Episode 16 - The State of Gaming: Sega

In this episode, Chris and Aaron examine the past, present, and future of one of gaming’s most iconic companies: Sega. It’s a roller coaster of ups and downs, the the gamers are up to the task. What did they do well, and where did they go wrong? Aaron and Chris analyze their future path and outline plans to bring them back to greatness. If you were a gamer through the 90s, this episode will strike a chord with you! The gamers then report back on their non-game assignments from last episode: Child of Eden and PixelJunk 4 AM. In keeping with the Sega theme, next episode’s assignments include Kid Chameleon and Earthworm Jim, two well-known Genesis titles from the 90s.

Show Notes:

  1. BCG Discussion Topic - The State of Gaming: Sega
    -Beginnings
        -Founded in 1940 in Hawaii focused coin-op machines (primarily slot machines)
        -Ultimately moved to Japan as US started outlawing gambling/slot machines
        -Contributed to the arcade gaming boom of the late 70s
    -Notable Contributions
        -Arcade Cabinets
        -Sega Genesis - Tom Kalinske led the USA charge
            -Sonic the Hedgehog a critical turning point - created by Juji Naka
        -Game Gear played a part vs. the colorless GameBoy
        -Breaking Nintendo's stranglehold on the industry in the mid-80s and early 90s
            -Read about this great story in Console Wars, by Blake Harris
    -Missteps
        -Sega CD - was it really needed?
            -Addons don't usually increase console sales and overall attach rate
        -32X - bridge the Sega CD and upcoming Saturn
        -Saturn - too little, too late; Playstation had better 3D support, was easier to develop for, and didn't suffer from the "fooled me once" issue with Sega's large number of consoles and addons
        -Dreamcast
           -Great hardware, awesome games
           -REALLY too little, too late
           -PS2 was just on the horizon, and people didn't trust Sega anymore
    -Life Support
        -Isao Okawa - chairman of CSK Holdings, majority shareholder of Sega Enterprises
            -Loaned $500M to Sega to pay off loans; later forgiven just prior to his death
            -Upon his death, donated his shares of CSK and Sega to Sega, infusing nearly $700M into the company
            -Is Okawa the primary reason Sega still lives to this day?
    -Sega since exiting the console business
        -Mainly known for manufacturing pachinko machines (more than half of the company's revenue in 2015 and most profitable)
        -Continues to develop and publish games, and has acquired many developers/franchises; over 2,000 in the games division
        -Arcade cabinets and resort/casino properties - an area Sega is investing in heavily
        -Was this move a good one? How does this compare to the notion that Nintendo should do the same?
        -How about the new Sonic game?
  2. Game Assignments
    -Last episode's assignments: Chris - Child of Eden; Aaron - PixelJunk 4 AM -> Magic Duels
    -Next episode's assignments: Chris - Earthworm Jim; Aaron - Kid Chameleon

Retro Rerun Episode 8 - Streets of Rage 2 (Genesis)

There comes a time in every gamer's life when they feel the undying urge to get out there and clean up the streets, one skull crack at a time. But let's face it: none of us want to dirty our fists. History has always looked fondly upon that what can deliver such an experience without all of the ... punching.

In what is most likely the most important (and the longest) Retro Rerun to date, Chris and Aaron play the undisputed best game on the Genesis* and all-around amazing beat-em-up, Streets of Rage 2. We're taking this all the way--for science. And, of course, Aaron has a reputation to uphold.

*not a scientific determination