In 1988, I was a little kid in Hong Kong two years into Sega mania. Although I don’t remember the exact circumstances, I must have figured that since there was a 1986 Game Catalog (it came inside my copy of Hang On), there must have been one for 1988, too. So, I wrote a letter to Sega of America, and this is what they sent back to me. It came inside a Sega envelope with a blue logo on the upper left, but sadly I must have misplaced it over the years because I did not see it while going through all my old Sega docs. But imagine, as a kid, writing a letter to the object of your fandom and receiving a response! It probably made my year. I must have pored over these two pieces of paper dozens, if not hundreds, of times.
Looking at the screenshots, it’s interesting to note the placeholders for new games such as R-Type, Lord of the Sword, and Y’s. Even more hilarious is the one for Double Dragon – I wonder why they didn’t just type out the words Double Dragon, or show a picture of two dragons, like in the other new-game screens? 🙂
For today’s Sega Master System museum post we have Pro Wrestling. This was one of three games my mother bought to appease me after I went through my first surgery (something I wasn’t very happy about). It’s a foggy memory now, but I believe one of the other games was Alex Kidd in Miracle World. Sadly, I can’t remember what the third game was.
If memory serves, the clinic was near or on Connaught Road Central in Hong Kong. Interestingly, I passed through the area quite often while I was working there, taking many meals at Cafe de Coral and Yoshinoya. There are no longer any places that sell video games in that area.
In terms of time spent playing, Parlour Games is one of my favorite Sega games of all time. As a kid, I really liked snooker (aka billiards or pool) and this was the first game that allowed me to play as much as I wanted. I was super happy on that day when we stumbled upon the game at Toy Liquidators. Prior to that I could only rent the game from Vimy Video; I’m sure I rented it more than once.
Another memory associated with this game is taking this game to my cousins’ place and playing it with them. Whenever we got a scratch in billiards, the game would play a sound. I’d mimic the sound with my own invented syllables, and my cousin would mimic me. Good times, though sometimes the game would glitch after a scratch and play the sound indefinitely. That was pretty grating.
If I ever got tired of billiards, I could play Darts or World Bingo. I mastered Darts pretty quickly, but World Bingo was a lot harder. It was kind of an odd game to me because it was a game of chance. My mind couldn’t really process the fact that there are some games with uncertain outcomes. I was used to doing X to get Y. Later, I noticed that if I bet really fast, more types of rewards would show up. I started playing the game with my rapid fire unit. 😀
Below is a video of me playing each game in 2015. Didn’t realize how good the computer was, or maybe my skills have deteriorated over the years. As always, hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post!
When we were kids, my parents would try to keep it fair when it came time for gifts. I’d get to pick something I liked, and my sister would pick something she liked. Most of the time, she would pick a Barbie or a My Little Pony, but on certain occasions she would pick a Sega game. Rocky is one of those games.
Like Kung Fu Kid, I remember getting this while we lived in Kowloon Tong. There was a time when I could tell you how I acquired each and every one of our (well, mostly my) Sega games, but that time is long gone now. I know that I picked a game for myself, but now I can’t remember which one. Was it Zillion II? Did we get this game from Lok Fu? There’s no way to know now.
If memory serves, it was initially physically impossible for us to beat this game due to the stringent training required in the game. In the first fight against Apollo Creed, you needed 90+ connects on the bag, which was physically possible but taxing. In the second fight against Clubber Lang, you needed something like 7 punches per second in order to get good enough to beat Ivan Drago later on. It’s pretty much impossible to sustain that rate for the minute or so requirement.
Later on, I chanced upon a Rapid Fire Unit (which will have its own museum post one of these days) which finally enabled us to beat the game. I was able to use this unit tonight to do a complete playthrough of the game:
For reference, I hooked up my Sega Master System to an old GeForce Ti4400 with VIVO and recorded on the highest quality setting (640×480). Since the recording was in stereo and the SMS is mono, I then re-encoded with Handbrake and set the audio to mono in order to get sound coming out of both speakers. Normally I would use Kega Fusion to save time, but since there’s no rapid-fire setting in that emulator, it would not have been possible to beat the game.
As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane!
Enduro Racer is another one of those old Sega games that you can just pick up and play, and beat in a short amount of time (assuming you’ve been playing games your whole life). One of my favorite games, I didn’t discover it until we moved to the U.S. There was (and actually, still is) a video store owned by some Vietnamese immigrants in my neighborhood that offered game rentals, which is how I discovered the game.
