Editorial: Celebrating ten years of me (Barry) blogging about SEGA

I’m a sucker for anniversaries, and so I couldn’t pass up making a post talking about my personal ten year milestone of blogging about SEGA. Back in 2008 I was recently graduated from college and landed my first cushy job. Working a 9 to 5 in front of a computer, I did what everybody else does and browsed the internet between projects. I had recently returned to SEGA fandom, buying up PS2 games I had missed during my college years, saving up for an Xbox 360 and searching for SEGA news sites to keep me up to date on what was going on with the company and its fans.

WO J OnLZZo Uvt

Editorial: Why you should buy Panzer Dragoon Orta for your Xbox One

The Xbox One is in an interesting place in the current games generation. Lacking the exceptional first party support and third party exclusives of the PlayStation 4, the Nintendo Switch, or even the long-passed Wii U, the Xbox One carves its niche out as a competent home media center and place to play your workhorse multi-platform games. Many players have noted however, that this is not a niche that needs filling. The PlayStation 4 provides your home media wants as strongly as the One, with attractive exclusive features and games besides, as well as a generous “get free games when you subscribe to our online multiplayer” scheme, something the One mirrors with its Games with Gold feature. But there is a niche the One fills that its contemporaries skip out entirely on: backwards compatibility. Today we talk about that, an amazing hidden gem from the original Xbox, and how awesome that game is.

Rfpiam eaVUB j Zc

Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th anniversary comes to an end as the blue blur turns 26

Sonic-art-print_Uekawa

Happy Birthday, Sonic – now give us our presents! Today marks Sonic the Hedgehog’s 26th anniversary, which officially signals the end of Sonic’s 25th. While the past year has been light on games, the biggest moments for the franchise has been a change in focus in several areas. Sonic Boom has seen a massive downgrade. Originally a multimedia alternate branch from the main Sonic franchise, featuring games, toys, comics, an animated show and a big fan event in New York in 2014; now only the animated series remains. As of this moment, no season 3 is confirmed and less than twenty season 2 episodes have yet to be aired. Could Sonic Boom be on the way out? Funnily enough, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice was the only Sonic game to release during the 25th anniversary timeframe, making it technically the 25th anniversary game. A Japan only special edition with 25th anniversary swag supports this.

Opinion: What the Nintendo Switch means for SEGA

NX_Partners-1200x794

Nintendo unveiled their latest home console, the Nintendo Switch. Codenamed the Nintendo NX, the Switch was long rumored to be both a home console and a handheld system, and following the debut video the end product appears to be right on with leaks and predictions. Obviously SEGAbits is not a Nintendo site, so we don’t news the debut of new hardware from other companies. But since SEGA is a third-party software developer and they have been confirmed to be supporting the Switch I thought an op-ed was in order. Based on SEGA’s past with Nintendo hardware, what can we expect from the company? How could SEGA’s recent internal changes affect how they approach the Switch?

Opinion: So about Project Dream and their Dreamcast 2 plans – calm down, it’s not official or sane

Dreamcast2

Update: So after a bit of internet sleuthing and comments from those who have dealt with SEGA home console conspiracy artists in the past, all of this very well may be the work of the infamous Zach Morris. Mr. Morris, or whatever his name is, has been up to this sort of nonsense since 2003.

Because people often just read headlines and run to their local GameStop to have a in-depth chat with the guy at the desk to talk about how SEGA is totally making a new console and it is going to be dubbed the Dreamcast 2, I thought I’d present a short opinion piece on the Project Dream team and their plans to get SEGA to develop a Dreamcast 2. To be quite honest, after having read the Project Dream team’s plans and having heard about the project with one of their members for the past month I was ready to just ignore the whole thing. But given a few news sites are enthusiastically running the story and no doubt more will pick it up and run with it, I thought it best that SEGAbits said something about it. I should make note that this is not a news piece, it is an opinion piece.

Opinion: Hucast and the Business of Dreamcast

hucast

When speaking of the SEGA Dreamcast “nostalgia” is a word that is often mentioned, and it wouldn’t be an incorrect description of many gamers’ feelings towards the system. Countless articles and blog posts have been written about the prominence of the Dreamcast and how it died too soon. From that love of the little white box, an incredible scene of independent developers and publishers has continued the dream over the past decade with a steady stream of new games and multiplatform releases.

What today’s Japanese RPGs can learn from SEGA’s Skies of Arcadia

segabitsskies of arcadia ship

If there’s one type of game that has struggled to find its footing in the modern era, it’s been the Japanese RPG. Looking at a console generation that has seen a major RPG from the creator of Final Fantasy struggle to achieve a Western release, and one where the once-mighty RPG giant Square-Enix has become more known for Tomb Raider than for their RPG output, it’s without a doubt been an interesting ride for the genre.

