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23rd June 1991

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Black Squirrel, Apr 22, 2022.

  1. Wazzok1

    Wazzok1

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    Thanks for all this. I stand corrected as regards the charts and your work, I'm not going to challenge it further.

    A lot of the evidence does really seem to hinge on weekly magazines, so Games-X, Computer Trade Weekly and New Computer Express, so there's limited opportunity for corroboration unless you get into daily local and national news, which online is usually paywalled or institutional access only, as I'm sure you're aware. It's a shame that there's essentially no trace of CTW online.

    I would still go for the official UK release date being 24 June, personally. The Games-X staff only had access to the game for at least two days by time of publishing Issue 10, so that's in theory 24/25 June at the latest. Monthly magazines I've come across published a week or two beforehand only had unfinished review copies to hand. The NCE chart is admittedly something difficult to overcome as it puts that date into question regardless of what Games-X says. Is it possible that grey imports caused the game to enter the charts before the 24th, or did Gallup only count official stock?

    P.S. Have you ever thought about becoming an archivist professionally? I mean, did you buy all these magazines one by one and scan them in yourself? That's serious dedication to the craft!
     
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  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I can only guess as far as grey imports go, but given the close release date between the US and Europe, I'm not sure it would have made a great deal of sense in Sonic's case (if the numbers were even counted). That was really only a practise when there were months, if not years between the official Japanese/American and European releases.

    One day I'll bother to chart this but my gut instinct is that Sega were quite good at keeping the gap small between US and European launches. It's Nintendo that didn't give a damn - they still had three month gaps as late as the Wii.
     
  3. Overlord

    Overlord

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    Yeah. Reminder that SMW was out in Japan for about 6 weeks before the UK got SMB2.
     
  4. LockOnTommy11

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    I thought 2 was released in the UK in about 1989 and 3 was the one released around August 1991 on the NES?
     
  5. Pirate Dragon

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    SMB3 didn't release until November 1st 1991 in the UK!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2022
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  6. Pirate Dragon

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    They only counted official releases as publishers had to send the game packaging into Gallup for a game to get tracked.

    I didn't scan most of those, I just mirrored them. I did scan any missing issues or pages. I used to buy nearly every magazine that covered Sega from late 1989 until 1993 when the number of magazines getting released became way too many to keep up with. They nearly all got thrown out at some point so I bought most of them again. TBH I find scanning pretty boring, but I do plan to scan some trade papers at some point.
     
  7. Overlord

    Overlord

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    Ah, seems I got a release date mixed up - nevertheless, Japan got SMW a good 9 months before Britain got SMB3, so yeah there was a long period where they were playing the 4th game while we only had the second. As noted, Nintendo gave zero fucks about Europe until fairly recently.
     
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  8. I don't have anything to add to the research, but I just wanted to say that I love topics like this one! It's always fascinating when further research challenges misconceptions we've had for the longest time. I will admit that I'd treated 1991-06-23 as the game's release date as common knowledge over the years, but on looking back I'm pretty got that fact via osmosis from being around others in the community since the end of the '90s, and it appears that they may have gotten this date from Sonic Jam.
     
  9. Pobert-Eii

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    Assuming Wikipedia isn't too feisty this year, I added a mention of this temporal discrepancy to the page; hopefully there's more reliable sources unearthed later.
     
  10. Pobert-Eii

    Pobert-Eii

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    Happy 31st anniversary, Sonic the Hedgehog!
     
  11. Brainulator

    Brainulator

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    That reminds me: at some point, I thought: "what does the United States Copyright Office have to say about this?" I take a look. Sonic 2 shows up: registration number PA0000602981, with a publication date of 1992-11-24, registered 1992-11-12. That sounds about right. As for Sonic 1?
    So Sonic 1 was registered later and given a publication date of April 28, 1991. If this is the case, then:
    • This seems to coincide with the 1991.APR date in the ROM's header.
    • Sonic 1 was listed in Sega's backup files as having been completed May 1. This makes me think that one of the two dates is wrong or misleading.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog and I have the same birthday, just 9 years apart.
    In any case, this doesn't help determine when the game was released as such. Oh, well.
     