Maybe the reason I liked the game so much was that I didn’t own it. You always covet what you don’t have. Then again, it could also have been the simple and addicting gameplay. It was a challenge timing wheelies so that the jumps would give you a boost instead of slow you down.
It wasn’t until I encountered that comic book store in college that I became a proud owner of an Enduro Racer cartridge.
The ending of Enduro Racer is noteworthy. It’s a simple text-only ending, but the message is spot-on. It’s pretty awesome that such a simple game has such a profound ending. No, it’s not about winning or losing. What’s important is that “you make a commitment to begin the long and trying trek”. The words seem to echo a lot of what I’ve written on here in the past 15 months. I wonder how many other kids growing up in my time were affected by these words of wisdom?
Prior to emigrating to the United States, my family lived in three different places in Hong Kong. I remember playing Kung Fu Kid in the third place, in Kowloon Tong.
By that time, my family owned a “big screen” 27-inch TV, and I got our old 19-inch Sony to use in my room. I remember having a difficult time trying to beat Kung Fu Kid, especially during round 6 where the player faces several bosses in succession. I have a very vague memory of going through round 6 near dinner time, and my mother calling me to dinner.
The manual was very detailed, with descriptions of all the bosses. It wasn’t really necessary for the creators of the game to write such an elaborate manual, but they did, which probably added to the charm of the game, because the gameplay itself was so simple. Although it was just a matter of jumping and kicking, knowing the back story somehow made it more worthwhile.
When I fired up the emulator to make this video the other day, I couldn’t believe that the game was published in 1987. That’s 27 years. In my mind, 27 years ago might as well be yesterday, but unlike yesterday, I can now beat the game in 12 minutes. I hope you enjoy the video.
I can never get enough Sega game photos, whether they are of my own or of ones belonging to people on the internet. They are instantly recognizable and always spark a positive emotional reaction in me. Ah, childhood memories…
I had a sudden urge to play Zillion yesterday. This was one of my favorite games on the Sega Master System, and I would spend hours exploring the rooms trying to find secret passages. When I played the game yesterday, I was reminded of those long hours in my room in our old house here in Hong Kong. It’s amazing the kind of stuff you can remember when you start re-doing something that you did a long time ago.
My sister and I made up names for the symbols in the game that were used for opening doors (see the video thumbnail below). Later in life I finally realized that the symbols were just mirrored numbers (except 4, 8, and 10), but when we were kids we saw other things. So, 1 was “M”, 2 was “heart”, 4 was “basket”, 6 was “whale” (because it looked like a whale, I guess), and 5 was “whale the second” (because 6 was already and looked more like a whale). For 8, we gave it the term we used as kids for breasts (not posting it here), which I guess an 8 rotated on its side does look like. As a result, 3 became “breast the second”. 9 was “ear” and 7 was “ear the second”, and finally, 10 was “Q”. Imagine being an adult in the room and listening to these kids trying to memorize the symbols as they appeared: “breast the second-basket-whale-Q!”
When I was younger, I wanted to play the game perfectly – avoid every mine, shoot every soldier, stay in perfect health. It’s kind of funny to see that I don’t give a shit anymore, as exemplified with all the walking over exploding mines. I guess that’s what they call maturity.
It’s been many years since I last played it, but in the playthrough you can see that I still kind of know my way around, visiting every room (I still possess some anal retentive tendencies) before beating the game. I took advantage of a glitch in the game to gain invincibility, which saves some time (I can beat the game without the glitch, really, I can).
The video was recorded with Kega Fusion 3.64, encoded to Xvid (using anything else caused the audio to be out of sync), then re-encoded to MP4 with HandBrake. There was a weird issue in Kega that caused my controller inputs to slow down after logging video for a period of time. You can see this around the 32-minute mark when I tried to shoot open a tunnel, and couldn’t. Stopping and restarting the logging fixes the problem, but obviously that causes a slight skip in the video. Lastly, I joined all the different parts and did the Xvid encoding with VirtualDub.
For today’s museum post I have a collection of five Sega Master System (SMS) catalogs from the 1980s. The first two came as folded inserts inside the boxes of certain games. The third and fourth were catalogs localized for the Hong Kong market (in both Chinese and English), apparently printed in Japan by Sega. Lastly, we have another catalog from Hong Kong, this time printed by the SMS’s local distributor, Wong’s Kong King Limited.
I’m especially proud of the Hong Kong catalogs because I brought them over to the U.S. with me when we moved over here, and kept them for all these decades (it’s been nearly three). I used to look at the catalogs before bed and dream about which games I would buy next. You can even see on one of the catalogs how I marked off the games I had already acquired.