The Year of the SEGA Console – Welcome to SEGA Genesis 32X month!

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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. Throughout March, we celebrated the SEGA Genesis, and later this year we plan to devote months to the Saturn and Dreamcast, both very popular SEGA consoles. But this month will be a bit different, as we focus on the black sheep of the SEGA hardware family: The SEGA 32X.

Released late in the life of the SEGA Genesis on November 21st in the United States (December 3rd, 1994 in Japan and January 1995 in the UK) to serve as a bridge for Westerners awaiting the SEGA Saturn, the 32X was plagued by several negative issues. The design itself isn’t all that appealing, often compared to a mushroom growing out of the top of the SEGA Genesis or a plastic tumor. The 32X was rushed to market, so as to give enough time between the 32X launch and the eventual SEGA Saturn release, which caused a number of headaches for SEGA and consumers. Third-party support was lacking, and the library was a paltry forty titles with many games not fully utilizing the 32X’s power. In the end, the 32X sold only a little over half a million units and was officially killed off by SEGA in 1996. So… hooray, it’s 32X Month…

SEGA Channel Retro Highlight: Spider-Man VS. Kingpin for SEGA CD Playthrough

Before Batman: Arkham City, before The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Spider-Man was surrounded by his most threatening villains in New York that is set to explode in 24 hours in The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin for SEGA CD. I decided to play through the game live on SEGA Channel Retro on an unannounced stream and completed it and showed off two of the three endings. See Spider-Man fight foes such as crooks, rats and uh…bats for some reason while he hunts down the nuke that will wipe the Big Apple off the planet while he prove his innocence.

As usual you can check out the video on YouTube and Twitch, with the Twitch feed running at 60 frames per second. You can also check out the uncut livestream with some fumbled extra bits such as me briefly showing off The Adventures of Willy Beamish and the SEGA CD/32X version of the cult classic Night TrapBut I suck at the game and don’t get very far.

Also something about hedgehogs, dashing and androids.

The Amazing Spider-Man vs. Kingpin [YouTube] [Twitch]

Uncut Archived Stream [Twitch]

Read more on this game on Sega Retro!

Retro Review: After Burner Complete

afterburner32x copy

When After Burner blasted into arcades in 1987 it quickly became a smashing success, emerging as one of SEGA’s top franchises. Naturally, SEGA endeavored to port the game to every single piece of home gaming hardware under the sun. Famicom, Master System, Commodore 64, DOS, you name a gaming platform that was still relevant in the late 1980s, and chances are that platform got a port (or two) of After Burner.

Unfortunately, none of these systems were capable of doing After Burner’s explosive graphics and frenetic game play the justice they deserved, and so these ports fell short. It would take eight years for home consoles to catch up to SEGA’s arcade technology. Once they did SEGA wasted no time in finally bringing After Burner home in the form of After Burner Complete, an exclusive to SEGA’s brand new, ill-fated add-on, the 32X.

Swingin’ Report Show #62: Console Wars with Tom Kalinske – SEGA of America’s President (’90-’96)

This is it! Our third Console Wars focused episode of the Swingin’ Report Show in which we speak with the man himself, SEGA of America’s former President Tom Kalinske! Tom has an amazing history with the toy and game industry. Before his years with SEGA, Tom served as President and CEO of Mattel, reviving the Barbie brand and creating the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe line. During his time at SEGA, Tom reinvigorated the SEGA Genesis brand, helped in the creation of Sonic the Hedgehog, and led the launch of many famous pieces of SEGA hardware including the Game Gear, Pico, 32X, Nomad, and Saturn.

Tom Kalinske’s career is chronicled in the book “Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation” by Blake J. Harris, and if you haven’t purchased a copy yet, do so today. If you’ve read the book, are reading the book, are awaiting delivery of the book, or are simply a fan of SEGA during the 90’s, our latest show is a must listen!

Also, make sure to check out our other Console Wars interviews including our discussion of SEGA’s marketing efforts with SEGA’s former Director of Marketing Al Nilsen and our interview with the author of Console Wars, Blake J. Harris.

