Looking Back at Sega
Sega recently announced the re-invention of Sonic The Hedgehog in the form Sonic Boom. This sparked images of the Sega of long past and the gaming history we've shared. The SEGA logo used to accompany great games and great consoles, not just the former. While some of my time spent with Sega hardware is rockier than others, we always managed to make some great memories thanks to some wonderful gaming experiences. Let's take a fond look back on some Sega classics.
SEGA MASTER SYSTEM
Release Date: 1986 Notable Games: Ghostbusters, Phantasy Star, Alex Kidd
My personal experience with Sega's Master System is a little limited. A neighbor was lucky enough to have one and a handful of games. One of those games was Alex Kidd in Miracle World. Alex Kidd was excellent and arguably boasted better visuals than its big competitor, Super Mario Bros. Time has obviously proved to be in Mario's favor but Alex Kidd and his rock solid platforming adventure has earned its moment in the spotlight. This game was the first introduction I had to Sega and what a great start it was.
Release Date: 1989 Notable Games: Comix Zone, Sonic The Hedgehog, Streets Of Rage
This is where my appreciation of Sega really started to blossom. Sega Genesis beat Super Nintendo to market by 2 years and came with aggressive marketing slogans such as "Genesis Does What Nintendon't". So, being the eager gamer I am (Thanks to the NES), Sega Genesis was my first 16-bit console and oh what good times we had.
Sonic The Hedgehog is often thought of as a launch title for the Genesis but it wasn't. Sonic wouldn't arrive for almost 2 years after launch, in 1991, to compete with Super Mario World. Space Harrier 2 was my first Genesis crush and will always be remembered fondly. Check out levels 1-5 of Space Harrier 2 in the video above.
SEGA GAME GEAR
Release Date: 1991 Notable Games: Shining Force, Ristar, Shinobi
The Sega Game Gear came out of the gate with one thing in mind. Steal some of Nintendo's gamers. And at first it did. Game Gear stole my heart briefly thanks to boasting better graphics with a full color screen. Ristar was the game of choice for me on Sega's handheld. But that fling with Game Gear didn't last as the Game Gear's battery life was horrible. It wasn't long before I crawled back to Nintendo for my portable gaming needs.
Release Date: 1992 Notable Games: Lunar (series), Sonic CD, Snatcher
Announced and launched as an add-on for the Genesis, the Sega CD promised bigger and better games thanks to the added memory of CD's. In reality the Sega CD library was filled with forgettable and sloppy Full Motion Video (FMV) games but there were a few stand-out, must play titles. Titles including Snatcher, from Hideo Kojima - creator of Metal Gear Solid and of course there was, Sonic CD, one of the best 2D games in the Sonic franchise. Sonic CD is so good that I have bought it numerous times over the years including most recently on Xbox Live. Sonic CD and I will never part.
Release Date: 1994 Notable Games: Virtua Racing, Star Wars Arcade, Doom
Sega was churning out machines quickly at this point and this is when their status in the console business - and some gamers hearts - started to slip. In the span of 4 years, we welcomed the Genesis, Sega CD, Game Gear and now the Sega 32X was vying for our attention. Another add-on for the Sega Genesis which meant a bump in power from 16-bit to (supposedly) 32-bit. Virtua Racing was one of my favorite games in the arcades when it arrived, so when a decent port hit the 32X I was in polygonal heaven. With hype building around the upcoming Playstation from Sony and of course the Sega Saturn. My relationship with the ultimately doomed 32X, was short.
Release Date: 1995 Notable Games: Panzer Dragoon, Guardian Heroes, Virtua Fighter 2
Sega Saturn arrived with much excitement but was ultimately overshadowed by the Sony Playstation which stormed onto the gaming scene with such infectious confidence that many of us gamers out there chose Playstation over Saturn when it came to moving onwards. Saturn fared so-so in Japan but was ignored for the most part in North America. That didn't mean there weren't any great games though. On the contrary, Sega Saturn had a few gems including Guardian Heroes (featured in above video) and easily one of my favorite fighting games of all-time, Virtua Fighter 2. I loved the Sega Saturn, solid original titles and cherished arcade ports.
Release Date: 1999 Notable Games: Sonic Adventure, Skies Of Arcadia, Shenmue
The final nail in Sega's console business also happened to be one of the most technologically advanced home consoles ever made. The Dreamcast was actually a great home console for its time and was the first to feature built in Ethernet ports for online multiplayer gaming as well as a second screen on the controller in the form of VMU's (Visual Memory Units). Dreamcast was the first home console capable of pumping out graphics that exceeded their arcade counterparts - Soul Calibur 2 is evidence of that. And it featured a fantastic line-up of exclusives including classics such as Sonic Adventure, Jet-Set Radio and one of the most celebrated games of all time, Shenmue. Dreamcast is one of my favorite consoles in all my years of gaming and I'd argue it's one of the best as well.
Sega has been a big part of my gaming history for over 25 years now. While I long for the day Sega re-enters the hardware business, I'm happy to have been there when Sega was in their prime. You know what they say, It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Happy Valentines Day, Sega
Have Your Say!
Are you a Sega fan? Which Sega games and consoles have stolen your time - and your hearts - over the years?