In recent years it’s been the games that have deviated most from the typical format, such as the Persona series and Dark Souls, that have garnered the most mainstream appeal outside of your usual Final Fantasy releases. As the seventh console generation wound to a close, however, we’ve also seen the smallest signs of a shift back. With more traditional Japanese RPGs like the 3DS’ Bravely Default being warmly received worldwide, it’s shown that developers can look to the past to find inspiration for the future.

And if they look back at Skies of Arcadia, there’s plenty they can learn from the Dreamcast’s biggest traditional RPG.

kP EkU MQk br kAzC X LsM

Editorial: Gaming sites who failed at reporting last Friday’s news.

Last Friday we learned the sad news that SEGA West was restructuring, downsizing and canceling certain games. I think we’ve all discussed the news enough, what I wanted to focus on in this editorial are the gaming sites who did an awful job of reporting the news. For whatever reason, unpaid fans who write for blogs do a better job reading press releases and reporting on them than big name sites like Kotaku. I also wanted to draw attention to a general gaming blog, toplessrobot.com, who did an equally awful job in reporting on the news.

What’s Wrong with Binary Domain’s Box Art?

Since the reveal of Binary Domain’s box art, I’ve been thinking about just what is it that makes it so… ineffective. I hesitate to use the word “bad”, as artistry clearly went into producing the cover. However, I think the reason for the cover’s failing is that not a lot of thought went into it. Sure they threw a lot into the scene, but perhaps they threw in too much? I’ve been working in the graphic design industry for five years now, so I thought I’d put some of my professional experience to practice and pick apart Binary Domain’s cover art problems, and perhaps find a better solution. Is it worth the time picking apart the game’s cover? Of course it is! As a new IP, the only thing the game has going for it is SEGA’s name when it comes to appearing on a shelf. First impressions are key for a new franchise, and sadly Binary Domain is not making a good first impression.

xHTXMeI

Sonic Generations Original Stage Review

With less than a week to go ’til Sonic Generations, I thought it would be fun to take a leap back and run through the original stages featured in Generations. What made the original stages so memorable? Are they a fitting choice for representation of the game they originally appeared in? Were there better choices that could have been made? Those questions and more will be explored after the break!

Editorial: Great DC games that most people hated

Today celebrates the North American launch of the Sega Dreamcast. Hard to believe that it really has been 12 years, but it was on September 9th, 1999 when SEGA’s final console had its North American release, and the gaming landscape arguably hasn’t been the same since.

There are of course many ways that I can, as a writer for a SEGA-driven website, choose to honor the system. In the end, though, I’ve decided to shed some light on Dreamcast games that don’t often make any lists, that aren’t looked back fondly upon, that will likley divide up even people who read this editorial. But these are games that were not met with warm reception, even back in the day, but that I loved anyway. Someone’s gotta remember them, right?

Sonic Boom: Impressions from the Sonic fan event

In the midst of the E3 craziness going on right now in downtown Los Angeles, SEGA chose to honor Sonic’s 20th anniversary and upcoming Sonic Generations game by throwing a free-to-attend-but-hard-to-get-into party for the fans in Club Nokia, just up the street from the famous Electronic Entertainment Expo. The party was probably both, at the same time, one of the coolest and corniest things SEGA’s ever done, but looking back at Sonic’s legacy, that sort of makes sense. Critics may bash the series’ recent installments (some of it well-deserved, don’t get me wrong) for various reasons, but when you have a group of fans in a packed party wearing Sonic hats and begging for an encore presentation after Crush 40’s (earnest as ever) performance, I think that pretty much speaks for itself.

Why SEGA should stick with PlatinumGames

The closure of Clover Studio several years back was a sad day for the gaming industry, not only because they had just developed a multiple Game of the Year award winner (the beautiful Okami) but also because it was such a shame to see the developer of some of Capcom’s most interesting and innovative content getting the axe. It was a dose of reality: a reminder that originality and innovation doesn’t always pay off (and SEGA knows that probably better than anybody) in an industry that’s rapidly becoming more and more hit-driven and sequel-based.

The good news came shortly after, when it was revealed that the heads of Clover Studios had no intention of folding back inside Capcom. Instead, key developers Atsushi Inaba, Hideki Kamiya, and co. formed what would eventually become PlatinumGames, taking many former Clover Studios developers with them. In a move of pure brilliance, SEGA picked up the partnership, what turned out to be an incredible fit.