Celebrating the Sega Genesis

When Sega’s 16-bit beast was first released in Japan, it made a big enough splash that it got everyone around the world to sit up and take notice of the future in console gaming. On this day (August 14) in 1989, it was our North American friends’ turn to get their hands on the shiny new Sega Genesis console.

A leap from the Master System, the Genesis brought home (almost perfect) arcade conversions, especially those from Sega’s own arcade stable. While most of the western world was still in the micro computing craze with their C64s, Amigas and Atari STs, Sega stamped their authority with their latest, and as history would record it, their most successful console ever. Why would you play Golden Axe on any other system when the Genesis version was like having the arcade in your bedroom?

The Sega Genesis went on to sell more than 18 million consoles in the U.S. alone, which definitely put a dent in Nintendo’s party. Speaking of which, Sega of America’s advertising was brutal and effective, always taking subtle (and not so subtle) shots at their main competition. Who could forget the legendary, “Genesis Does What Nintendon’t.” ad campaigns – ah, those were the days! We have a few more ads below to give you a jolt of nostalgia.

So happy anniversary to the Sega Genesis, you magnificent beast! What were your earliest memories of Sega’s 16-bit beauty? Hit us up on Twitter or Facebook to let us know.

image source: arcadesushi.com


One Hour of 1980s Video Game Commercials

Enjoy a trip down memory lane with Dave Freeman’s hour long compilation of 1980s video game commercials from the Video Game Commercial Archive that was released on DVD in 2007.

This video is jam packed with so much nostalgia, it will make you giddy!

source: Dave Freeman


Rare: From 8-Bit to Xbox One Exhibition

Woohoo (if you are in the UK),  the UK’s first major exhibition about a video games company – launches and it’s free!
Fans of video games can find out what goes into making a hit that attracts four million players at an exhibition in Coventry.

Entitled Rare: From 8-bit to Xbox One, this is the first ever exhibition dedicated to a video games company, tracking the 33-year life of Twycross-based Rare. It runs alongside Play: An Exploration of Toys, Games & Fun, a broader celebration of the history of play which features more than 200 items. Both will be running at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum until September 23.

Rare gives visitors the chance to try their hand at some of the company’s international gaming hits – such as Donkey Kong Country – and also find out more about the planning and creation of a new video game.

Further to that, there is also an opportunity to discover what it takes to work in an industry which is proving to be a major success story for the region. James Thomas, Lead Engineer at Rare, said the exhibition provided the perfect platform for the company to raise its profile in the local area and highlight how gaming is the latest form of play.

He said: “The company has been operating for more than 30 years and is a great success story for the area and for the industry. It began as an independent gaming business – set up by the Stamper brothers – creating and selling games for the ZX Spectrum.

“Rare, which was later bought by Nintendo and, subsequently, Microsoft, has produced some ground-breaking games over the years such as GoldenEye, Banjo-Kazooie and Viva Piñata.

“Our latest release, Sea of Thieves, has attracted more than four million players to date and has more than 200 people working on the game. “So this is a great time to be able to share our story with people from the area because this is a really positive period for gaming in the region.

“I think many people see a distinction between traditional play and gaming but my view is that this is just the next generation and, more and more, games are becoming social activities when friends play together rather than in isolation. “It is cementing ‘real life’ friendships rather than detracting from them which, again, isn’t something that is always appreciated or understood.

“The fact that Play is running at the Herbert meant this is a great opportunity to showcase Rare and its games, to show people what goes into making a global hit and, also, to give them an insight into careers in the industry.”
The Play and Rare exhibitions are kindly supported by Rare and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Francis Ranford, Cultural and Creative Director of Culture Coventry, said it had been a positive start to the exhibition.

Francis said: “The partnership with Rare has been incredibly positive for the Herbert and has added another exciting dimension to the exhibition. This collaboration has enabled us to showcase aspects of play which we would have otherwise been unable to and will ensure more visitors can relate and connect with the exhibition.

“We’ve had fantastic feedback so far and are looking forward to welcoming many more visitors over the course of the summer.”

To potentially feature in the exhibition, you can donate photos of your own toys to the Virtual Museum by using #playattheherbert on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

source: Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry


A Dolphin’s Tale: The Story of Nintendo’s GameCube

Stop what you are doing right now! Grab yourself a bite and a coffee, settle into your most comfy chair and read this tale, the very detailed tale of Nintendo’s GameCube.

A long time ago, in a gal…. Oh wait, wrong story! This story is long and detailed, so make sure you give yourself a lot of time to read every word, as it is well damn worth it. The retro gaming history buffs will absolutely love this, from the delay of the GameCube launch, designing the GCN, motion controls with Gyro-Pods and the pressure to create the perfect controller, to cultivating relationships with third-party developers and publishers, the decline of the GameCube and the end of their longtime partnership with Rare, this story has everything, warts and all!

