Classic SEGA Ads: Identify your dead console at the morgue in this SEGA 32X commercial

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Last week’s SEGA Saturday Morning Ads was pretty harsh on the 32X’s misleading commercial, but this week I have nothing but love for this featured 32X commercial. sh

The ad begins with a teenager, a cop, and a mortician in a morgue pulling a slab out of refrigeration. A droll narrator says “For those who purchased something other than a SEGA Genesis…”. On the slab sits a mystery video game console under a sheet, however the identity of the console is vague. It resembles a Nintendo 64, but given the N64 didn’t release until 1996 (assuming this ad aired in ’94 or ’95), it’s more likely a shot at the SNES or simply a no name console that is meant to be any Nintendo or Sony product. The shocked teenager identifies the mystery console as his as the narrator concludes “…our sincere condolences.” Didn’t buy a SEGA console? Sucks to be you.

Classic SEGA Ads: SEGA 32X – “Just stick it in your Genesis!”

Throughout the 90s, SEGA were the kings of video game slogans. “Welcome to the Next Level”, “Genesis Does What Nintendon’t”, “A little bit too real”, “It’s Thinking”. These are slogans us fans still use proudly to this day. Unfortunately for the 32X, “Just stick it in your Genesis!” did more harm than good. Today’s ad features the return of our edgy friend from SEGA’s SEGA CD commercial in which he famously interrupted a teenager watching television to aggressively ask him why he didn’t own a SEGA CD. The SEGA CD ad was loud, in your face, and incredibly memorable for all the right reasons. The 32X follow-up? Not so much.

Classic SEGA Ads: So you want to live in a comic book?

SEGA of America’s nineties advertisement strategy can be summarized thusly: come up with the most batshit insane thing you can and run with it. Anyone looking for proof need look no further than this…thing they produced to sell Comix Zone. I kind of get what they were going for, since old comic books often have over-the-top, melodramatic dialogue and bizarre storylines, but this is more like a crazy depiction of some weird cult than anything to do with super hero comics. Unless there was a weird cult in Comix Zone, since I’ve never been able to get much further than the second level.

Looking back though, does that really matter? I don’t think so! This is a fun, quirky little ad that encapsulate SEGA’s attitude more so then the game it’s advertising. It wouldn’t have sold me on Comix Zone back in the day, but it certainly makes me miss what video game advertisement used to be like. I’ll take this over a slick trailer filled with review scores any day.

As a little bonus, I thought I’d also include a print advertisement for Comix Zone, seen in comics and magazines. It’s a little blander, sure, but it also gets to the heart of what the game is a bit more. Check it out after the break!

Classic SEGA Ads: SEGA challenges you with After Burner for the Master System!


 
Wake up and check out this crazy SEGA commercial from 1988, advertising After Burner for the SEGA Master System. As most video game ads from the era tend to do, a young boy is transported from his living room to being behind the controls of an F-14 Tomcat. After flashing a thumbs up to the camera, the boy blasts off into the pixelated blue skies, taking on enemy fighters. However instead of looking outside the windows, he is playing After Burner inside the fighter jet (cue the “yo dawg i heard you like” meme). The announcer excitedly tells players that they can execute battle rolls, nose dives, supersonic speed (5 years before Sonic the Hedgehog!), and radar lock-on. The boy then, in his best impression of an action star delivering a death blow quip, says “your turn to burn!”. The ad ends with a tagline rarely reapeated nowadays, but it sure is fantastic: “SEGA: The Challenge Will Always Be There.” – emphasis on “Aaalways”, thanks to the narrator.

Overall, this is amazing ad! Fun effects work, lots of gameplay footage and music despite the real world setting of the boy in the fighter jet, and that ending tagline is just so damn strong. I think “The Challenge Will Always Be There.” deserves a comeback, don’t you?

After the break, see how SEGA of Japan advertised After Burner for the SEGA Mark III!

Classic SEGA Ads: Let your imagination run wild with Tiger’s After Burner!

In an era where most home gaming consoles were couldn’t produce anything more than simple 8-bit sprites, video game companies did have to occasionally get a little…creative with their marketing. This goes double for Tiger, whose LCD games were about as immersive as…well I don’t think there is anything less immersive then a Tiger LCD game. So naturally, Tiger encouraged the kids of the eighties to imagine their own arcade experience! After all, who needs stereo surround sound, fluid super scaling graphics and a full motion cabinet when you have the power of you mind?! This kid certainly doesn’t. He even brought his own flight helmet!

To be fair though, throwing a kid into a jet fighter was a pretty common way to market the game. SEGA took it a step further with their Master System commercial. This kid didn’t just imagine flying through some hazy clouds, he imagined a whole damn plane! The kid from Suburban Commando, which we highlighted earlier this week, even took it a step further by completely changing the setting of the game, complete with some new enemies.

If there’s anything I miss about games from the 8 and 16 bit era, it’s how vague their stories and characters were. Sure, I love having deep, interesting characters and engaging stories in my games, but an unfortunate side effect of this is that we can’t let our imaginations run wild about the nature of the game’s world and characters anymore. Oh well, I guess we’ll always have the imaginary jets of our childhoods at least, right?

 

Classic SEGA Ads: The Godzilla VMU proves that size doesn’t matter

In celebration of Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, we’re bringing you four Godzilla SEGA ads!

1998 was a terrible year for Godzilla, but an excellent year for SEGA fans. While the big G’s legacy was shat upon by director Roland Emmerich, SEGA fans in Japan were enjoying the 128-bit Dreamcast. Despite the awfulness that was 1998’s Godzilla, something good did come of it by way of a Godzilla branded VMU featuring a little Godzilla that puts Sonic Adventure‘s Chao to shame. Today’s first featured SEGA advert depicts a young Japanese boy who is hooked on SEGA’s virtual Godzilla VMU game. The boy, who is likely playing the game so intensely in an effort to forget having seen Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla, bumps into a cute Japanese woman who is also playing the game and the two partake in some VMU connectivity. If only it were that easy to meet chicks.

The second commercial seen in the video above, kicks off with some good ol’ classic Godzilla footage of Mothra and is promoting standard VMU’s that were pre-loaded with Godzilla content and bundled with small Godzilla character figures. The third commercial, clocking in at 15 seconds, features an all out VMU subway battle of Godzilla proportions! Again, the VMU Godzilla figure bundles are being promoted, but this time the giant flying turtle Gamera – friend of all children – gets a shout out.

After the break, check out our fourth Godzilla SEGA advert in which Godzilla Generations puts a damper on an otherwise happy day in Japan.

Classic SEGA Ads: Streets of Rage 2 earns you respect!

Something tells me that commercials like this didn’t really help SEGA’s case when they were called before the US Senate to explain why they didn’t think video games caused kids to become more violent back in 1993. Though personally, I like to think that young Bobby Angles won respect by simply inviting his peers over for some Streets of Rage 2.

Classic SEGA Ads: It slices, it dices, and it fits in your tacklebox!

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?

Classic SEGA Ads: Genesis drives once innocent teenager to madness

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?

Classic SEGA Ads: Only the Genesis Has Blast Processing!


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.

Classic SEGA Ads: “Take my Congo Bongo…..please!”

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.

Classic SEGA Ads: Segata Sanshiro is in love

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.

Classic SEGA Ads: Did you know SEGA Master System is the best thing ever?

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.

Classic SEGA Ads: Yes, every SEGA CD can change into a woman

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.