Electronic Arts Sega Genesis Mailer, 1992-93

Tonight’s museum post features a mailer ad for Sega Genesis games from Electronic Arts, sent to me either in late 1992 or early 1993. I don’t remember how I submitted my address to EA, but it was probably through a game registration rather than a magazine subscription. Now that I think about it, I sort of remember a registration card coming with those cardboard-boxed EA Genesis games back then. My first one was Zany Golf, bought from money I earned waiting tables at a crab feed (I guess you always remember your first? 🙂 ). It was through a relative’s catering company and at the end they gave us cups labeled with the word “tips”. I remember placing a cup on one table and getting a surprised reaction from the guests. Looking back on it now, it was rather presumptuous, wasn’t it?

I enjoyed a lot of EA’s earlier releases for Genesis. In addition to Zany Golf, I owned quite a few others. Budokan and Blockout are a couple of the cardboard-boxed ones, while slightly newer releases Marble Madness, Team USA Basketball, and Starflight came in the more classically-Sega plastic boxes. We also had King’s Bounty and Centurion: Defender of Rome, but I don’t remember exactly what kind of boxes they came in. Populous, Lakers vs Celtics, and Shadow of the Beast are a few rentals that come to mind (as is typical with people using things that don’t belong to them, the cardboard boxes for the rentals were always beat up). Looking back at this page, it looks like I had Aquatic Games as well (IIRC, it was a gift from my late cousin NVG).

Curiously, despite enjoying so many EA Genesis games, none of the games appearing in this mailer appealed to me. It was tempting to buy 2 games to receive a free Turbo Touch controller, but I just couldn’t do it. There was something about those early EA games that later games lacked. Perhaps they were ports of computer games and so had a different feel to games developed solely for a console. Maybe early in the Genesis’ life there were technical limitations that could not be overcome which resulted in game developers needing to be more creative. I don’t really know.

If I had ordered those two games back then, I wouldn’t have this mailer now to post in the Museum, so things worked out for the best. As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

Electronic Arts Sega Genesis Mail Ad, 1992-1993
You’ve got mail
Electronic Arts Sega Genesis Mail Ad, 1992-1993
Open and unfold
Electronic Arts Sega Genesis Mail Ad, 1992-1993
Flip over
Electronic Arts Sega Genesis Mail Ad, 1992-1993
And unfold once more

Sega Genesis Controller Accessories Flyer, 1994

For tonight’s museum post we have a two-sided flyer advertising a couple of controller accessories for the Sega Genesis. The first is the 6 Button Arcade Pad, probably released for playing Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition. Without the pad, you had to press Start to switch between punch and kick buttons, a very clunky way to play the game (and mind you I did try to play it that way, being the SF2 lover that I was back then!).

The second accessory is the Team Player adapter. I remember getting this adapter from a comic book store on Geary Boulevard, near a restaurant called Ton Kiang (used to go there for dimsum all the time). It was more of an impulse buy on my part since I didn’t really have a use for it, but up until that point I had never even seen one in the wild, so I had to have it. I remember fidgeting with the mode switch, which means we might have used it for some EA Sports games. For sure we used it with Columns III, and maybe with Mega Bomberman. On the most part, the adapter has spent most of its life still in its original packaging sitting on our games shelf. Someday I’ll put it up here on the museum.

As for the flyer itself, I probably got it from a display at Toys”R”Us. Hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post!

Sega Genesis 6 Button Arcade Pad, Flyer, 1994
Sure would’ve been nice to pull off a shoryuken with a single touch!
Sega Genesis Team Player Adapter, Flyer, 1994
Be a team player and challenge your friends!

Further reading:
Team Player on Sega Retro
Six Button Control Pad (Mega Drive) on Sega Retro

Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Run

Today marks 25 years since the release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. To celebrate the momentous occasion, I decided to do a quick run of the game.

As recently as 2009 when Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection was released for the PS3, a “quick run” meant playing up to Marble Zone, getting bored and impatient, and then dying. It’s been like this for many years now, whether it’s playing the game on my Genesis, playing via an emulator, or playing on the PS3.

Perhaps it being 25 years, I was particularly motivated last night (or perhaps I should say this morning) to play the game seriously. In my mind, I figured I’d get up to Labyrinth Zone and die, and I would be fine with that. Somehow, not only was I able to finish the game, but I was also able to collect all the Chaos Emeralds. Wow!

