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Mega Drive, European Launch aka the internet lies

#31 User is offline Meat Miracle 

Posted 20 October 2013 - 09:12 AM

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All the while, I'd like to see a 1990 made PAL Megadrive.

#32 User is offline Pirate Dragon 

Posted 20 October 2013 - 12:42 PM

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17 AUG 1990?

http://segaretro.org..._M5_PAL_VA4.jpg

#33 User is offline Pirate Dragon 

Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:02 AM

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View PostPirate Dragon, on 28 February 2013 - 06:09 AM, said:


The main problem is that monthly magazines were too out of date by the time the next issue released, we need access to weekly magazines. For UK MD launch there were two weekly consumer magazines, "Popular Computing Weekly", and "New Computer Express". Both are available on World of Spectrum, but no issues from around the MD launch, in fact it seems that the very last issue of Popular Computing Weekly was the one reporting on ECES 1990. New Computer Express continued until October 1991. In the mean time Games-X (some issues available on Amiga Magazine Rack) started in April 1991 and lasted until March 1992 (fortunately I have a full set of these). After that there are no more consumer weekly magazines in the UK.


I've recently obtained close to a full set of New Computer Express, just missing 4 issues out of 152. Unfortunately one of those missing (issue 100) is just after UK MD launch.

Posted Image

New Computer Express 96, 8 September 1990 (Published 6th Sep 1990)

ECES 90 Preview;

http://I.imgur.com/13zEYox.jpg
http://I.imgur.com/iKGYy95.jpg

New Computer Express 97, 15 September 1990 (Published 13th Sep 1990)

Article about MD launch at ECES 90 (20 games available before Christmas)

http://I.imgur.com/Eu8FbbZ.jpg

New Computer Express 98, 22 September 1990 (Published 20th Sep 1990)

ECES 90 Report

http://I.imgur.com/tR9JsXR.jpg
http://I.imgur.com/7I97URS.jpg

New Computer Express 99, 29 September 1990 (Published 27th Sep 1990)

Article about third parties developing for Sega systems, mentions 17 games for the Mega Drive.

http://I.imgur.com/0K8VBEp.jpg

Same advert as in S magazine featuring 17 games.

http://I.imgur.com/7RWUmQ9.jpg

Article about first converter to play Japanese games on UK systems.

http://I.imgur.com/vM4VWaI.jpg

New Computer Express 102, 20 October 1990 (Published 18th Oct 1990)

Article about the TeraDrive, "There are currently 17 games available for the console".

http://I.imgur.com/qEJB9nG.jpg

New Computer Express 103, 27 October 1990 (Published 25th Oct 1990)

Advert from a different company featuring the same 17 games.

http://I.imgur.com/ubS2O9g.jpg

I'd be inclined to go with September 15 1990 as UK MD release date, most of the companies attending these shows had stands where they sold their wares (including Virgin Mastertronic for computer software at least according to one letter), and it doesn't seem that anyone was advertising official MDs prior to ECES 90. It probably took a week or two to filter through distribution channels before they appeared in High Street stores (an article in October where they visited high street retailers mentions Dixons had the Mega Drive in stock).

The 17 games it seems to have launched with (along with the bundled Altered Beast);

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (£29.99)
Arnold Palmer's Tournament Golf (£34.99)
Forgotten Worlds (£34.99)
Ghouls 'n' Ghosts (£44.99)
Golden Axe (£34.99)
Last Battle (£34.99)
Mystic Defender (£34.99)
Rambo III (£29.99)
Revenge of Shinobi (£34.99)
Space Harrier II (£34.99)
Super Hang-On (£34.99)
Super League Baseball (£34.99)
Super Thunderblade (£34.99)
Thunder Force II (£34.99)
Truxton (£34.99)
World Cup Italia '90 (£29.99)
Zoom (£29.99)

Peripherals;

Arcade Power Stick (£34.99)
Powerbase Converter (£29.99)
This post has been edited by Pirate Dragon: 01 November 2013 - 11:08 AM

#34 User is offline mentski 

Posted 02 November 2013 - 02:42 PM

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View PostPirate Dragon, on 01 November 2013 - 11:02 AM, said:


Hold on a minute.... Is that a prototype EU Mega Drive in that pic?

Japan colour scheme, Japanese "MEGA DRIVE" logo (with the registered trademark symbol next to the Sega only seen on earlier Japanese MDS), but with no cartridge lock under the power switch, the smaller "16-BIT" logo and a EU copy of Altered Beast in the slot.

