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The Supreme Topic of 'Other' Knowledge. The stuff that simply has no other home.

#5911 User is online Black Squirrel 

Posted 11 October 2018 - 01:36 PM

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Posted Image

No but really, did you expect these merchandising people to go out an play Sonic 2 up until Oil Ocean Zone? That's silly - you just take one of the press screenshots instead.

specifically, this one:
https://info.sonicre...onic2_OOZ_2.jpg



Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Italian children wore the Simon Wai Sonic 2 prototype to school. Take your weird ball switch on the bus.

#5912 User is offline Prototype 

Posted 12 October 2018 - 02:24 AM

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I have a question that isn't really worth a thread. I figure here's the best place to post it. What was the deal with early Sonic stuff in Japan being named "SegaSonic"? Were they that intent on marketing the company name with the product, was it just weird translation stuff, or was it simply because there was a legal mess in Japan simply marketing something as "Sonic" or "Sonic The Hedgehog"?

I've never seen an answer to this.

#5913 User is offline Pengi 

Posted 13 October 2018 - 12:05 PM

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The original set of UFO Catcher plush dolls (released July 1991) had "SONIC THE HEDGEHOG" branding, but later versions had "SEGASONIC THE HEDGEHOG" branding. The tag design was otherwise identical, which suggests it was done for a legal concern, rather than just a design refresh.

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^ Both versions are in this photo. A consequence of the change is dead white space between Sonic's feet and the logo.

The change happened sometime in 1991, as the larger Sonic plush sold in stores has a "SEGASONIC" tag and a 1991 copyright: https://www.youtube....h?v=79v70iJaLT4

Manabu Kusunoki talked about the situation a little whilst discussing the SegaSonic the Hedgehog arcade game in "The Untold History of Japanese Game Developeres Volume 3".

Posted Image

#5914 User is offline The Growler 

Posted 13 October 2018 - 12:24 PM

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Sonic The Hedgehog Series Hits The 800 Million Unit Sales Mark
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Posted Image


#5915 User is online Black Squirrel 

Posted 13 October 2018 - 01:21 PM

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View PostPengi, on 13 October 2018 - 12:05 PM, said:

The original set of UFO Catcher plush dolls (released July 1991) had "SONIC THE HEDGEHOG" branding, but later versions had "SEGASONIC THE HEDGEHOG" branding. The tag design was otherwise identical, which suggests it was done for a legal concern, rather than just a design refresh.

There's something weird about this - the "SegaSonic" name does start showing up later in 1991:



but I've never seen it attached to Sonic 2 or Sonic CD... even though all the arcade games from that period use it. In fact it even turns up in merchandise as late as 1994.


So if it is a genuine legal issue... Sega must not have seen it as much of an issue.


(of course that advert uses an extract of "Merrily We Roll Along" from 1935... and I bet Warner Bros. has its hands all over that these days)

#5916 User is offline Prototype 

Posted 13 October 2018 - 01:58 PM

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I wonder if the "SegaSonic" branding hurt the brand's performance in Japan overall? I mean, it adds confusion as to what the character was even called, and certainly is a bit more of a mouthful. Did it result in a lack of brand cohesion?

Also, regarding the sales figures. Has there been any publication of the Forces sales vs. the Mania sales? Or would that reflect badly and cause some degree of shame for the Japanese developers? I imagine it's easier to just say "Sonic's doing well!" and not acknowledge that the game series is on life support.
This post has been edited by Prototype: 13 October 2018 - 02:11 PM

#5917 User is online Gryson 

Posted 13 October 2018 - 03:16 PM

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I'm slightly skeptical about that quote from Manabu Kusunoki because at the end he says "that's just my conjecture." Without seeing the original Japanese, it's unclear if the entire statement is conjecture and just translated poorly. In other words, he might just be guessing that Sega had a trademark dispute.

I say that because, yes, the SegaSonic branding was hugely prevalent in Japan, going back to the release of Sonic 1. Sega did not use the SegaSonic branding for any of its console releases, yet it did for most of its arcade releases (including the popcorn thing, the galaxy patrol, and unreleased SegaSonic bros) as well as for a lot of marketing material. You'd assume that if there was a trademark dispute, it would affect all releases. Also, I can't quite believe that Sega would have released an arcade name with the EXACT same title as their console game (Sonic the Hedgehog).

I find it more likely that somebody in their marketing department just thought it made a catchier title and, you know, emphasized the company.

View PostPrototype, on 13 October 2018 - 01:58 PM, said:

I wonder if the "SegaSonic" branding hurt the brand's performance in Japan overall? I mean, it adds confusion as to what the character was even called, and certainly is a bit more of a mouthful. Did it result in a lack of brand cohesion?


