Mega Drive, European Launch

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Black Squirrel, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Pirate Dragon

    Pirate Dragon

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    S Magazine 12, November 1990 (Published 3rd Oct 1990)

    This is the first S Magazine to feature Mega Drive game reviews (they didn't cover import titles at that point), and the first one to be published after ECES 1990.

    [​IMG]

    Independent retailer lists 17 games (excluding the bundled Altered Beast), so a slight difference there. Prices appear to be official RRPs.

    [​IMG]

    Sega Power 13, December 1990 (Published 7th Nov 1990)

    S Magazine changed name to Sega Power. Virgin increase projection of UK Mega Drives sold from Sep-Dec.

    [​IMG]

    No official consoles in UK in July, confirmation that the magazine is written two months prior to the cover date.

    [​IMG]

    Same games as advertised in previous issue, this time with "THE UK MEGADRIVE HAS LANDED"

    [​IMG]

    A bit less specific than the previous issue "The Megadrive has come online and with over a dozen superb titles it is a red hot item."

    [​IMG]

    Maybe issue 11 has a list of launch titles, but September seems to be pretty much confirmed.
     
  2. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    Hmm, according to this, SEGA products were being distributed by Proein until 1991, when Virgin Mastertronic became their new official distributor.
     
  3. Pirate Dragon

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    Seems to be mistaken;

    http://www.smspower.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=72479

     
  4. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    Well that's odd, considering the guy being interviewed was the founder and main guy at ERBE, who then had to leave ERBE when he was asked to become the head of the newly-formed SEGA España.

    Also, that interview was conducted by an ex-employee of SEGA España, so I assume he should know about these things...
     
  5. Pirate Dragon

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    Does this not confirm that Erbe had a distribution agreement with Virgin Mastertronic?

    And this confirms that prior to that PROEIN were the distributors?

    I'm not seeing any contradiction here unless my comprehension of the Google Translation is incorrect.
     
  6. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    Ah sorry, you're right, I guess I missed this sentence when I first read through the interview:
     
  7. Pirate Dragon

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    No worries, just wanted to make sure this was correct.
     
  8. Pirate Dragon

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    Sega Power 28, March 1992 (Published 6th Feb 1992)

    UK Game Gear release date: 24 June 1991

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Meat Miracle

    Meat Miracle

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    Sort of related, has anyone ever seen a PAL Megadrive that was VA3 or earlier? The earliest PAL board I've seen dates to 1991 March and it's a VA4 already.
     
  10. TmEE

    TmEE

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    I don't think EU ever saw a VA3, I have only seen VA4 and newer.
     
  11. Meat Miracle

    Meat Miracle

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

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    17 AUG 1990?

    http://segaretro.org/images/3/35/IC_BD_M5_PAL_VA4.jpg
     
  13. Pirate Dragon

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    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.

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    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)
     
  14. Mentski

    Mentski

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    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?
     
  15. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    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
     
  16. Pirate Dragon

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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.

    [​IMG]

    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.abandonware.org/magazines/Joystick/joystick_numero007/Joystick%20N007%20-%20Page%20094%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.abandonware.org/magazines/Player%20One/playerone_numero001/Player%20One%20001%20-%20Page%20014%20%281990-09%29.jpg
    http://download.abandonware.org/magazines/Player%20One/playerone_numero001/Player%20One%20001%20-%20Page%20015%20%281990-09%29.jpg
    http://download.abandonware.org/magazines/Player%20One/playerone_numero001/Player%20One%20001%20-%20Page%20016%20%281990-09%29.jpg

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

    http://download.abandonware.org/magazines/Tilt/tilt_numero081/TILT%20-%20n081%20-%20septembre%201990%20-%20page110%20et%20111.jpg
    http://download.abandonware.org/magazines/Tilt/tilt_numero081/TILT%20-%20n081%20-%20septembre%201990%20-%20page112%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.
     
  17. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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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
    [​IMG]
    can't see the controller ports though
     
  18. Pirate Dragon

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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.
     
  19. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    And a prototype Game Gear!
     
  20. Pirate Dragon

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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".

    [​IMG]