It seems incredible that Sonic the Hedgehog has been around for 25 years. That span of time seems to have both gone by in a blur (no pun intended) and dragged on seemingly forever. While playing the game I noted with awe to JC that when I first played the game I was 12 years old and that I am now 37. It seems mind-boggling. Did people in 1991 still play games created in 1966?

To record this 25th anniversary run, I used Kega Fusion’s “log AVI” feature to capture, VirtualDub to encode to XVID, and finally HandBrake to encode to MP4 for YouTube. This is the only way that I can get the sound to stay in sync with the video. I’ve mentioned in the past selling all my Genesis games, but I guess it’s worth mentioning that the ROM I used for this run is ripped from my original retail Sonic cartridge.

Happy birthday Sonic!

See also: 1991

NBA Showdown ’94

NBA-Showdown-'94

I created a page for tracking the progress of a full 82-game season in NBA Showdown ’94 for the Sega Genesis. As a kid I never played through an entire season of the game, and one afternoon recently when I decided to play an exhibition for kicks, it brought back memories from that time period, of being a Warriors fan and high school student and watching that 1993-94 NBA season. It was a pretty amazing season being the first year of Michael Jordan’s retirement, the first Houston Rockets championship, Chris Webber’s rookie year, and (sadly) getting eliminated by Charles Barkley’s Suns in the first round of the playoffs. Sadly, it was also the beginning of an era of mediocrity for the Warriors. 🙁

How will the Warriors do in this virtual, retroactive replay of the 1993-94 season? We shall see…

Going for a Sunday Drive

I listened to my Out Run recordings this week which gave me the urge to go on an extended drive this lazy Sunday afternoon. Amazingly, it might have been the first time I sat down and played through each route, getting all the endings, and then, to my surprise, getting a bonus staff roll and sixth ending.

One of the things I like about Out Run is the different backgrounds of each stage. When I was a kid, I would imagine going on drives through these scenic areas. It never occurred to me that some of them might not be completely realistic (at least here in the USA, I don’t think there are roads in the desert with sand on them). Still, they fire up the imagination and take me to another place.

In my previous Out Run post from nearly two years ago, I mentioned not liking Step On Beat, but I guess I never gave it a chance. When I selected it for one of the routes this afternoon, it sounded catchy and now I might have to set up my Genesis again so I can record it.

Lastly, my favorite thing about the game is probably the high score screen. At the end of the day after a long drive, the sun sets and the waves lap gently against the shore, welcoming the approach of night while Last Wave plays in the background. It’s a very soothing and peaceful scene that has spoken to me ever since I first played the game. So, please forgive me if a few times in the video I left the high score screen running too long. 😉

Further reading:
Out Run (Wikipedia)
Out Run (Sega Retro)
Out Ran: Meeting Yu Suzuki, Sega’s Original Outsider (EUROGAMER.net)
The Making of OutRun (NOWGamer.com)

Box – Sega Genesis Control Pad

Box - Sega Genesis Control Pad - Front

For tonight’s museum post we have an original box for a Sega Genesis Control Pad.

On this particular box, the front features two interesting things to me. The first is that the price of the controller is actually written on the box, in ballpoint pen – $19.95. We probably bought this around 1991, which would make this pad about $35 in 2015 dollars. One might argue that console controllers have gotten more expensive. I would offer that controllers today come with a lot more buttons, and a lot more technology (vibration, bluetooth/wireless, and pressure-sensitivity to name a few). The price written in pen is a telltale sign that we bought this from Vimy Electronics on Mission Street.

The second interesting thing is the marketing speak: HIGH PERFORMANCE FOR HIGH SCORING. I wonder how many people actually believed that this was true (I might laugh now, but I was probably one of them). It’s interesting to think that someone or some team had to come up with this slogan and get it on the box. Would these words work today if they appeared on a controller box for a modern console?

Box - Sega Genesis Control Pad - Back

On the back of the box we have the same words again, in capital letters. This is followed by some more interesting copy: Masterfully designed to rest comfortably in your hands, the Genesis Control Pad is ready to let the games begin. The “masterfully” has to be a reference to the Master System, right?

