Classic SEGA Ads: Are You 32X’n it?!

To answer the question posited by the article title: no. No. I may be playing 32X but I am certainly not “32X’n it” nor will I ever. Stop saying that, please.

So, this is an infomercial SEGA put together for the 32X, and boy-howdy is it a step down from that SEGA CD infomercial SEGA Europe put together a few years earlier. It’s like SEGA’s marketing team couldn’t come up with a single ongoing theme worth filling in five minutes, so they just took every random idea they threw against the wall, stitched them together and made an infomercial out of them.

This ad is all over the map in terms of tone, themes, music, and what have you. One moment we’re sitting in a living room filled with failed child actors, the next we’re sitting through a mercifully brief phone-line psychic segment. The commercial tries to be both edgy and quirky all at once, complete with SEGA’s trademark face-in-the-camera lens shots and it only succeeds in failing spectacularly. The only segment that made me chuckle in the way I was supposed to was the brief TSA safety video bragging about the 32X’s tech.

What’s easily this ad’s biggest transgression is its lack of actual game play footage. Oh, it’s there, but it passes by so quickly you can barely see anything most of the time. They spend more time pretending to play the game then they do actually showing off game play. One segment was literally just a bunch of kids sitting on a couch commenting on how great the 32X’s graphics are, but how much game play do we actually see? An incredibly brief shot of Star Wars Arcade…in the background. For Doom we get barely a second of in-game footage, while we get about ten seconds of some dude running around with a Genesis controller in front of the camera pretending to play Doom. This video has more footage of explosions then it does of games!

The more I see of 32X’s ads, the more I realize that 32X’s advertisement campaign was utterly atrocious. SEGA just didn’t know how to market the damn thing. Were the games just not ready to be shown? Was someone at SEGA embarrassed with how they looked? I have no idea, but I definitely know it wasn’t because SEGA lost its marketing touch. The second half of the video is devoted to Genesis games and boy is it a step up! These are some of my favorite SEGA commercials period, and they do a pretty good job demonstrating how awesome SEGA’s marketing often was in the 90’s. Don’t worry about their inclusion here, we’ll be highlighting these commercials individually one day. For now, just use them to recover from the 32X infomercial.

While digging around for better versions of this video, I did actually find a better 32X commercial…made by a fan. Even though the voice acting is off, in terms of pacing and script it pretty much blows the pants off of the infomercial, albeit that isn’t really saying much. Have a look if you want, but fair warning: this video does have bad language!


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