[Download] [RSS] [iTunes] [Archive]

2014: The Year of the SEGA Console – join us as we celebrate SEGA hardware all year long!

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Twenty-five years ago, the SEGA Genesis graced American shores, where it would come to dominate the console market for years and make SEGA a household name. Twenty years ago, the Saturn was released in Japan and went on to become SEGA’s biggest success in their home country, though success that would unfortunately not be repeated abroad. That same year, the SEGA Pico and 32X left some US gamers scratching their heads as they introduced weird concepts of what gaming hardware could be. Finally, fifteen years ago on 9.9.99, SEGA released their swan song, the Dreamcast.

We at SEGAbits love a good anniversary, and 2014 is full of them. Throughout 2014, we intend to honor these core pillars of SEGA’s hardware legacy with 2014: The Year of the SEGA Console. We’ll be devoting entire weeks to certain games, entire months to certain consoles, and we have several special guests planned for the SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show. We’ll write about the Genesis and how it introduced many of us to SEGA. We’ll look back at SEGA’s quirky art house console, the Saturn, and the many ups and downs the console experienced. We’ll remember the Dreamcast for the good times and unique and innovative experiences it delivered in the twilight years of SEGA’s time as a platform maker. We’ll give the 32x some overdue respect. Finally, we’ll all get SEGA Picos so that we can tell you about games like Tails and the Music Maker and The Great Counting Caper With the 3 Blind Mice!

Hope you’re looking forward to 2014 as much as we are, it’s gonna be a blast!

The SEGA Five: Cancelled SEGA 32X games that could have been great

Written by My Life with SEGA’s A.J. Rosa

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Much has been said about SEGA’s last console add-on. Jaremy Parish of 1UP.com stated in his article ’20 Years Ago, SEGA Gave Us the SEGA CD’ that the 32X “tainted just about everything it touched.” GamesRadar was far more damning with their Top-10 List of Worst Consoles, where the “product of boneheaded short-sightedness” placed ninth. Oh, that wasn’t harsh enough. They went on to call it “an embarrassing footnote in console history, as well as an object lesson in why console makers shouldn’t split their user base with pricey add-ons.”

Obviously, the 32X has left quite an impression. That’s nothing new though. Prior to it’s release, the 32X was met with some enthusiasm; most notably, I feel, in EGM2’s July ’94 issue. In their special feature “32X Brings the Arcade Home!”, they were impressed with its technical specifications and ever widening list of third-party support, such as Activision, Atlus, Capcom, Core Design, Crystal Dynamics, GameTek, Interplay, Konami, Time Warner Interactive, Vic Tokai, Virgin Interactive, Acclaim and Sunsoft….just to name a few. Kenji Hiraoka, former president of Konami of America, is quoted “We have seen the specs on 32X, and are thoroughly impressed by how powerful it is. We can make amazing games on this platform.”

Shame they didn’t, which brings us to…. My personal Top 5 List of Cancelled 32X Titles!

My Life with SEGA boldly plays Star Trek: TNG and Starfleet Academy

With Star Trek Into Darkness hitting theatres May 17, I felt like taking a walk down memory lane with Star Trek: The Next Generation – Echoes from the Past for SEGA Genesis, and Star Trek: Starfleet Academy – Starship Bridge Simulator for 32X….

Good God, why must these titles be so damn long?!

Anyway, these weren’t just games I picked up later as I started collecting hard-core. I grew up with ’em. Echoes from the Past was the first Star Trek game I ever played, while Starfleet Academy was one of many reasons I wanted the notorious mushroom of failure. It’s been almost 20 years since the docked on SEGA. Are these echoes from my past worth hearing, or has my enjoyment faded into a dim memory?

Let’s see what’s out there. Engage, fucker! Like this video? Subscribe to the SEGAbits YouTube channel!

