A Sega Dream

Sega Master System with Hang On Card

June 14, 2017 – Recording Hang On before selling

I had a funny dream the other day. In the dream, I was getting ready to play a game on my Sega Master System, but when I was about to plug in the controller I remembered that I had already sold my Rapid Fire Unit and wouldn’t be able to use auto-fire in the game. The funny thing is how I remembered in the dream that in real life I had already sold the Rapid Fire Unit, but not the console itself.

Sega Rapid Fire Unit

Sega Rapid Fire Unit – bought prior to 1989, sold on July 16, 2017

At this point I don’t think I have anything related to the Sega, not even a memento, or a trinket. It’s hard to keep track of it all. It would have been nice to keep a single item, maybe something like my first game, Hang On, but it seems I was too obsessed with moving forward. 2017 really was a whirlwind of life-resetting, but now I’m learning that it doesn’t happen instantly like pressing reset on the Sega.

I effectively had my Sega for over three quarters of my life. As I’ve mentioned before, there was a transition from PAL to NTSC, but otherwise in my mind it was the same system. Damn, it’s hard getting over losing something you had for that long, even though for a long time now you haven’t actually used that thing. It’s the same story for a lot of the other things I sold, donated, or trashed in 2017. Why is it so hard? Was there anything I could have done, last year or in the past, that would make it easier?

I don’t know the answer, though perhaps part of it is that maybe it’s not supposed to be easy. I do know that putting up these museum posts helps, so I will try to keep doing them. I’m also glad for the manual scans I made last year, and also the random videos and sounds I’ve recorded over the years. Little bits and pieces of the Sega are still with me. It’s the best I can do given my life’s circumstances, and I don’t think anyone could ask for more than that.

As always, I hope you enjoy this museum post.

Box - The Sega Base System

The Sega Base System (NTSC) – bought 1989, sold on August 2, 2017

Box - The Sega Base System

Box - The Sega Base System

Box - The Sega Base System

Box - The Sega Base System

Box - The Sega Base System

Inner Box - The Sega Base System

Inner Box - The Sega Base System

The Sega Base System with built-in Hang On game

July 25, 2017 – Prior to listing, testing the Sega with its built-in Hang On game

Set - The Sega Base System

Goodbye old friend

Set - The Sega Base System

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot – The Combo Cartridge – Sega Master System (1986)

Here’s another Sega game (actually, two games) that has garnered interest from a potential buyer, the combo cartridge Astro Warrior/Pit Pot.

Unfortunately, I have no recollection at all of how I acquired this game, though I do know that it was prior to moving to the US. There is evidence of this inside the game case, where curiously I wrote the name of a Hong Kong classmate. At the same time, I wrote my own initials on the cartridge itself. Man, what a strange kid.

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

Notice the typeface that’s slightly different from other Sega games.

This version of the cartridge appears to be an all-English version, perhaps intended for the UK market. That sort of makes sense, considering that when I bought this cartridge Hong Kong was still a British colony. Looking at scans of the game available online (e.g. SMS Power!, Sega Retro, first page of Google), it would seem that this might be the first scan of the English-only version. If so, I’m happy to be able to contribute.

Another interesting feature of the game is the typeface used on the back of the box as well as the instruction manual. Perhaps due to the game being an English-only release, the font is different from every other Sega game that I have. The spacing between letters seems a bit off, too. If I didn’t know better, I might surmise that this was a bootleg game.

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

For the actual games themselves, I do remember spending quite a lot of time with them. Both games start off easy at first, then ramp up the difficulty quickly. In Astro Warrior, as can be seen in the demonstration video below, if you die in the later stages your ship reverts to the slowest and most basic version, making it nearly impossible to avoid the fast-moving enemies in the later stages (well, that plus my skills have seriously eroded in old age). In Pit Pot, the practice level is super easy (again, video below), but later stages require a level of patience and note-taking that I never had as a kid. I don’t think I even beat the beginner level. But now, as an adult, I’m actually curious to see how far I’d get in the game, so that’s something to look forward to in the coming days.

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

The inverted Sega logo looks pretty cool.

