35: The Rise & Fall of SEGA


The skies are bluer today than ever before as Big Red Potion presents its tribute to the mysterious Japanese giant known as SEGA. Joining Joe DeLia and Sinan Kubba are Dits Symeou from The Gamer Scene and Leon Cox from GamerDork.

3 Responses to “35: The Rise & Fall of SEGA”
  1. Xantiriad says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the trip down the SEGA memory lane. It’s scary how similar my console history is to Leon’s during the 1990’s! – although I think we quite different in the 8-bit era.

    I actually owned my first SEGA console with the Dreamcast but revisited the MegaDrive (2001) and Saturn (2009) later years. My earliest memories of SEGA are of the classic arcade cabinets for games like Outrun, Afterburner, and Space Harrier – three games I still love to this day,

    My recollections of the MegaDrive are of it being largely a one game system for a lot of people – either their Mortal Combat or Sonic the Hedgehog machine. It seemed to shift from being a “teenagers’” machine in the first few years to a “childrens’” console much later. The MegaDrive kind of passed me by as I was 19-23 during its peak, and I took a gaming sabbatical whilst at University – drinking, electronica and women taking priority!

    Following the death of the Amiga in ’93 I switch to Gameboy and PC gaming until the arrival of the N64 in ’97. For me the Dreamcast was the next step from the N64 and I completed missed out on the Saturn. I bought a Saturn and around 30 games last summer and I was amazed by the quality of the “top” games on that platform. Virtua Fighter 2 plays as well today as any modern 3D fighter – an amazing achievement. SEGA Rally, with its stodgy framerate, is still relatively faithful to the arcade, and the version of Rainbow Islands on the Saturn is the best of them all.

    The Dreamcast was a real love affair for me. Initially I didn’t want one and I couldn’t understand why I ever would, but my mate picked one up at launch. The first time I saw it running, with those fancy controllers, I knew this was the future. I have so many fond memories of taking it online for the first time, and playing Quake III Arena on my 32” (big for then) TV. It pissed over the experience on a PC simply because I could lie on the sofa, beer in hand, and really relax as I played. To this day, Metropolis Street Racer, Crazy Taxi, PowerStone and Soul Calibur are some of my favourite games of all time. I even still play the occasional game of HydroThunder!

    A really wonderful fan service podcast and I have to say that whilst I don’t have a great deal of love for the hedgehog, I do still get Goosebumps at the big blue SEGA logo.

  2. Kropotkin says:

    My history with SEGA is a fractured one. It started well with my deep affection for their arcade games that I played in various places throughout Leicester Square in the West End. I was especially entranced by Outrun as I found the speed of that game as well as the amazingly bright colours it displayed was unlike anything else at the time.

    SEGA arcade games were a sight to behold as they had deep blue skies in them, something many other games shied away from. Space Harrier, After Burner and Super Hang On all featured bright, blazing colours that were dazzling to behold.

    So when the Master System first started beem mooted for UK release in 1987, I remember getting terribly excited about it as ACE magazine was declaring it the triumphant return of the consoles. For up until then the last successful console in the UK was the Vectrex! So I swalloed the hype and with my first pay packet at the age of 16 I bought a SEGA Master System along with a copy of Chop Lifter and Outrun.

    I hurredly got it home and was somewhat dumbstruck with what I saw. Not in awe, no, it was dissappointment. I thought I was going to have Outrun in my home! Instead I had this stuttering mess of a game that had a strange red blob at the bottom of the screen that would drive past a few cars on a grey strip that appeared to be a road. All running in 10 FPS. I was mortified. Granted Chop Lifter was a far better game and gave me some consolation, but I felt stung, furious even. 6 months later after buying a few more games for it, I decided it wasn’t for me. I was convinced it was going to be the return of the consoles yet instead I was sold short. At least that’s how I felt at the time. So I sold it. I also swore off all consoles for another 10 years for I had been bitten by them in 1987.

    Looking back I believe this was folly. Yes I had a great time on the Atari ST, then the Amiga and finally a Windows 95 based PC, but I had missed out on so much in that time. I missed out on Phantasy Star for a start! Then there were the Mega Drive and SNES games, all of them passing me by simply because I refused to play on them for they were console games, my bane.

    It wasn’t until 1997 did I buy another console. It was a PlayStation with a copy of Gran Turismo. I griped over the poor graphics (the PC was and is still king in this department), but I got over that and enjoyed the games for what they were. Soon after I got an N64 and discovered Mario 64 as well as Golden Eye and Zelda: Ocarina of Time. That’s another story for another time though. By this time of course the Saturn was not a viable platform so I ignored it. Bad move no. 2 *sigh*

    In 1999 I did pick up a Sega Dreamcast at launch and thought it to be the second coming of video games. The following year was my first ever E3 and there I saw SEGA blowing its trumpet, despite the vast Sony booth with its myriad of PS2′s that enchanted many an attendee, me included. Even so SEGA did win many awards for its booth that year and they deserved it, for they pulled out all the stops. Sadly it was not to be.

    Over the past 6-7 years I have sought to redress the folly I made all those years ago. I now have a full selection of SEGA machines, including a first generation Master System, Megadrive, Mega CD, 32X, Saturn and Dreamcast. I also have a solid selection of games, many of them extremely rare such as the PAL version of Snatcher on Mega CD and Panzer Dragoon Saga.

    Be that as it may, my most treasured game out of all of them is the Sega Ages Collection Vol 1. It has a near arcade perfect version of Outrun on it. So yes, I finally got my wish. It just took almost 20 years to do it!

    Excellent show gents! Keep it up.

  3. Joe says:

    Thanks Xan and Krop. As a lifelong Sega nerd, it’s heart-warming to read about others experiences that so closely mimic my own. To this day, I still consider the Dreamcast to be one of the most “special” times in gaming.

    Very jealous of your Snatcher, Krop…US copies go for over $100 on eBay. I’ve yet to jump on that.

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