Mega Drive, European Launch

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

  1. NiktheGreek

    NiktheGreek

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    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.
     
  2. Pirate Dragon

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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 I didn't realise that the bookazine was that old, so that explains the "out of date" dates.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?
     
  3. NiktheGreek

    NiktheGreek

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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.
     
  4. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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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.com/?q=columns+mega+drive
    http://uk.picclick.com/?q=columns+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.
     
  5. Pirate Dragon

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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.
     
  6. Pirate Dragon

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    So Mega CD 1 also released in Sweden on May 27, 1993 for SEK 3,495. Probably only about 2-3,000 units. So pretty much all significant PAL distributors (Ozisoft - Australia, Giochi Preziosi - Italy, Playmix - Nordic Countries, and Sega Europe - rest of Europe) received it in limited quantities, just Sega Europe decided that their 68,000 units weren't enough to bother releasing outside of the UK in the other countries they covered. Maybe Playmix decided the same, releasing only in Sweden out of the Nordic countries.

    http://segaforce.ramis.se/tidningar/sega-force-1993-nr-3

    [​IMG]

    http://hemdatornytt.selda.se/1993_07/#/38/

    [​IMG]

    http://segaforce.ramis.se/tidningar/sega-force-1993-nr-4

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Cooljerk

    Cooljerk

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    I know that, as late as the Sega Saturn era, France and Spain received different games than the UK. Dragonball Z: Legends, for example, only launched in Spain and France (and the french version actually has a french translation).
     
  8. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Adverts are useful:

    http://segaretro.org/File:GameGear_US_PrintAdvert_3.jpg

    Officially the Game Gear launched in the US on April 26, 1991, but like the Mega Drive, it appears it had a pre-release test run thing in New York and Los Angeles on the 15th. That means US systems are 11 days older than previously thought!
     
  9. Meat Miracle

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    By the Saturn era, a lot of games started getting different releases per country. FIFA games in particular had many localizations, so did Disney games. And many german releases had toned-down violence on top or next to other localizations. I think even the Mega CD had one or two non-English localizations too.

    The case with Dragonball Z games is a bit more peculiar - it was a gigantic hit in France so they had many of the games translated (to various degrees of accuracy) and brought over. Including the SNES and Megadrive games too (I have the French copy of the latter). One of them even had a French soundtrack CD with different (worse) instrumentalizations of the tunes.

    Not sure if the UK itself got a copy, but there definitely were European stand-alone releases of Columns, Super Hang-on, and World Cup Italia 90. I had two of the three and they were some of my favourite titles. They also appear on that early giant sized Sonic poster that had all the early games listed on the back (there was another version of that poster with Sonic Spinball, that had MD2 related stuff on the back, and it had hardware images too - infrared pads, master system converter 2, etc).
     
  10. Scarred Sun

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    Welp, this.
  11. Pirate Dragon

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    This was the European press launch as mentioned here. This is probably where the PAL prototype MD press shots came from. The console didn't get released until several months later. Something similar happened with the Game Gear, which had it's European press launch at the 1991 Monaco Grand Prix, but saw it's actual release about 6 weeks later.
     
  12. Pirate Dragon

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    It seems that Virgin had a sign at their stand saying "There are NO official Mega Drives on sale here today", so I guess that rules out ECES as an actual release date. That should narrow it down to the second half of September.

    http://I.imgur.com/zBF6mGu.jpg
     
  13. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Just a quick update - the "October 15, 1992" date for the US Sega CD launch doesn't seem to be grounded in anything. I couldn't find any reliable sources from the era to back up that date, however Sega Visions consistently says November 1992, which is backed up by GamePro and Mega Play. So Wikipedia, this book and many other websites are wrong, and have been since... 2001?

    Planned launch might have been October, but real launch was definitely November. Christ knows where the 15th came from.


    There's some reports out there that 50,000 units were sold in the three weeks before Thanksgiving (the 26th), which if true this would hint at a launch in the first week of November. There's talk of "selected retailers" which makes me think this was a relatively quiet and possibly staggered launch, probably due to a lack of inventory. That or it was $300 and the software was crap. You can see why they might have preferred to talk about Sonic 2.