Lastly, some interesting tidbits from my experience playing these games as a kid: in Astro Warrior, there was a way to get the two “Asistor” ships at the beginning of the level by shooting really fast. I accidentally discovered this when using the rapid-fire unit. Even so, it was pretty hard to do, and I couldn’t always get it. A quick Google search today reveals that this is a known trick. In Pit Pot, some of the rooms are arranged in the shape of Chinese (or Kanji) characters, offering a hint of what to do next. This can be seen in the video thumbnail below, where the character “up” is shown. That’s how I knew which way to go. 😉

As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post.

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot Manual (PDF, 58.8 MB)
Astro Warrior Helpful Hints (PDF, 1.78 MB)

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

Astro Warrior/Pit Pot - The Combo Cartridge - Sega Master System (1986)

Hang On

Hang On - The Sega Card - Sega Master System (1986)

Hang On – The Sega Card – Sega Master System (1986)

As mentioned in the previous post, I am preparing the game Hang On for a potential sale. Here is its museum post.

This is the oldest Master System game that I have (I talked about it a little bit in my Sega nostalgia post from a few years back). Interestingly, it’s also probably my least-played game, at least physically. When we moved to the US, the PAL Sega that I brought with me didn’t work with the NTSC standard here, so we got a local NTSC system. This system had Hang On built-in, which made it unnecessary to insert the card into the system to play.

Gameplay-wise, I’d say this game has aged pretty well. The graphics and sound obviously don’t compare with the ultra-realistic games of today, but I find that this is now where the game’s appeal is. The graphics are simple and fire the imagination, with an example being the first photo on the back of the box of the nighttime city scene: the background, just a bunch of black rectangles with yellow and red dots on them, evoke images of a city bustling with activity (in all these years I never tried to identify which, but looking at it now could it be that the Tokyo Tower appears fifth from the left?!). The engine sound, especially at top speed, is hypnotic, and there’s a rhythmic effect from passing other motorcycles. As a 31-year old game in 2017, Hang On’s value is no longer in being “realistic” or “3-D”, but in being a simple diversion, something to zone out in every so often.

Hang On - The Sega Card - Sega Master System (1986)

Could that be the Tokyo Tower in the screenshot?

For this museum post, I scanned the manual from the original game (printed in Japan), the manual from the built-in game (printed in Hong Kong), and the 1986 Game Catalog that I think came with the game (the catalog looks to be a USA version while the game itself appears to be a UK version, but I have no memory of this catalog showing up anywhere else). It’s interesting to see the differences between the manual versions: the original has a blank page behind the cover, the built-in has actual content; the original is black and blue, the built-in is only blue; the original has glossy paper, the built-in has matte.

Lastly, the video at the bottom was made with Kega Fusion. I tried to use original hardware, but my video capture device stopped working, and just as well; plugging the card into the SMS, I would have had no way of knowing whether the system read it or failed to read it and loaded the built-in game instead. 🙂 As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post.

Hang On Manual, printed in Japan (PDF, 18.7 MB)
Hang On Manual, printed in Hong Kong (PDF, 13.9 MB)
Sega 1986 Game Catalog, printed in Taiwan (PDF, 33.0 MB)

Hang On - The Sega Card - Sega Master System (1986)

Hang On - The Sega Card - Sega Master System (1986)

Hang On - The Sega Card - Sega Master System (1986)

Hang On - The Sega Card - Sega Master System (1986)

Sega Embossed Envelope, 1988

In this previous post about a game list that Sega sent to me in Hong Kong, I mentioned an envelope with a blue Sega logo that I thought I had misplaced. Well, it turns out that I kept all my Sega envelopes in the blue shoulder bag. So now, here it is, the first ever piece of correspondence I received from Sega, postmarked September 1, 1988.

What’s really special about this envelope is that the Sega logo on the upper left is embossed. Later envelopes, even as early as November 29, 1988 (postmark of the second envelope I received), had a flat logo. After a while, even the flat logo was replaced with an ink stamp. In total, there were 21 Sega envelopes in the blue bag (and not including Sega Visions envelopes), which gives you an idea of how much I used to bug Sega with my requests!

The embossing is visible in the full-envelope scan, but I’ve included a 600 DPI scan of just the logo as well. Enjoy!