Are you comfortable yet? If you are, settle in and enjoy Emily Rogers’ story of Nintendo’s GameCube.

image source: Dromble.com


SEGA Arcade: Pop-Up History

We know we said no more backing of Kickstarter campaigns, but when Read-Only Memory are involved, we make an exception. If you need convincing as to why they are one of the best gaming-related book publishers, then check out the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works, Britsoft: An Oral History and The Bitmap Brothers: Universe to name just a few.

The latest Read-Only Memory tome ‘Sega Arcade: Pop-Up History‘ has definitely excited us and tickled our nostalgic fancy. This will be a book of pop-up sculptures of SEGA’s greatest arcade cabinets: Hang-On, Space Harrier, Thunder Blade, After Burner, and Out Run! If this doesn’t excite you, then we have no idea what will. One thing is for certain, the quality and content will be top notch!

Check out the Kickstarter campaign now and make sure you get a piece of this awesome Sega arcade history!

image source: SEGA Arcade: Pop-Up History


Man Walks into a Bar and Sees a Pac-Man Machine

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

I recently walked into a hipster bar that I had never been in before. I immediately felt slightly old. Everyone there was in their early twenties; some of them didn’t look old enough to order a beer. As I made my way past the bustling, long bar, I noticed something in the back corner of the place that I hadn’t seen in a longtime.

A large group of twentysomethings were gathered around an original Pac-Man arcade machine. I hadn’t seen a Pac-Man machine since I was a little kid. It was a smack of nostalgia in a place I didn’t expect it.

Like the Rubik’s Cube or the DeLorean DMC-12, Pac-Man is an 80s icon. Seeing a vintage machine with a group of Millennials playing it, made me curious. I sat at a small booth near the Pac-Man machine and watched the young group feed the machine quarters. They were having such a blast trying to see who could reach the highest score with one quarter.

source: ausretrogamer

After a few craft beers, I wanted to try my hand at Pac-Man; but they had taken over the machine. It was entertaining watching them shriek and groan when they got devoured by a ghost. It may’ve been the first time any of them had ever played the arcade version of Pac-Man, but I still wanted my turn.

Pac-Man brings people together. From the time the game was released in arcades in October 1980, Pac-Man has been a unifier that you could play with friends. Pac-Man is cross-generational. It seems simple at first, but as you keep playing, the difficulty of each stage keeps you addicted to clear the maze.

When Pac-Man was released in 1980, movie theatre owners and movie moguls were worried that the game would hurt the film industry. Pac-Man was taking money away from Paramount and 20th Century Fox. Pac-Man’s enormous popularity was short-lived, but at its height, movie studio executives had to be worried about how long they would be competing with the bright yellow machines.

I never got to play the Pac-Man machine in that bar that night, but I enjoyed watching the twentysomethings play a game that this October will turn 38-years-old. Will there ever be another Pac-Man? I doubt it.

source: ausretrogamer


Highest-Grossing Arcade Machines of All Time

Let’s reflect and gloat for one second – it was great to be alive during the Golden Age of Arcade video games and experience arcade joints first-hand; from the clean franchised ones to the decrepit dark and scary independent ones – we loved them all.

Oh yeah, we loved the games too, from coin dropping in Galaga, Bomb Jack, Pac-Man, Tron, Double Dragon, DragonNinja to Sega’s beasts like Space Harrier, Super Hang-On, OutRun, After Burner and Thunder Blade – we spent up big and loved every single second of it.

The 1990s started with us hammering coins into Atari’s Pit-Fighter, Capcom’s Final Fight and Street Fighter II. However, it was Sega’s Daytona USA that emptied our piggy bank of coins – we just could not get enough of it.

source: The Arcade Flyer Archive

Looking at the top 10 highest grossing arcade games (below), we can tell you that we played them all during their heyday and understand why the dot munching Pac-Man is perched right up top – the game was a breath of fresh air (for its time), as it wasn’t a derivative of the then plethora of space shoot’em ups. Pac-Man was truly a revolutionary title which had universal appeal, both male and female gamers loved chasing Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde.

So what of Atari’s Pong then? Well, the 1972 game did very well for Atari, they sold somewhere between 8,500 to 19,000 units (1972 to 1973) grossing them around $11Million US dollars – not bad for 1973!

The revenues generated were quite staggering, reaffirming the Golden Age of Arcade video games period as the most prosperous of them all, with Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam flying the flag for the 1990s.

Source: Wikipedia, USGamer and Goliath