – which later was released as ESPN NFL Football. In an effort to fine tune the game, a couple dozen gamers were assembled at an office park in Winter Park, Florida with the promise of trying out an exciting new product. Each gamer present, now given the role of video game beta tester, were given code names: Beta-1, Beta-2, Beta-3, etc. Each beta tester was paired with another tester, and the pairs were tasked with testing various modes and features. One innovative feature which SEGA was keep to promote was the game’s “crash-cam”, a mode which allowed players to experience the game in a first person perspective complete with a simulated on-screen helmet. The privilege of testing this mode fell on the pair of Beta-7 and Beta-8, with Beta-7 being the first to try it out. At first, everything was normal for Beta-7. The new mode was described by him as “SICK” and “awesome”, everything was going great… until he blacked out.

SEGA Memories: Fred Durst pimps the Dreamcast

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In an act of sheer epic randomness, one of my buds recently reminded me of one of SEGA’s most unlikely of past sponsors. It was back during the Dreamcast era, as many of their publicity stunts were. SEGA was trying hard to get their online service, SegaNet, to gain traction. To do so, they enlisted the help of none other than a certain popular band… one who had just made it ridiculously big with a song called Nookie.

Yes, I’m talking about Limp Bizkit. Believe it or not, they’re actually still around today, but there was a time when they were at the top of the music industry, and that time coincided with the final months of the Dreamcast.

With their album, Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water, set to release in October of 2000, Limp Bizkit was preparing to embark on a major tour. SEGA, seeing their golden opportunity, chose to serve as one of the tour’s sponsors. It might seem ridiculous now, but at the time this was actually a huge snag for them, as Limp Bizkit and their form of rap metal was on the edge of releasing what would become the fastest-selling rock album on record; an honor that it, amazingly, still holds to this day.

For more, including a quote from SEGA from back then, read on.

SEGA Memories: Space Channel 5 premieres in Universal City Walk’s Cinema Plaza

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Back in the Dreamcast era, SEGA would have big promotional events for their titles. Yes, even niche stuff like Space Channel 5, which most publishers wouldn’t spend too much advertising dollars on. SEGA on the other hand had a huge E3 booth for the game, but after when the game was nearing its ‘debut’ they decided to premiere the game to the public, like it was a Hollywood picture. How would they do that? Premiere the game at an event over at Universal City Walk’s Cinema Plaza!

SEGA Memories: A look back at Toys ‘R’ Us’ 1996 holiday video game catalog

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Its almost that time of season where most kids are waiting to tell their parents what modern day war shooter they want under their Christmas tree. Its also the time where older folks, like ourselves on the site, think about our previous holidays and how we used to make our parents waste hoards of cash to buy our affection. Wasn’t that great? Well this week on Monday Memories we will look at the 1996 holiday Toy ‘R’ Us video game catalog. I remember these where awesome as a kid, it was like window shopping for games in my underwear.

SEGA Memories: Dave’s Sega Saturn Page

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Obviously SEGAbits isn’t the first and won’t be the last website dedicated to the big blue. Throughout the life of the internet, there have been thousands upon thousands of SEGA related websites and out of all those websites there are few webpages that we would visit regularly. Dave’s Sega Saturn Page was one of those sites I always kept bookmarked along with others that we will most likely cover here on Monday Memories.

SEGA Memories: My First E3

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There is nothing quite like your first E3. Before I first went to E3 back in 2010, the event seemed like this wondrous and mythical place, like Narnia. A place that you read about and see pictures of, but never a place you actually go to. In 2010, thanks in part to some incredibly good luck, spurred on by a personal loss that made me decide to go out and see the world, I stepped through the wardrobe and raced off to something I had been dreaming about going to since middle school, but never in a million years thought I would be able to actually see.

It all started just a few weeks before the event. I had just lost someone dear to me and I was anxious to find something to do with myself. That’s when Sharky contacted me and told me that SEGA was interested in inviting SEGAbits to E3, but no one on the site would be able to attend. SEGAbits had caught my interest a few months after its debut, but I had decided not to apply for because I knew I wouldn’t be able to write for it regularly. After hearing  that they might be getting an invite to E3, I jumped at the chance and offered myself up as a part time writer and as someone who could cover E3 for them. I quickly wrote up a review of House of the Dead: Overkill, and kept my fingers crossed that it would pan out. Unfortunately, it didn’t. SEGA had sent out the industry passes to other people, and I resigned myself to being a faraway spectator of E3 again. No big deal, this was how these things normally worked out anyway.

SEGA Memories: Wacky Worlds

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These days, gamers can be quite adamant about the legitimacy of video games as an art form. I certainly wouldn’t disagree: a case can be made that making great video games requires just as much creativity as any book or movie. But I think what often gets lost in this pursuit to prove that the video game is a form of artistic expression is the fact that video games are also, essentially, toys. Especially games from the 80s and 90s, and Wacky Worlds was one of my favorite toys from the 90s.