Sega Embossed Envelope 1988

Postmarked September 1, 1988

Embossed Sega Logo 1988

Embossed logo scanned at 600 DPI

Wong’s Kong King Hong Kong Market Sega Master System Brochure (~1986)

Tonight’s first scan is a Chinese-language Sega Master System brochure from around 1986, printed by Wong’s Kong King, the Sega distributor in Hong Kong at that time. As can be seen from the tape and staple holes, I also had this on my wall, but like everything else from the blue shoulder bag, it’s just been in there for the past 20 years.

In terms of historical value, this one’s must be pretty high. I’m reluctant to throw it out because like all anachronistic things, it survived a long period of time and made it to the present, something that’s neither easily done, nor repeatable.

When I was putting the other blue shoulder bag items in the recycling bag, it occurred to me that every single moment of our lives is also unique and also won’t come back once gone. So, you get to make a choice. You could either fixate on what’s gone by, filling your present moments with them, or you can focus on the present moments, truly feeling and experiencing them. Of course, if you have enough time (not sure if pun is intended or not), you can try to do both, but picking from the three choices is extremely difficult, and we probably have different desires at different stages of life. For me, right now, a big reason to bid the past goodbye is that I no longer want to be shackled by childhood, and all the unhealthy things that go along with it. JC and I were free, living our own lives, and two years ago we decided to come back “home” and have lived with our parents ever since. It’s possible that we never were truly free, since our parents’ places was like home base, and we left a lot of our stuff here. I grow increasingly tired with this situation and am maneuvering to finally break free, with nothing left behind, and nothing to come back to. We want to make our own home and experience our own moments.

The grind continues…

Sega Master System Hong Kong Brochure from Wong's Kong King, 1986

Sega Master System Hong Kong Brochure from Wong's Kong King, 1986

After Burner – A Ride You’ll Never Forget (1988)

First scan of the day is this After Burner poster and game lineup from Sega, circa 1988. I actually posted a version of this back in 2013, but that was before I learned how to use the panorama feature in Photoshop to stitch the scanned pieces together. For a manually compiled poster, that one looked alright, but this one is just a little bit cleaner. Enjoy!

Poster - After Burner - A Ride You'll Never Forget - 1988

Game Lineup - After Burner - A Ride You'll Never Forget - 1988

Take Hold of the Sega Adventure (1987)

Here’s another poster straight off the wall of my childhood room, a Sega 1987 poster and game lineup, “Take Hold Of The Sega Adventure” and “Get In Touch With Sega Software”.

I really like this one. Looking at it now, I am reminded of many nights before bed looking at all the games that I already had for my Sega Master System, and all the games that I wanted to get. Since this poster came out in 1987, a lot of the games were from around the time when I first got the system as a kid in Hong Kong. Some of the games would remind me of my time in Hong Kong, playing them at my friends’ houses. Now that I think about it, it seemed like all the kids in my little circle of international-school friends had Sega, and I wonder why we never got into Nintendo.

There was one game that I remember playing, Great Football, that I had no idea how to play. I had not yet moved to America and learned the game. Great Soccer was another game that I played at a friend’s place, but of course we knew how to play that, being in British Hong Kong. It was always interesting going to your friends’ homes as a kid. It seemed like each place had its own smell, and different parents had different levels of hospitality. Actually (and speaking of hospitality), I do remember one Japanese kid who had a Famicom at his house. I think he had the floppy drive, too.

Looking at the poster now, I also wonder why it took me twenty years to take it out of the blue bag, unfold it, and actually look at it like I used to (it really is a cool poster). Did I just not have time? Or did I think I had all the time in the world? I think it must have been the latter. At the time we moved out of my childhood home, I was starting my second year of college. Studying happened, girls happened, then graduation, then vacation. Next was first job out of college, unrealistic expectations, get fired, then 3 years of not working. Then, it was start over, find a new job, do well, move out, get a car, get married, get promoted, get burned out, and go on Adventure 2012, and then the last 4 years: move to Hong Kong, live free for one year, work for one year, come back to the USA, live with parents, work 3 months out of the next 24. In a nutshell, the past 20 years of my life. It was a long time, and in between all those things happening, adding up year after year, I never took the time to look in my closet, look inside the blue bag, and take a look at this poster. I must have figured it would always be there.

