Now or Never
Sunday, April 13, 1997
Six years ago, the Sega Genesis was looking to fail. Sales were low, and Nintendo was about to unleash its new 16 bit system. The Genesis was only two years old, and at the time Sega had yet to release that killer title needed for success. Then came Sonic the Hedgehog. With awesome gameplay and super fast graphics, Sonic captured the gaming market. The game lifted Sega out of the pits and eventually, gave Sega a dominating share of the 16-bit market. Today, it looks like a similar situation is forming. Sega is again not faring well, and they are looking for something that will bring them out of this rut. Can an old stand by do it again for Sega? I most certainly hope so. Project Sonic, formerly known as Sonic X-treme was delayed a year while the developers took a new approach to bringing Sonic to the Saturn.
Sega has been doing a lot of soul searching lately, the incredible games that littered the Genesis days just aren't appearing. True, some previous hits have been brought back for the Saturn, but they just have not succeeded to such a level that previous titles did. I still yearn for a great platform game like Revenge of Shinobi (which I still play often), but have yet to find one on the Saturn that has captured my attention as it. Another great hit, Streets of Rage, was the proliferation of what is needed for a great game. Endless playability, simplicity, and with a killer soundtrack to smooth things out. Yuzo Koshiro, is perhaps one of the most successful game composers ever. While he has fallen some in recent years, I will always remember the work done in Revenge of Shinobi, and Actraiser. Sure, games with a deep and involving plot are great to play, but a game that I can play over and over again without worry toward the plot is tops.
A weak area is Sega's marketing. They have been looking in the wrong area of the market. There are two goals of a gaming advertising campaign: to get new customers, and to get the competitors customers. Sega has been doing a little here and a little there, but not on the scale that's necessary. The Sega Scream has been resurrected, but will never reach the level of the old Genesis adverts. Other Saturn campaigns such as, "A Little Too Real," and "Head for Saturn," have also failed. Perhaps Sega should talk with Microsoft about marketing strategy. MS has some of the best commercials I've seen. While I have no great love for the corporate MS, I do admire how well their ads get the point across.
I miss the Old Sega, though I am still looking forward to what is in store this year and beyond. The Genesis was two years old before it took off, perhaps this time Sega's latest console, will do it on its third birthday with a new Sonic, and other arcade ports. Maybe I'm being too nostalgic, though if Sega doesn't do something big this year, there may not be another chance with the Saturn. What do you think?
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