SEGA Five: Why you should own a 32X

As November comes to a close, so does our 32X month. Our My Life With SEGA video series has featured the ill-fated add-on in weekly video reviews, and I thought it would be fitting to end 32X month with an extra special SEGA Five. I’ll admit it, I was a 32X hater until not too long ago. When the add-on released in 1994 I didn’t quite understand what it was. The Genesis already took cartridges, and CD’s thanks to an add-on, so why was yet another add-on being introduced? To be fair to myself, I was only 10 years old at the time, and before I completely understood what SEGA was trying to do with the 32X, the add-on was dead. A few years later I began to understand what the 32X was, and thought it was a complete joke.

A giant plastic mushroom that only offered up an additional 36 titles to Americans, and even then a bulk of the games were not worth owning? HA! Much later, the Angry Video Game Nerd tore the 32X to shreds and finished it off with an arrow. Again, I laughed. But soon, I became acquainted with sites like the SEGA Junkyard blogs (see our SEGA Network links in the right column to check those out) and in turn began to appreciate aspects of SEGA that I originally only thought negatively of or outright ignored. In October 2009, I finally gave in and bought a 32X used (with all cords, amazingly) off ebay for $30. It was one of the best SEGA purchases I ever made, and I’ll tell you why.

32X Month – My Life With SEGA scrapes his knuckles in Chaotix

32X month is coming to a close, so what better way to finish things than with the 32X’s most popular exclusive: Knuckles’ Chaotix!

Yes, it’s the 32X exclusive that left many gamers confused and somewhat disappointed. How could this be? After the the one-two punch of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, both of which were a tremendous success for Sega’s 16-bit juggernaut, I find it hard to believe this game met with such a lukewarm response….

Was it deserving? Let us a break out that ‘shroom one more time before we put 32X month to bed.

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32X Month – My Life With SEGA celebrates with Metal Head

Happy Thanksgiving and a happy belated birthday to SEGA’s 32X, which turned 18 yesterday. To celebrate, My Life With SEGA takes a look at Metal Head.

The ‘shroom is now a man. What say we celebrate by taking a long, hard look at Metal Head; the first-person mech shooter developed and published by Sega. Sure, it may not be anything Earth-shattering now, but – back in 1994 – it was a bit of a showpiece for this fresh-faced add-on….

18 years later, is it worthy of our cheers, or 18 great big slaps to the face? Let’s find out.

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32X Month – My Life With SEGA packs a punch in Cyber Brawl

While the modern SEGA gaming world is enthralled with Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, the retro SEGA gaming world is in the midst of 32X month. In celebration of the little add-on that couldn’t, we continue with a brand new episode of My Life With SEGA. This week, AJ and Mickey Mac play Cyber Brawl.

Mickey Mac joins the 32X celebration. This week, we’re playing Cyber Brawl, otherwise known as Cosmic Carnage in North America. Released alongside Doom, Virtua Racing and Star Wars Arcade, this was the first fighting game to grace the ‘shroom with it’s presence….

I guess the big question is, “How does it fare after 18 years?”

The answer lies within.

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32X month – My Life With SEGA kicks things off with a hardware review and T-Mek

Apologies for the day delay. Blame Hurricane Sandy, the Nintendo Wii U and Mitt Romney. In any case, here is your weekly dose of My Life With SEGA. This week, A.J. starts off 32X month by doing a very special hardware review, followed by a classic episode in which A.J. takes on T-Mek for the, you guessed it, 32X.

Oh yeah, ladies and germs; I’m reviewing the 32X. Not just a game, but the hardware itself. 18 years ago this month, Sega unleashed their 32-bit peripheral upon the American public. While it’s earnings were initially strong, it soon crashed harder than the Hindenburg….

How? Why? Well, here’s my take.

After the break: T-Mek!

My Life With SEGA: Halloween month continues with Quake on Saturn

A.J. continues with creepy games during the month of October as he checks out Quake on the SEGA Saturn.

Long before Master Chief, or even the Helghast Empire, there was Quake. You didn’t sit through numerous cutscenes, trying to dazzle you with diamonds only to baffle you with bullshit. With Quake, it dazzled us with atmosphere, bloodshed and firepower….

But how does it look and play with Sega’s 32-bit monster? Walk with me through the Slipgate and we’ll find out.

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