The Sega fan is/was such a different creature than the Nintendo fan. For the 1980’s/1990’s, you chose one side: Nintendo or Sega. I made like Switzerland, and actually enjoyed both. There was always something “edgy” about Sega. Their games had “attitude”, which was so popular in the 1990’s, and so different that what passes for those terms today.

The Sega Master System, though lacking the 3rd party support that Nintendo had (largely due to the near-monopoly The Big N had on the gaming industry back in the day), still produced some quirky and unique titles, one of the most standout being the original Phantasy Star, which blew away most 16-bit offerings. And who could forget Alex Kidd and Fantasy Zone? Sega also had a number of notable arcade titles, such as Space Harrier, Shinobi, Outrun, Altered Beast, Golden Axe….

But Sega didn’t really find their foothold until the Genesis. It was here where we saw sequels to most of those beloved titles, as well as introducing newcomers like Ecco the Dolphin, ToeJam & Earl, Streets of Rage, and of course, Sonic the Hedgehog.

32X and Sega CD struggled, as did the Saturn, but it still brought games like NiGHTS, Panzer Dragoon, and Virtua Fighter.

Following that was the Dreamcast, which died a much unwarranted death, as it was an absolutely brilliant system with games like Crazy Taxi, Space Channel 5, Seaman, Jet Grind Radio, Seaman, Phantasy Star Online, Shenmue, Samba de Amigo….

You get the point.

But the Dreamcast couldn’t survive against the initial hype that the Playstation 2 generated, leaving the system getting the plug pulled on it when it was becoming its most brilliant. Oh, how I mourn that system and what could have continued. E3 2000 for Sega was one of the biggest events I remember from any previous show, because it was a full on party at their booth. But the pairing of Nintendo and Sega, however “unholy” a concept was at the time (among Sony and Microsoft), the potential seemed interesting.

But Sega just started losing its identity. My thought is the merging with Sammy. It didn’t go well in the initial stages, and Sammy eventually got the upper hand. And with that particular coup, Sega seems to have forgotten who they were, or weren’t allowed to be themselves anymore.

And now, ten years later, so many gamers seem to have forgotten what Sega actually contributed to the gaming scene, with some claiming that they never even came close to the creativity of Nintendo. If anything, Sega was more than a competitor to Nintendo. They were a solid equal.

A quick run-through of their most notable titles and series:

Alex Kidd, Altered Beast, Wonder Boy, Hang On, Space Harrier, Zaxxon, Outrun, Shinobi, Fantasy Zone, Phantasy Star, Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Jet Grind Radio, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Cop, House of the Dead, Space Channel 5, Shenmue, Seaman, Crazy Taxi, Samba de Amigo, Afterburner, ToeJam & Earl, Panzer Dragoon, NiGHTS, Ecco the Dolphin, Vectorman, Sonic the Hedgehog, Comix Zone, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, the Shining series, and a handful of other titles that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

Look at the list. How many of these series are still active today?

The most “Sega” I’ve seen the company be in the last year is the Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing (which is a better title than Mario Kart Wii, in my opinion), the attempt at Sonic the Hedgehog 4, and bringing back “Classic Sonic” in Sonic Generations.

I’m not going to lie: Seeing this trailer made me realize how much I’ve missed “cute, chubby” Sonic, and I hope it’s more than a gimmick to mine nostalgia out of oldsters like me. I have to admit that I’m surprised it’s not coming to the Wii as well. Then again, I’m surprised that Mario and Sonic haven’t been paired for some platforming masterpiece, though apparently not for lack of trying.

Look, it they can merge Marvel Comics with Capcom, Disney Characters with Final Fantasy heroes, and Mortal Kombat fighters with the likes of Superman and Batman, they can merge the worlds of Mario and Sonic. One side is holding out and being stubborn.

It seems like Sega is remembering a little bit of itself better in the last year, but it’s only been mining Sonic nostalgia for the great majority of their “revivals”. There are about 20 franchises or stand-alone games that are well overdue for some sort of modernization or bringing out of retirement, and while I am all for new IP, multiple decade neglected IP are pretty much the same thing in introducing beloved characters back to a new generation of gamers.

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under: sega gamingsega genesissonic the hedgehog