Editorial: Sega Launch Day Woes

Sega, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Alvin, Simon, Theodore, while the first four are known for the video game consoles they created, the last three are just singing chipmunks who have had far too many movies. In just one month and a few days past this editorial, the Nintendo Switch will have been released alongside The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and maybe even three more new games on launch. So, Adeki has taken it upon himself by creating a five-week series that literally nobody asked for about console launches. The five planned weeks are, in order, Sega, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Recent. Recent will be about the most recent console launches each company has had so it will cover the Dreamcast (one of these things is not like the other), Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, and Nintendo Switch. This is because the last editorial in this series is planned to come out on March 8th, five days after the Switch’s launch (there will be a “normal” style editorial between Nintendo and Recent). Besides initial price and the games that were available immediately when the console launch, these editorials will also touch on other tidbits such as lifetime sales, retail availability today, initial criticisms, and other little fun facts where applicable. With further Au Jus, this editorial will start with Sega’s first console: the SG-1000.

That was not true, but people fall for that sometimes.
Tilt your head, it almost looks like a word.

Who does NOT remember the SG-1000? Obviously Sega’s most prolific console, the SG-1000 was created due to a decline in arcade in attendance and was bravely released in Japan the same day Nintendo released the Famicom on July 15th, 1983. For the low price of 15,000 yen (which is roughly $320 when converted and adjusted for 1983 money), gamers were treated to games such as Congo Bongo, Flicky, and Girl’s Garden, all of which were on adorable cartridges that are due to make a return later this year. The console itself did not do well and only lasted about a year but SEGA refused to give up so they released the SG-1000 II which was an upgraded version of the original console with detachable controllers and the ability to play Sega Card games for the same price. This upgraded version also did not do well (surprisingly enough) as it only lasted about a year and a couple months up until October when the Sega Master System graced store shelves.

MASTER. The joke was that they MASTERED it.
Sega really showed how they could MASTER the video game console industry, right?

The Sega Master System (also known as the Sega Mark III in Japan) released in Japan on October 20th, 1985 and in North America, after a redesign, in September of 1986. The system was meant to be a competitor to the NES as it had more powerful hardware but ultimately it did not prove to become more popular in Japan or North America. However, the Master System was relatively popular in Europe and Brazil, to the point where the Sega Master System is the longest running video game console with over 30 years under its belt due to how popular it is in Brazil. Weird, right? Not only that, but from the 10-13 million console sales the Master System has, about 8 million of them are from Brazil as of 2016. In comparison, only about 1 million Master Systems were sold in Japan and 2 million were sold in North America. Oh boy, at this rate the Master System could theoretically overtake the Wii U in sales thanks to Brazil, yikes! The Master System also did not do well as it ended 1986 with about 125,000 console sales whereas the NES had 1.1 million console sales, a harsh comparison.

We as a site can not in good conscious confirm that statement. But in bad conscious we can.
Genesis means start in Tetris talk.

Next up is the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive which released on October 29th, 1988 in Japan and August 14th, 1989 in North America for the low price of $190 (roughly $367 in today money) and included everyone’s favorite marketing term: blast processing! Aside from that though, while the Genesis did not do remarkably well in Japan, it did fare much better in North America and Europe, especially since it launched in Europe in 1990 with arcade ports available the day people were first able to buy it. Of course, the Sega Genesis could have its own editorial (which it probably will) all about the amount of add-ons it received such as the Sega CD and the 32X, but who really has time for all that? Oddly enough, the Genesis is still kind of available due to licensed third party re-releases of the console, (Sega just prefers to create consoles for the long term?), and has almost sold almost 31 million units so far which was a much better run that previously released Sega consoles. Not to forget that the Genesis was also Sega’s main soldier in the war against Nintendo as they would often pride themselves on the fact that Sega did what Ninten…did not? Sure, just go with that.

America's top scientists are working on that joke as this is being typed.
There is a joke somewhere about Sega Uranus.

So, considering the success of the Sega Genesis at the time (which could also be a whole editorial in itself due to the fight between Sega and Nintendo at the time), the Sega Saturn was developed and released in November of 1994 in Japan and May of 1995 in North America. Now, the first thing that has to be mentioned is that this May 1995 launch was a sort of surprise as it was actually scheduled to be released four months later. Looking back at it now, this could probably be regarded as a “bad” move or maybe even a “mistake.” This launch date also led to only about 6 games being available at launch as the other third-party games were still scheduled for the date four months down the line, which made the $50 million marketing campaign seem like kind of a waste. The Sega Saturn faced a lot of self-afflicted adversity, but ultimately the console was a failure as the Nintendo 64 swept it away in sales and Sega was never able to release a Sonic game for the system which was frightening considering his success for the Genesis. However, the Saturn was home to the “Nights” franchise as well as the “Panzer Dragoon” series, so while the console itself did not do well, it did start some better tomorrows for other developers.

That was it for this editorial as the Sega Dreamcast will be covered in the “Recent” section of this series since it is technically the most recent console that Sega has released (not including the Advanced Pico Beena). Next week should be all about Microsoft and their endeavors in the video game console industry. Do you like this idea for a series of editorials? Do you have other ideas for potential series, or can you just not wait until an editorial is made about the vast amount of Sega add-ons? Do you wish that there was something else covered that may have been forgotten about? Make sure to leave a comment below and let us know what you think!



  2. I own two of these systems! And I had never heard of the SG-1000 until reading this.

  3. The SG-1000’s Congo Bongo (ported from Sega’s arcade machine) ended up being ported to just about every other console of the day, usually badly. The Atari 2600 version was very promising (by the standards of the day), but ultimately controlled too badly to gain traction or fans.

    I recommend playing the arcade version of Congo Bongo. It’s really a very good game.

  4. @Sebahamut: I’m finally teaching the things!

    @Lusipurr: I know I’ve played Congo Bongo but I don’t know where, maybe on my PSP since I have a Sega Classics Collection?

  5. The Saturn was actually a much better console than the N64 – but it faced the same problem that the Xbox One faces today; and that is that it was aimed at the same demographic as Playstation, while at the same time being worse than Playstation.

  6. @SiliconNooB: The Saturn could and should have done a lot better than it actually did, and ultimately I think that it was the way the Saturn was executed (not like the kill version of execute I just couldn’t think of a better word) that was its downfall.

  7. I’m a huge Saturn fan.Older brother got one day 1 and Virtua Fighter. It blew my mind. Love the Panzer Dragoon series as well. Lots of solid imports. Deserved better.

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