What’s next? I don’t know. In these past months, I’ve been taking all these pieces from my life up to this point, scanning or photographing them, and then bidding them goodbye. What am I getting ready for? In the past I’ve mentioned getting light, so that when the time comes, we’ll be able to move. But where? Maybe a new life where I enjoy everything in front of me, where nothing is in the closet. Kind of like when we were kids, when things were simple, and all we had was our Sega, when it was so much easier to focus on one thing because that was all we had. It’s a frequently and incorrectly used word, but I do believe it is ironic that I’m trying to get back to the past by letting go of it. It’s very difficult, and sometimes I want to just keep hanging on, like saving this poster after 20 years of not looking at it. But I think maybe, if I’m not careful, my life will become like this poster, stuck in a closet, stuck in time, and another 20 years will have passed.

As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post, with extra and nostalgic commentary.

Poster - Take Hold of the Sega Adventure - 1987

Game Lineup - Get in Touch with Sega Software - 1987

Sega Master System II 1990 Catalog/Poster

This Sunday afternoon museum post features a colorful Sega Master System II poster and game lineup from 1990. Chances are that this poster came inside a game, but I don’t think I can say which one with any accuracy. Somehow, I want to say Alex Kidd in Shinobi World since that was one of the later games I acquired for the SMS.

There were a number of mistakes and/or liberties taken with the screenshots appearing on this poster. Both Columns and Mickey Mouse appear to be showing the Genesis versions of the game (perhaps a miscommunication between the marketing department and the truth department?), Wonder Boy III appears to be showing a reversed photo of the original Wonder Boy, both Alex Kidd in Shinobi World and Cyber Shinobi show the same screenshot (which appears to be an earlier version of the former), and Fantasy Zone shows a screenshot of Fantasy Zone II (upon closer inspection of the game description, however, this one is actually a typo in the title which should read Fantasy Zone II).

This was another poster that came off the wall of my childhood apartment, and tape and staple holes are probably visible in the scan. Perhaps due to the white color of the poster, it was a lot harder putting together the various scanned sections in Photoshop (this black Genesis one was a lot easier, for example). The silver gridlines were especially problematic, and the final product shows some slight misalignments which I apologize for. Believe me, I really tried.

Despite the issues, I quite like this one. I hope you do too.

Sega Master System II Poster 1990

Sega Master System II Game Lineup 1990

The Sega Video Game System (~1987-1988)

Can’t have a Nintendo post without having a Sega one, so here’s the second Blue Shoulder Bag post for tonight, a brochure and catalog for the Sega Master System from around 1987/1988 (based on the release dates of the “Coming Soon!” games). These little brochures came folded with many games, fitting perfectly behind the instruction manual. Did this one come with a game? I don’t know, but it is the right size, so it probably did, and I don’t know why I removed it from its box. Even so, because they were so prevalent, there are probably still some that I never looked at, still in original condition behind its game’s instruction manual. I’ll probably get around to scanning more manuals in the near future, so they may finally see the light of day.

Printed in Japan, this catalog is exactly two A4 sheets wide. The colors of the screenshots are also especially vibrant. Like my other scans, I was thinking of disposing of this afterwards, but it’s small and nice enough that I just might keep it.

Will there be any other scans tonight? I don’t know, but the night is young. We shall see…

The Sega Video Game System Catalog and Brochure

The Sega Video Game System Catalog and Brochure

The Sega Video Game System Catalog and Brochure

Sega Helpful Hints Sheet – Multiple Games

Tonight’s Sega helpful hints sheet features five different games: Space Harrier, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Enduro Racer, Global Defense, and Zaxxon 3-D.

It seems likely that I requested this sheet for Global Defense, since that is the only game in this list that I owned in the early 90s. It wasn’t until that one time in college that I acquired Enduro Racer and F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Global Defense was a super hard game, and I don’t think I was ever able to use both control pads successfully. It would have probably been best to enlist the help of a friend, so that one person could focus on flying the satellite, and one person could focus on firing the gun. I’m sure someone has already beaten this game on YouTube, so the ending is available to me if I want to “spoil” it (well, maybe if I haven’t beaten the game in 30 years, it’s time to take a shortcut).

As always, hope you enjoy this museum post!

Sega Helpful Hints Sheet - Multiple Games