I remember seeing it in the Special Reserve ads back in the day and just assumed it was an alternate Japanese or Asian model, but looking back that's clearly not the case.

Has this model ever been documented anywhere?
This post has been edited by mentski: 02 November 2013 - 02:50 PM

#35 User is offline Black Squirrel 

Posted 02 November 2013 - 03:19 PM

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View Postmentski, on 02 November 2013 - 02:42 PM, said:

View PostPirate Dragon, on 01 November 2013 - 11:02 AM, said:


Hold on a minute.... Is that a prototype EU Mega Drive in that pic?

Japan colour scheme, Japanese "MEGA DRIVE" logo (with the registered trademark symbol next to the Sega only seen on earlier Japanese MDS), but with no cartridge lock under the power switch, the smaller "16-BIT" logo and a EU copy of Altered Beast in the slot.

I remember seeing it in the Special Reserve ads back in the day and just assumed it was an alternate Japanese or Asian model, but looking back that's clearly not the case.

Has this model ever been documented anywhere?

I've not seen it before, and I've spent a lot of time looking at Mega Drives on this screen.

The system was put back a few times. It was originally set for release in late 1989, then Spring 1990 - I wonder if they disclosed any photographs at the time.


I'll see if I can find this elsewhere

#36 User is offline Pirate Dragon 

Posted 29 December 2013 - 12:01 PM

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Got a few more issues of S, unfortunately not including issue 11, the issue immediately prior to release. Still, issue 10 has a blow out on the upcoming European MD release, so I scanned the whole issue;

http://imgur.com/a/zhLRQ#0

This magazine was published in early August. Whilst using a Japanese MD for most of the pictures they also have a couple of pictures of the prototype PAL MD. They look to be from the same set that the magazine advert came from. They also cover the 18 games available at launch, and a letter in the letters page suggests that Euro MDs may be available at ECES.

An interesting letter from Nick Alexander in issue 6 of S; Blames Sega for not starting manufacturing of PAL MDs until Summer 1990 (blames them for everything else too :p). I guess I was wrong to blame Virgin.

Posted Image

Press launch of MD in Paris on June 19 from S issue 9, and New Computer Express issue 86;

http://I.imgur.com/0GGdZwr.jpg
http://I.imgur.com/pnSpiLD.jpg

They note that there wasn't much difference between the Euro and Jap/US versions other than the cartridge shape.

Also note the article on Master System II having only one joystick port. They repeat that claim in a later issue too. Perhaps a proto SMS2, or maybe just a misunderstanding.

French magazines;

From the July/August issue of Joystick, a better picture of the proto PAL MD;

http://download.aban...4%20-%20095.jpg

Issue 1 of Player One (September 1990) has an article on PAL MD launch in September (lists same games again);

http://download.aban...81990-09%29.jpg
http://download.aban...81990-09%29.jpg
http://download.aban...81990-09%29.jpg

Tilt September 1990 also has an article on the MD launch, includes another picture of the proto PAL MD;

http://download.aban...%20et%20111.jpg
http://download.aban...%20et%20113.jpg

My guess is that these proto MDs were used at the Paris press launch in June, which probably occurred before the final retail units started being manufactured in the summer.

#37 User is offline Black Squirrel 

Posted 29 December 2013 - 12:35 PM

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I'd imagine that joystick port claim is wrong... seeing as the picture actually features two control pads. Then again it does have the unreleased Pat Riley Basketball.

I'm sure I've seen a better version of that shot somewhere...

EDIT: yes
Posted Image
can't see the controller ports though
This post has been edited by Black Squirrel: 29 December 2013 - 12:39 PM

#38 User is offline Pirate Dragon 

Posted 29 December 2013 - 12:41 PM

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I think it's most likely a mistake as there was a kind of "prototype" SMS2 released in the Soviet Union which had two joystick ports.
This post has been edited by Pirate Dragon: 29 December 2013 - 12:42 PM

#39 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 30 December 2013 - 09:42 AM

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View PostPirate Dragon, on 29 December 2013 - 12:01 PM, said:

French magazines;

From the July/August issue of Joystick, a better picture of the proto PAL MD;

http://download.aban...4%20-%20095.jpg

And a prototype Game Gear!

