Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Black Squirrel, Apr 22, 2022.
They did the same stickers trick with Sonic 2, I have cardboard to that effect.
I would doubt it was a choice fueled by software, because it probably takes time to design new PCBs (and there was no guarantee Sonic would have been a success). It's more likely to be a result of much of the Western world using RF connectors - most people wouldn't notice the change, so you can save some pennies, or something.
I'm not sure what the pricing strategy was - I noticed at the start of 1991, the Mega Drive (with a game) was retailing for £189.99, and by December it was £60 less, probably to undercut the Super NES launch in April 1992 (which was £150). But that only makes sense in Europe - in the US and Japan the SNES/Super Famicom was already doing its thing.
It's not the best source, due to the way the book is written. But the time frame in which Sonic the Hedgehog was packed in with the Sega Genesis is addressed in the novel Console Wars:
There are some "concrete" dates there, but are any of them actually accurate? Beats me. Presumably Blake Harris saw some document supplied to him by one of the many people he interviewed. We know the whole "Miles Monotail" story that's in the book came directly from Al Nilsen, so maybe Blake did get plenty more internal documents from the era, one that outlined their summer 1991 strategy. At the same time, he could be pulling these dates out of thin air, based on whatever the people he interviewed mentioned.
As an aside, I find it interesting that the book didn't repeat the idea that Sonic the Hedgehog was released on on June 23rd:
It's interesting because there are moments in the book that are definitely written as "oh this would make for a good scene in a film even though it clearly didn't happen that way," yet the low hanging fruit of "Sonic burst onto the scene on June 23rd, 1991" is avoided entirely. Maybe I should give Blake a bit more credit than I have in the past.
The "High Definition Graphics" bit is just from earlier versions of the Model 1 that have that text printed vs later versions that do not; there were at least two models without the text. The graphics chip was the same for versions with/without the text; the biggest change was the removal of the (mostly unused?) EXT port. There was a VA7 motherboard for the Model 1 that reportedly has awful sound quality, but that was aways into the text not being printed on the case.
I remember getting my Pal copy of Sonic in 1991, but the cart inside was clearly labelled as a Genesis cart, much like EA Pal Mega Drive games would do (Pal outwork on the box, but an America cart inside) . I can only assume SEGA Europe was having issue with stock/labbels and so needed to use Genesis carts, until more supply came in.
It released June 21st in the flagship store of the UK's leading specialist games retailer of the time. It must have also been released more widely to have made the ELSPA chart for that week. A news article on the back page was probably written earlier as it says that it was due to ship that week (brought forwards from September in order to beat the grey importers), but deadline for editorial content was the previous Monday, so news articles would be written 1-2 weeks prior to cover date. CTW had a weekly release dates list since 1989 with dates submitted by publishers, but it seems that Virgin Mastertronic didn't bother with submitting dates for Sega games, they started showing up from the September 16 1991 issue, after Sega Europe had been formed. I think they just shipped them out ASAP after they had cleared customs, without having street dates until Sega took them over shortly after. I don't think there's going to be a better publicly available source for the UK date than this.
Incidentally, Mega Drive software market share increased by over 50% during the release week of Sonic, from 3.8% to 5.8% in the Full Price category (ie excluding £1.99 budget cassettes).
I'm really enjoying that article talking about how the store owner was in shock from selling 12 units. Things have really changed.
What are those "google groups" things in the OP? I don't understand. How are those archives of internet conversations from 1991? What was the process like there?
I don't really understand what you are asking but newsgroups were extremely popular back then.
At some point Google bought them and integrated those old newsgroups into their system.
Newsgroups fell out of favor as Yahoo Groups and forums became more commonplace.
Basically they are Google's archives of Usenet newsgroups where people talked about Mario, Simpsons, the Berlin Wall, and occasionally stuff™. They're the old fashioned forums before the current Internet existed. People talked about Sonic using these channels... example being rgvac.
You could use these channels much like websites or IRC places. Nowadays they're antiquated and only people above the age of 35 still use them.
It's quite clear that S1 was not actually released on June 23 at all, but the question of why this specific date still remains. I'm thinking that this June 23 date was originally a "we need to have this ready by this date", while The Powers That Be were clearly not terribly concerned about it releasing earlier. It could be some sort of intended release date that made its way into whatever documents were being looked at during the development of Jam and so on. If this is at all true, then it's a date that would not mean anything outside of Sega until it was decided to use the date as a marketing tool.
Consider that Japan has always been particularly concerned about exact release dates. What do we know about the circumstances behind S1's release in Japan, if anything? Could there have been an intended earlier release for June 23? The fact that Sega decided to slightly revise the game for a slightly later Japanese release, which was later released elsewhere as a conventional update, interests me. Since there's quite a delay between finishing a game's code and getting that code onto cartridges to ship to stores, perhaps REV01 was additional work done before the actual release of REV00, that was seen as good enough to base (what initially was) a specific regional release around for whatever reason.
I was thinking maybe region coding had something to do with all this. Unfortunately, not much luck there. Sonic 1 is known for its TM use; in REV00, TM symbols are always displayed, while in REV01, playing the ROM on a Japanese console removes them. This seems to have been something started around the time of S1 specifically, as earlier games like Golden Axe and Altered Beast use particular policies worldwide, in this case R symbols. Alien Storm is a game that works exactly like S1 REV01, and was released within days of REV00. But Jewel Master is a game that was released sometime after even S1 REV01, and it uses TM symbols even in the separate Japanese ROM. Of course, there are the changes when REV00 is played on a Japanese console... not sure if this complicates anything or not. This might as well be rambling, but I thought I'd put it here anyway.
Conjecture is sometimes fun, but mostly frustrating. I wish there was more concrete info on this stuff.
Happy 32nd, Sonic!
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