I think you're overthinking it.
This post has been edited by Gryson: 13 October 2018 - 03:18 PM

#5918 User is online Black Squirrel 

Posted 13 October 2018 - 04:25 PM

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View PostGryson, on 13 October 2018 - 03:16 PM, said:

Also, I can't quite believe that Sega would have released an arcade name with the EXACT same title as their console game (Sonic the Hedgehog).


It would be an oddball.

There are a lot of Sega console "ports" from that are noticeably different to their arcade counterparts, despite being called the same thing. Off the top of my head - Alien Storm, Moonwalker, Enduro Racer, Line of Fire, ESWAT - but the general vision is often the same and the arcade versions always came first.


Then again I can't think of a single 90s Sega arcade game that originated on a home console (except for Mega Play and Mega-Tech releases of course). Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing might be the first example of one and that was decades later.



But you know it's said that the Japanese weren't really aware of Sonic in the mid-90s, because the Mega Drive hadn't been a success. So maybe you do want to educate them through the arcades (given Sega owned hundreds of venues). Those "Project Sonic" games on the Sega Saturn? To raise awareness of the character - it might even be the sole reason Sonic Jam exists!

#5919 User is online Gryson 

Posted 13 October 2018 - 05:11 PM

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View PostBlack Squirrel, on 13 October 2018 - 04:25 PM, said:

But you know it's said that the Japanese weren't really aware of Sonic in the mid-90s, because the Mega Drive hadn't been a success. So maybe you do want to educate them through the arcades (given Sega owned hundreds of venues). Those "Project Sonic" games on the Sega Saturn? To raise awareness of the character - it might even be the sole reason Sonic Jam exists!


That's really not true, though. Sonic was very much known in Japan from the time the first game came out.

I just pulled a random issue of Famitsu off of my bookshelf - July 3, 1992 (a year after Sonic's release). Here are the top ten reader-rated games (year to date):

1. Final Fantasy IV
2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
3. Romancing SaGa
4. Sonic the Hedgehog
5. Tengai Makyō II: Manji Maru
6. Dragon Quest IV
7. Ys I & II
8. Super Fire Pro Wrestling
9. Shining Force
10. Super Formation Soccer

That's Sonic the Hedgehog, at number four in Famitsu, a year after it came out, holding its own against some of the biggest RPGs ever (notice: no Mario). The game was known. It was liked. It was the best selling Mega Drive game. And the Mega Drive was very much a success in Japan, if you define success as the company making money off of it and developers continuing to support it for 6+ years. (sorry for the long-winded reply: I've made it my personal mission to correct a lot of the misconceptions surrounding the MD in Japan)

Anyway, in regards to the naming of the arcade game, I can't really see any advantage to naming it the same as the console game, two years after the console game came out. It would just be confusing. Naming it "SegaSonic the Hedgehog" differentiates it and ties it into the whole marketing thing they'd been pushing since the release of Sonic 1.

#5920 User is offline Roller 

Posted 14 October 2018 - 06:12 AM

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Trademark law works on categories. It's technically possible they'd have it in the fields of video games, comics, and television, but not in toys, and only in Japan. Entirely conjecture, but it logically follows that the arcade machine might have been rebranded to have synergy with the claw machines it'd likely share an arcade with...
This post has been edited by Roller: 14 October 2018 - 06:13 AM

#5921 User is offline Pengi 

Posted 14 October 2018 - 06:57 AM

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View PostBlack Squirrel, on 13 October 2018 - 01:21 PM, said:

View PostPengi, on 13 October 2018 - 12:05 PM, said:

The original set of UFO Catcher plush dolls (released July 1991) had "SONIC THE HEDGEHOG" branding, but later versions had "SEGASONIC THE HEDGEHOG" branding. The tag design was otherwise identical, which suggests it was done for a legal concern, rather than just a design refresh.

There's something weird about this - the "SegaSonic" name does start showing up later in 1991:



Good point. The first Sonic 1 commercial only said "Sonic the Hedgehog". Do we have any way of knowing when the second version aired?

View PostGryson, on 13 October 2018 - 03:16 PM, said:

I'm slightly skeptical about that quote from Manabu Kusunoki because at the end he says "that's just my conjecture." Without seeing the original Japanese, it's unclear if the entire statement is conjecture and just translated poorly.


The whole exchange wouldn't make sense if the entirety of what he said was conjecture. The skinny is that there was some kind of legal issue, he wasn't aware of the full details, and Sega were maybe being overcautious.