    Unfortunately US gaming magazines were horrible things back in the day and just gave vague indicators of when things would be on sale. As such I'm not sure how many of the "20 launch window titles" were actually available alongside the console. This is the list we currently have:

    - Black Hole Assault
    - Chuck Rock
    - Cobra Command
    - INXS
    - Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
    - Night Trap
    - Sega Classics Arcade Collection (pack-in)
    - Sewer Shark
    - Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. I (pack-in)
    - Sol-Feace (pack-in)

    However there seems to be a suggestion that Chuck Rock and Sewer Shark were pushed back to December, and I also have a sneaking suspicion that Black Hole Assault (just) missed the launch date too. Wonder Dog might have also been close, but they were definitely writing off games like After Burner III (and Sonic 2 CD) for 1993.
     
  14. Mentski

    Mentski

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    Did anyone ever find any info on the PAL "prototype" MD in the Special Reserve ad?

    http://imgur.com/MgNbl7h

    As I said earlier in the thread:
    Clearly it's some kind of mock-up/promotional photo, and probably never even had hardware inside (I mean... check out the cool wireless pad!), but as a fan of the MD's original JP colour scheme, It just seems like an interesting thing that just seems to have gone relatively unnoticed...

    I even pointed it out to Darren Wall when he was making Mega Drive/Genesis Collected Works in the hope he might get clearer photos of it for the book... Sadly nothing came of it.
     
  15. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    That shot was in ACE #36 (1990-09) if that means anything

    http://retrocdn.net/index.php?title=File%3AACE_UK_36.pdf&page=24

    Two months later Virgin were putting out official Mega Drive adverts with the final design. I would imagine that shot coincided with some sort of computer event in the summer of 1990 (July-ish?) - it might turn up eventually.
     
  16. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Sorry, did I say July, I meant January:

    http://retrocdn.net/index.php?title=File%3AJoystick_FR_003.pdf&page=28
    Joystick #3 (March 1990)

    Apparently Virgin had a stand at the "29éme Salon du Jouet" (29th Toy Fair) in Paris between the 31st January and 6th February, 1990.


    I don't know how much I trust the description - this is more than a year after the Japanese launch, and tablets and modems should have been off the table by then.


    More info would be lovely.

    EDIT: ding ding ding ding

    http://retrocdn.net/index.php?title=File%3AJoystick_FR_004.pdf&page=38

    EDIT 2: and another shot

    http://retrocdn.net/index.php?title=File%3AJoystick_FR_007.pdf&page=95
     
  17. Pirate Dragon

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    Great find, it dates back further than I thought. So, I've come across a sample Japanese Mega CD 2 (and it looks like the Mega Drive 2 it comes with may also be a sample) from September 1992 (MD2 & MCD2 released in Japan 93.04.23). It looks pretty final apart from the buttons looking painted (is it a known issue in standard units for the blue to rub off revealing purple plastic?) and the stickers on the bottom, but I would think it likely that it has an undumped bios. Edit: Never mind, I bought it now
     
  18. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I could never tell what colours the blue buttons were meant to be - between poor scans, dodgy photos and bootlegs I've seen most of the colours in that part of the spectrum.

    Those nasty bromine-based fire retardants popular at the time cause white plastic to turn yellow (and then brown) when exposed to UV light. You don't really notice a problem with black, but I wouldn't be surprised if blue is affected.
     
  19. Pirate Dragon

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    Well, I've looked at them some more, and they're more than just samples. There's some differences between them and the final retail release, mainly with the MCD2. So it looks like they're actually prototypes. Exciting! Now I need to find out how to dump the bios.
     
  20. Pirate Dragon

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    Looking at usenet posts it seems that there wasn't a fixed nationwide release date. It was supposed to release Sunday November 8th in NY, but it didn't and most stores were expecting them on the Thursday. SoA were based in California, and presumably that's where shipments from Japan arrived, so maybe it released in LA earlier thanks to easier distribution.

    Motorola press release;