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  12. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    It's wiki time. There's no need to be afraid.
    I have read April 1991 as being a planned release date, though you'd need to look through the Japanese mags of the era to confirm that.

    Dates weren't set in stone so would usually drift a few weeks/months before actually coming to market.
     
  13. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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  14. saxman

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    I think it's at least noteworthy that April 28 is exactly eight weeks before June 23. May or may not mean anything, but I find it interesting.
     
  15. Pobert-Eii

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    Happy... second 31st birthday, Sonic the Hedgehog!
     
  16. T.Q.

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    Happy 31st Birthday to Sonic as well (despite eternally being a teenager!)

    I think this is just the date to patent the game's software. 8 weeks seems reasonable, given the time to burn the carts, and distribute them to stores at the time.
     
  17. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    This is all very fascinating. It reminds me of how nobody knows when Super Mario Bros. first released in the U.S. and there was a great quest to track down the earliest date of that game.
    https://www.gamedeveloper.com/business/sad-but-true-we-can-t-prove-when-super-mario-bros-came-out

    The question is, why did Sega choose to list June 23 as the specific date of the first game? Why is that supposedly in their internal database? Why was a specific date so important to them, and if it was, why so late in the month?
    Publication dates are sometimes one or two days off apparently, so Sega's backup files could still be correct.
     
  18. XCubed

    XCubed

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    Ask your elder and you shall receive. I was 5 years old, playing Sonic 1 at a Service Merchandise in Miami and again at BJs Wholesale (where I witnessed debug mode for the first time but didn’t know what it was until 7 years later).
     
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  19. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Bumping because I found another error to quash. As Sonic 1 was being developed, there was talk about bundling the game with new consoles. This is something that ended up happening in every major territory, and significantly boosted Mega Drive sales. They'd later do the same with Sonic 2.

    However, these bundles did not, as many seem to report, go on sale at the same time as the game (and again, wasn't the 23rd June) - there were a few months where Sonic could only be purchased separately, so this idea of "ooh we're losing software sales" wouldn't have applied for those planning to buy the game in the summer of 1991.

    I haven't got a precise date for the US yet other than "not June" (although it probably wasn't long after), but in the UK, Sonic bundles did not arrive until early December 1991 (according to Electronic Gaming Retail News). In fact, the plan was to start offering such bundles in January 1992, but the date was brought forward.


    How do we know EGRN are correct? Well there are some clues:

    [​IMG]
    This was what your standard European PAL Mega Drive box looked like in June 1991. "High definition" console, red highlights on the controller, no game. I believe the RRP was £149.99 at this point.

    Sega's original plan seems to have been to redesign the box, start stocking the non-HD console, and drop the base price to £129.99 (bundling in Sonic to sweeten the deal). But my suspicion is that not all of the parts were in place by December 1991, which meant plan B:

    [​IMG]

    Stickers. Granted this might have been created to move unsold stock, but an unexpected early release could just as easily be the cause.

    [​IMG]

    Because in early 1992, the new boxes were ready. No more HD consoles, controllers with white highlights, and Sonic actually printed on the box (although as you can see, Sega Europe still relied on stickers for switching between one and two pad bundles).

    How do we know it's a 1992 box? Flip it over:

    [​IMG]
    Kid Chameleon is a 1992 game (and several of the others were released in late 1991).

    tl;dr - Sonic bundles:
    North America: Autumn-ish 1991
    Europe: December-ish 1991
    Japan: Whenever 1991

    not a worldwide release, not the 23rd June.
     
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  20. LockOnTommy11

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    Amazing. I love this thread.

    So, do we know if there is a direct correlation between Sonic starting the trend of AA+ title pack-in bundles for the Mega Drive, and the decrease in quality of the console (i.e non-HD versions?).

    It would make sense that to recoup potential losses on game development and manufacturing that they cut corners. Altered Beast was a pack-in but that was a port of a game which I’m sure required far less development and money to produce.

    I wonder if SEGA today hold any knowledge of this beyond the rhetoric that is always spewed. The Mini, for example, was bundled with the red-highlighted controllers but the box was a recreation of the Sonic bundle. Perhaps it was just the most iconic box art, though arguably the Altered Beast one might hold that title.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022