#40 User is offline Pirate Dragon 

Posted 09 May 2014 - 02:32 PM

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Not that I thought there was any doubt, but release dates can change since first announcement, which can be an issue with monthly magazines. Anyway seems that the UK Mega CD release date was "official" (possibly the first Sega hardware to have an official UK "street date", although maybe Game Gear had one too). Of course, as was usual at those times some retailers broke the street date, but I doubt that the ones that held to it got far with their complaints under "European Law". :p Anyway, nice to have an article confirming the date post-release rather that the usual pre-release.

Incidentally, why does Retro Gamer's "The Mega Drive/SNES Book" still use Wikipedia's UK Mega Drive release date as November 1990? We have a few Retro Gamer contributors here, would be nice if they could find out the actual release date, or at least use the September date of the ECES "launch".

Posted Image
This post has been edited by Pirate Dragon: 09 May 2014 - 02:35 PM

#41 User is offline NiktheGreek 

Posted 10 May 2014 - 08:46 AM

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View PostPirate Dragon, on 09 May 2014 - 02:32 PM, said:

Incidentally, why does Retro Gamer's "The Mega Drive/SNES Book" still use Wikipedia's UK Mega Drive release date as November 1990? We have a few Retro Gamer contributors here, would be nice if they could find out the actual release date, or at least use the September date of the ECES "launch".

I'll field this, since I'm the magazine's staff writer.

Titles like the Mega Drive/SNES book are compilations of older content, produced by Imagine Publishing's bookazines department, because the Retro Gamer team is too small to compile and review these editions in addition to producing the magazine itself. The office-based team consists of myself, Jon (designer) and Darran (editor), as well as Steve (production editor) who also looks after Play, so it's a tight ship. I'm not sure what (if any) revisions are performed by the bookazines team, but I'm guessing that they're minimal as the team lacks expertise in the subject.

As for our own writing process, we always write based on the best information we have available at the time and obviously expect the same from our freelancers. Sega Retro is a resource that we use when performing research, too - myself and Darran have both been using the site this week, as I'm writing about Crazy Taxi and he's trying to track down developers to interview. However, it's highly likely that when the article in question was written, November was still the best information available - the last major Mega Drive article that appeared in the main magazine was in January 2013, so it would have been sent to press before this topic was started.

#42 User is offline Pirate Dragon 

Posted 11 May 2014 - 04:16 AM

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Thanks for your response Nik. As a rule Sega Retro is far more accurate than Wikipedia, although we're probably less thorough in supplying sources (I'm guilty of that at least, but am always available for any queries). A big issue with Wikipedia seems to be with it using sources that originally sourced that information from Wikipedia itself, thus re-enforcing false information. I didn't realise that the bookazine was that old, so that explains the "out of date" dates. Where are the dates in "retrodiary" sourced from?

#43 User is offline NiktheGreek 

Posted 11 May 2014 - 06:46 AM

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Oh, I'm well aware that nobody here would allow inaccuracies to persist for too long. =)

Not sure where the Retro Diary dates come from as it's not produced in-house, but I'd guess old magazines as it's written by the same freelancer that does Back To The Eighties/Nineties, Richard Burton.

#44 User is offline Black Squirrel 

Posted 23 May 2014 - 04:32 AM

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Slightly related question: Did the Mega Drive port of Columns (as in, the stand-alone product) ever see a release in the UK?

I've been sifting through Australian releases, and a good chunk of their cartridges have discoloured Mega Drive logos, including Columns' (which is often a bit too blue). Thing is, when I do a comparison, with, say, the UK:

http://au.picclick.c...umns+mega+drive
http://uk.picclick.c...umns+mega+drive

Most of the results on the UK side are pics of Mega Games I. Other parts of Europe seem to have received stand-alone Columns, but it's surprisingly rare in the UK. Was it even released here? You'd expect to see it shortly around the launch window.


The other two parts of Mega Games I (Super Hang-On, World Cup Italia '90) were released separately as launch titles. Of course, Mega Games I itself was distributed with consoles at some point, so it gradually became pointless to have separate releases for these three.
This post has been edited by Black Squirrel: 23 May 2014 - 04:35 AM

#45 User is offline Pirate Dragon 

Posted 23 May 2014 - 12:42 PM

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It was reviewed in Sega Power when they only reviewed official releases. At £29.99, the review points out it's cheaper than standard Mega Drive games which were £34.99. It was also widely advertised by multiple "official UK software" retailers over a long period of time, so it really should have been released in the UK. It's not the sort of game people were upgrading to Mega Drive for in 1990 though (not much better than the SMS version), so probably just didn't sell that much.

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