The SEGA Five: SEGA Games That Would Thrive in Virtual Reality

SEGAVRWhile not every single gamer is sold on Virtual Reality just yet, mostly due to the fact that it is rather expensive to even get a headset and compatible computer, the people that have experienced it all think its the future of gaming. While this is still open to debate, what I do know is that Virtual Reality has opened the door for older types of genres that SEGA pioneered in their long history to thrive. So today on The SEGA Five we will be discussing five genres that SEGA can revive with the help of Virtual Reality.

Before we get started I just want to say that these ideas are to make the games Virtual Reality compatible and not exclusive. I think this would mean that more gamers will be able to enjoy the games, VR headset or not.  The number of gamers with Virtual Reality headsets is too low to spend money on exclusives right now. So let’s get to it.

The History of Sega Japan R&D, Part 1: The Origins and the 80s

THE ORIGINS

Sega is an interesting company when it comes to their origins. There are companies like Namco, Taito and Konami that started in the 60s with electromechanical games and there are those like Capcom and Square that started in the 80s with video games. Sega is different.

Sega had its roots even earlier with slots and jukeboxes in the 1940s in Hawaii, when they were known as Standard Games. Today, Sega of Japan would rather say that Sega didn’t start until it was moved to Tokyo and renamed to Service Games in 1951. However all that expertise in manufacturing slots and jukeboxes during the Standard Games days really gave Sega the boost they needed when they entered the market to manufacture their very first “Amusement Machine” in 1965, Periscope, which the company still prides itself for as it was their first worldwide commerical success.

SEGA Retrospective: After Burner II – From SEGA arcade classic to SEGA 3D Classics

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After Burner is just one of those franchises by SEGA that took American arcade goers by storm due to the sheer speed of the game, the eye catching cabinet, and its highly detailed (for the time) graphics. I truly believe that After Burner is just one of those arcade games that don’t get enough credit by gamers today, so jump into your F-14 Tomcat and blast through our After Burner retrospective. You never know, you might learn something!

Developer Retrospective: We celebrate the legacy of SEGA AM2

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SEGA AM2 is just one of those developers that always puts a smile on my face whenever I talk about their games. Not only do they have one of the most vast libraries, but they also revolutionized gaming in general multiple times over the past decades. Let’s look at the developer that popularized sprite-scaling in the 80s, gave us modern 3D with their Virtua series and created one of the most expensive games ever as we walk through their legacy.

Don’t forget to join us all month long while we talk more about SEGA AM2 and all their legendary franchises.

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!

Retro Review: Sky Target (SEGA Saturn)

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In the mid-nineties the rise of 3D gaming left many of SEGA’s older franchises behind. While most were either abandoned or received largely forgotten two dimensional entries, some were completely reinvented for the third dimension. Though it doesn’t bear the After Burner name, Sky Target was in fact the first 3D entry in SEGA’s After Burner franchise. Released in 1995, the arcade version of Sky Target never achieved its predecessor’s success, failing to even leave Japan. Western gamers wouldn’t get to play Sky Target until SEGA ported the game to the Saturn in 1997, where it would be quickly forgotten.

At first glance, After Burner looks like the perfect candidate for a transition to the third dimension. After all, the game is already trying to simulate 3D play. In reality, Sky Target’s design decisions actually perfectly illustrate why so many SEGA franchises struggled (or failed) to make the 3D jump to begin with. Sky Target would introduce many drastic changes to the After Burner formula, many of which would find their way into 2006’s After Burner Climax. Do these design decisions work, though? Does Sky Target live up to the reputation built by its predecessor?

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?

 

Weekly Five: Five After Burner Cameos

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Like any beloved SEGA franchise, After Burner has had its share of cameos. Unfortunately, unlike Fantasy Zone and Sonic the Hedgehog, these cameos have been few, so we did have to stretch things just a little bit to fill out this weekly five. As they say though, quality matters over quantity, so even though After Burner’s cameos have been few, they’ve often been quite great. So grab a snack, sit down and enjoy as we look through After Burner’s five best only cameos.

Retro Review: After Burner Complete

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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.

SEGA in the Media: After Burner, Hulk Hogan, Aliens, and the Nostalgia Critic

It may be hard to believe nowadays, but there was a time when After Burner was once a pretty big deal. It helped the Master System find success in Europe and Australia, it was advertised on television and it even received a cameo in one of the highest grossing films of the nineties, Terminator 2! We’re not going to talk about that though, because you’ve probably already seen it. Instead, we’re going to focus on another science fiction movie released the same year as T2 that practically nobody saw: Suburban Commando.  We’ll also mention a certain popular reviewer of nostalgia who took a look at it back in 2009, and later took a look at one of After Burner’s commercials in a separate video a few years later. The video above features both clips. Take a look, then join me for more after the break!

SEGA Tunes: After Burner’s Final Take-Off from Gunstar Super Heroes

After Burner’s soundtrack ranks among the most iconic in the games industry. We’ve already featured two versions of After Burner’s main theme on a Tuesday Tunes a few years ago, so today we’ll be showcasing something a little more obscure: an unused track from Gunstar Super Heroes. Released for the Game Boy Advance in 2005, GSH was originally supposed to include numerous tracks referencing classic SEGA titles, including Altered Beast, Galaxy Force and of course After Burner. Unfortunately, all of these tracks were cut at the last moment, but some hackers managed to pull them out of the ROM and slap them onto the internet.

If the Gunstar Super Heroes rendition of Final Take-Off isn’t your cup of tea, I’ve also included the original version of the track from the SEGAAGES Album. Check it out after the break!

After Burner Week Article Compilation

We at SEGAbits love us some After Burner, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that we’ve written about the franchise a few times before. Before we kick off our week of features, we’d like to point you towards the previous After Burner features we’ve written. Also, be sure to check out the video above to see AJ Rosa’s quick take on After Burner Complete for the 32x!

Reviews:

After Burner Climax Arcade Review

After Burner Climax Console Review

Tuesday Tunes:

Project DIVA blazes through the blue skies singing the After Burner theme

After Burner Theme, the Bayonetta Remix

 

SEGA Retrospective: Get Ready For After Burner Week, Fire!

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SEGA made a name for itself in the eighties thanks in no small part to the incredible talents of Yu Suzuki and his team at AM2. Though the company saw numerous successes throughout the decade ranging from Zaxxon to Fantasy Zone to Altered Beast, it was AM2’s innovative tetralogy of super scaler powered games that would make SEGA a big name in the arcades. From 1985 to 1987 SEGA released a crescendo of innovative mega-hits, including Hang-On, Space Harrier and OutRun, culminating with the release of After Burner.

Much like the rest of its brethren, After Burner was a resounding success, spawning numerous updates and spiritual successors. This week, we’ll be giving you a taste of what After Burner has to offer. First, we’d like to present an overview of the franchise for the uninitiated.

SEGA Tunes: Project DIVA blazes through the blue skies singing the After Burner theme


 
Hatsune Miku and friends have sung many songs throughout their history, but none are more exciting than the SEGA inspired tunes that are featured in the franchise’s games. The 2010 arcade game Project DIVA Arcade featured the MEIKO Vocaloid voice (a voice provided by the Japanese female singer Meiko Haigō) singing lyrics over the theme to After Burner – a SEGA arcade classic. The video above features Hatsune Miku, despite the MEIKO voice. But can you blame us? It’s Miku! But in fairness to Vocaloids everywhere, we’re featuring MEIKO after the break. Happy listening!