Game News

The Fall of Sonic Part.2: The Beginning of the End

In our first part we explored how Sega overtook Nintendo in the early 90’s to become the biggest video game company in the world. It was through attitude, marketing, and most importantly defining themselves as better than Nintendo. Despite the Super Nintendo’s better graphics card and superior sound board, the Genesis took an early lead in the console wars. It wasn’t to last however, as Sega’s odd obsession with the Genesis forged the beginning of its downfall. 

Part 2: The Beginning of the End

When you have something good it’s natural to want to hang onto it. George Foreman has his grill, Harley has its motors, and Sega had its Genesis. The problem with technology is that it’s ever evolving, and Sega seemed determined to hang onto its success for as long as possible.

Bloated, thy name is Sega.

In 1992 they introduced the Sega CD. An add on to the Genesis that gave it massive storage capacity, orchestral sound, and blurry full motion video. There was a large bet in the industry that full motion video was going to take off, and Sega gambled big. The problem with this expensive add on was the atrocious load times combined with a mediocre line up of games.

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

In the fog of these disasters was Sonic CD. Widely considered to be the greatest 2-D Sonic game of all time and for good reason. It featured time traveling worlds, introduced Mecha-Sonic, and had a captivating finale worthy of its name. Sonic CD remains the greatest game for this ill-fated attachment to the Genesis. 

Preceded Five Night’s At Freddy’s gameplay by nearly a decade, but was also complete bollocks.

At the same time the Sega CD brought enormous controversy to the industry with its title ’Night Trap’. It featured scantily clad girls escaping from vampires during a house party. In combination with Mortal Kombat, Night Trap managed to spark a senate committee hearing on video games that eventually created the ESRB.

Then in 1994 Sega released Sonic and Knuckles. It was a much beloved game that had the ability to attach other Sonic games into the cartridge to either enhance Sonic 3 or add Knuckles to Sonic 2. Its innovative technology was truly novel for its time, allowing you to play as new characters in older games. 

Nintendo was hot at the heels of Sega, gaining huge sales in the console market with the release of massive games like Donkey Kong Country. Sega was still determined to squeeze life out of the Genesis and released yet another attachment to the system: the 32X. 

The 32X was a cartridge attachment to the Genesis that would provide vector graphics and 32-bit processing. It was a monstrous plug-in that required a separate power chord, bringing the grand total to 3 if you owned a Sega CD. Few consumers were interested in shilling enough money to buy a new console for a mere add on, especially with the Sega Saturn on the horizon.

Almost as frustrating an experience as tether ball was during your childhood. 

While the 32X had an amazing port of Mortal Kombat 2, and a sub-par Sonic spinoff called Knuckles Chaotix, it failed to deliver a substantial library of games. Knuckles Chaotix was a Knuckles based platformer with a tethering gimmick that caused played to be locked in with another character at all times. While considered a cult status now, Knuckles Chaotix was poorly received at the time. 

The Octomom would be proud.

Still not satisfied with kicking its deadbeat child out of the house, Sega released a combination of the Genesis and the Sega CD called the Sega CDX. Then they released a portable version of the Genesis called the Nomad. Then they released two more versions of the original Genesis. All these devices were met with mediocre sales, as most consumers had already begun saving for the next generation consoles. 

In part 3, Sega goes head-to-head with Sony and Nintendo as the war between the Saturn, Playstation, and Nintendo 64 heats up. Promised as a savior to the now confusing Sega brand, the Saturn would face a whole new set of obstacles that would change the face of the company. 

Previous Article: The Fall of Sonic: Sega’s Last Breath – Part 1

Share This

You Might Also Like