View PostGryson, on 13 October 2018 - 03:16 PM, said:

Also, I can't quite believe that Sega would have released an arcade name with the EXACT same title as their console game (Sonic the Hedgehog).


In the interview, that was the first thing he said about the game, unprompted. There's really no reason not to believe him.

View PostBlack Squirrel, on 13 October 2018 - 04:25 PM, said:

There are a lot of Sega console "ports" from that are noticeably different to their arcade counterparts, despite being called the same thing. Off the top of my head - Alien Storm, Moonwalker, Enduro Racer, Line of Fire, ESWAT - but the general vision is often the same and the arcade versions always came first.

Then again I can't think of a single 90s Sega arcade game that originated on a home console (except for Mega Play and Mega-Tech releases of course). Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing might be the first example of one and that was decades later.


Did Sega have many console-to-arcade ports in the '80s? The only one I can think of is Champion Boxing (Yoshiki Kawasaki said that the SG-1000 version was developed first, but the arcade version may have been released first).

In general, Sega's console-born IPs didn't make the leap to arcades, so it was a pretty big deal when Sonic did.

#5922 User is online Black Squirrel 

Posted 14 October 2018 - 07:14 AM

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View PostPengi, on 14 October 2018 - 06:57 AM, said:

Do we have any way of knowing when the second version aired?

Possibly:

https://retrocdn.net...ega_Drive_scans

Beep! MegaDrive had a monthly column about advertising, although if you look hard enough, they'll also probably provide the answer as to why it became "SegaSonic" for a bit.

#5923 User is online Gryson 

Posted 14 October 2018 - 10:09 AM

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View PostPengi, on 14 October 2018 - 06:57 AM, said:

The whole exchange wouldn't make sense if the entirety of what he said was conjecture. The skinny is that there was some kind of legal issue, he wasn't aware of the full details, and Sega were maybe being overcautious.

In the interview, that was the first thing he said about the game, unprompted. There's really no reason not to believe him.


For many years, most people accepted that the name "Genesis" came about because of a trademark claim on Mega Drive in North America (see here) until David Rosen himself shot this down in Collected Works, saying it had nothing to do with a trademark dispute but rather that he just preferred the name "Genesis" and insisted on using it to signify a new beginning.

The point is, it's entirely possible that Manabu Kusunoki is telling the truth as he understood it at the time. He was a graphic designer on the game in question, though, which probably did not put him in a position to really know what was going on. That's pretty clear from the language of uncertainty that he uses. It's absolutely possible that a poor Japanese-to-English translation can erase a sense of speculation, which is indicated in very different ways in the languages (or, 25 years of time can also have that effect on the memory).

Anyway, there are some things that have to be resolved to work with what he's saying:

1) Sonic the Hedgehog CD came out right around the same time as SegaSonic the Hedgehog, but it didn't require a name change.

2) The term "SegaSonic the Hedgehog" was used in marketing of Sonic 1, implying that it was a marketing decision rather than a trademark issue (it would be ridiculous to say that the company couldn't use the title of its game in its marketing, despite still selling the game under that name).

3) Just about all Sonic toys and merchandise going back to 1991 use SegaSonic branding.

Maybe there was an issue with the trademark on merchandising that didn't affect the video games, and they simply changed the arcade game name to match the merchandising that was filling their arcades at the time? We'd need more info to determine that.

But I'd say it's jumping the gun to conclude that the term 'SegaSonic' came about due to a trademark dispute. I'm by no means rejecting it, though.

Edit: Here's the cover of the "Marugoto Sonic Fan Book" published Sept. 1993. Note the usage of both titles:

Posted Image
This post has been edited by Gryson: 14 October 2018 - 10:15 AM

#5924 User is online Black Squirrel 

Posted 14 October 2018 - 11:51 AM

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They're not even consistent on the SegaSonic arcade machine:

https://info.sonicre...nstructions.jpg

SegaSonic the Hedgehog
ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ
(Sonic the Hedgehog)

Also

Posted Image
Here's a telephone card. That Sonic Team logo didn't exist before NiGHTS in 1996, but I think this card is more likely from 1997 (and maybe even 1998?).

#5925 User is online Gryson 

Posted 14 October 2018 - 05:35 PM

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Here're some watches from 1992:

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Notice the package for the one on the left is SegaSonic, but the watch itself is just Sonic. Presumably, if they changed this for trademark dispute reasons, they wouldn't continue to sell previously branded merchandise.

I've always assumed they just rebranded to better associate Sega with the Sonic merchandise...
This post has been edited by Gryson: 14 October 2018 - 05:36 PM

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