The left, top, and bottom of the box are basically miniaturized versions of the front:

Box - Sega Genesis Control Pad - Left

Box - Sega Genesis Control Pad - Top

Box - Sega Genesis Control Pad - Bottom

Finally, we have the right side of the box, which contains a UPC code instead of a picture of the controller. I don’t know much about UPC codes but I would guess that 10086 is a company code or something, because I always recognized this number when purchasing a Sega product.

Box - Sega Genesis Control Pad - Right

As always, hope you enjoyed this museum post!

1991

Sonic the Hedgehog

After hearing the news of Sega pulling out of the console market, for some reason I thought back to 1991, the year that Sonic the Hedgehog came out. That was the year that I graduated from middle school, and I remember receiving Sonic the Hedgehog soon after (not sure if I got it on the day of release, or if it was supposed to be a graduation present). I think we got it from Vimy Video on Mission Street (I guess it’s technically called Vimy Electronics but that’s how the Vietnamese guys who owned it used to answer the phone: “Vimy video”).

Before I even got to Marble Zone, however, my family took off for a trip to Southern California. Imagine getting the hottest game to come out in years, playing it for a couple of days, and then leaving to go on some stupid trip. Wow. My 12-year-old self was livid. To make it worse, we drove down to Southern California in a car without air conditioning. Double-wow. Imagine driving through the cow-shit area on I-5 with the windows down and hot air and stank plowing you in the face. I could have been playing Sonic the Hedgehog!!!

We probably spent a week down there. The only thing I remember from that trip is going to a restaurant bathroom at Disneyland and hearing someone having a hard time trying to take a dump. He was making the hissy sound that some people make when they’re in pain. Ouch.

I thought about all this while listening to the recordings I made from the game’s sound test. I’m writing this now while listening to the recordings I made from the game’s sound test. I will never forgive myself for selling away all my Genesis games.

One other thing I remember from that time period is that school let out in June and started in September. For some reason, it now ends in May and starts in August.

RIP Sega console games.

King’s Bounty

In 1991, Electronics Arts released King’s Bounty for the Sega Genesis. While I no longer remember how we ended up buying this game, I do remember how much fun this game has been for us over the past 23 years. Even now, we occasionally fire it up in an emulator to see if we can’t find the king’s scepter. This video records one of those occasions from a few months ago.

JC was out of town so I had a lot of time to myself. I decided to give it a go, but with a new twist: on impossible difficulty. Throughout the years, the word “impossible” has always scared us away from trying this level. With a much deeper knowledge of the continents now than when I played this game as a teen, I was able to finish the game in an hour and a half.

Sadly, this was one of the games I stupidly sold off after I got the game copier. One of the best parts of the game was the manual. Luckily, Henry over at the Genesis Project has transcribed a version here. Thanks Henry!

Super Hang On

I was listening to some Herzog Zwei background music just now when I realized that it’s been over a year since I last played this game. Just like that it’s been a year, and just like that it’s been 12 days since October started. I actually have a long post coming up that I started working on on October 1 but haven’t gotten around to finishing. Another thing I never got around to finishing was posting a video of Super Hang On that I made back in June of this year. After finishing what I was doing while listening to Herzog, I came in to write and post this quickly before I “don’t get around to it” again.

So, Super Hang On. If I recall correctly, this was the free game I chose from one of the promotions Sega had early during the Genesis’ life. I don’t remember exactly but the idea was that you buy two or three (I think it was three) games, cut out the UPCs, send in the UPCs and receipts, and in return Sega would send you the game of your choice (if available). I have a faint memory of this game arriving at our old house. I can see it still shrink-wrapped. I remember the texture of the clear plastic on the box. This was also before Sega changed the Genesis logo, before they enlarged and added “16-bit Cartridge” underneath it.

In terms of gameplay, there was Arcade mode and Original mode. Arcade mode was pretty straightforward; it was a matter of how long you could keep your attention span because each difficulty level was just a progression of gameplay length. Original was kind of cool. You started off with the shittiest bike possible (compared to the maxed-out bike in Arcade mode, the starting bike was unmaneuverable), being able to upgrade it only after winning races and earning money. I enjoyed reading the descriptions of the parts in the manual (something that’s missing from games these days). My favorite (or at least the most memorable) is the titanium-monocoque frame. It was probably my first encounter with disc and drum brakes as well, and where I learned the difference.

Below is the video of myself playing Arcade mode on the easiest difficulty level. Enjoy!