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Mailbag 133 - September 1, 2000


Mailbag
Reader Feedback, Questions, and Other Stuff

Got Feedback? Mail Us (Updated Every Friday)

Welcome to Mailbag. Every Friday, I throw some letters in. Anything you send to me could end up in here (unless you say "don't post this in mailbag, dammit!" or something), but I won't post your email addy unless you really want it published for some sick, twisted reason.

More Sega shenanigans:

Sega!

From: Francisco Samour
Subject: Sega in the third world

Sega here where I live (El Salvador) is like this dark console game company that only some people with illegal relatives living in the U.S. got to play. I got to play the FIFA games realeased for the sega Genesis and also Chakan, X-MEN 1, Fatal Fury and World of Illusion and enjoyed them a lot at my cousins home. The point is, I wanted a Sega Genesis but my parents bought me a NES (yuck!) because here in my pathetic stupid country people thinks that saying nintendo is the exact equivalent of saying video games, so even when you went to a store and asked for a sega they would show you nintendo stuff (because they didn´t had sega stuff anyway). I hate my country, I´m searously thinking on going ilegally to the U.S. and maybe sell drugs so I can get enough money to buy a Dreamcast, because the stupid people here now think that SONY is the exact equivalent of saying video games and nintendo is the word used by old people to say video games.

Hahaha, you're in luck! With SegaNet's latest rebate offer, you can trade in your used cocaine for a $100 rebate.

If you hate your country, why not start a new one or overthrow the government or something? Can't you do that in South America? That's really cool, because if you try to overthrow the government in America they throw you in "the clink." Also, you guys have more natural resources to waste than we do. All we have are strip malls.

From: Wojciech Slowianski
Subject: Sega Mailbag

Hi, my name is Wojciech(pronounced Voycheck), and I was a Sega fanatic.

I first got a Sega with Sonic 2 in the winter of 92(or maybe it was 93). Suddenly I was loyal to Sega for life(this is years before I got a PC). I was one of those losers who made envelope art for Gamepro, depicting Sonic holding Mario's severed head. Man I was a loser back then.

First, Sega's Shinobi series was great, including Shadow Dancer as well as the radically different Revenge of the Shinobi and Shinobi 3. Street Fighter 2 was much better on the Genesis I think. The six-button controller was much better, plus the sound was so many times better than on the SNES. Anyone remember when the first Street Fighter 2 came out for SNES? Anyone remember the music on Sagat's stage? It literally hurt my ears for life.

Nowadays the only classic games I like are arcade roms and NES roms, and other than that I do not bother with non-PC games. I HAVE BEEN CURED!!!

Of what, being a loser? I'd get a second opinion on that... :)

From: Bart Trzynadlowski
Subject: Mailbag: Sega

I have many fond memories from the Sega 16-bit era, starting with when I first got a Genesis at a local Toys-R-Us. I briefly considered the SNES which was about a year old then, but then I remembered playing Sonic the Hedgehog at a Genesis display set up and knew Nintendo could never compare. Boy was I... right! To this day I haven't seen quality nor quantity out of Nintendo.

I'm a big fan of the 2D Sonic games, I had every one for Genesis, and enjoyed every one thorougly. The Genesis kept impressing me, and I never _once_ had regrets about not going with the SNES.

Sega's ads are sorely missed nowadays. Their "in your face" SEGA! attitude was very unique in style, and they managed to pull it off without seeming to be conceited jerks. Sega always had a lot of respect for their customers I feel... People who ramble about the Saturn and 32X go on like broken records, but they seem to forget that Sega was at least decent enough to send out free Virtua Fighter Remix CDs to Saturn owners -- I'd like to see Nintendo do something as generous. On a more recent note, Sega has been very calm about emulation of its pre-Dreamcast consoles, and I'm quite surprised this hasn't seemed to gain them more respect. As someone who has/is working on emulating Sega consoles, the freedom of not having to worry about getting threats and what-not is pleasant. Sega apparently keeps a close eye on projects which deal with emulation of their systems.

I don't think I've ever had so much fun with a game as when I first brought that Genesis home, hooked it up, and popped in Sonic. It was the first console I owned, and I enjoyed every bit of it until I ended up selling it later on (a decision which I do regret.)

Nintendo can take their crappy game library and shove it up their ass :) "Welcome to the Next Level" or something ;)

Hooray!

From: DanMan1251
Subject: SEGA!!

Whooh! I may not have ever owned a Sega system, but I remember them all well! Starting with the Master System! "....and our Mega Cartridge...which is 4 times more powerful than other cartridges. The Sega Master System...of entertainment!" They also did funny ads for the games like After Burner and Shinobi with this guy saying "Wait till they see Phantasy Star!" and they also did "Major Fun and Games!" during that time.

Ok, and of course the Genesis ads, the first one I remember too, with somebody called "The Maker" showing them games like Last Battle and Altered Beast. Then, they stuck with the "It's a whole lot more, gotta get Genesis!" When the SNES came out, they brought out the famous tagline "Genesis does what Nintendon't." It still makes me laugh to this day.

Game Gear was interesting too, the one I remember the most is the dog one with the Game Boy, looking through its eyes to see which one is better... "If you were a dog, you would be drinking water from the toilet also."

Oh and of course, who could forget the "Welcome To The Next Level/SEGA!!!!!" campaign! It seems that screaming "SEGA!!!" was in everywhere you go. I remember the Streets of Rage 3/Sonic Spinball ones for those.

And the very first Sega Saturn ad, with "The Theatre of the Eye!" "Brain, phone call line 1, it's the sphincter." "WHAT IS THIS????" "Sega....Saturn!!"

Sega's ads will always be remembered as attention-getting, and that was probably the reason that it actually sold anything.

Also, on an unrelated subject, I remember an ad for the old game "Soldiers of Fortune" with these 2 fighters and a voice over... "Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter 2, both were fighting for Sega third party game of the year" then this badass comes from nowhere and it said "But Soldiers of Fortune blew them away."

I thought Sega's Saturn ads were AWFUL. Especially that video with the weird chick they sent out to everybody. Ugh.

From: TetraWizard
Subject: Sega memories

Hey, wassup! Well, I remember the blast processing ads....they were kinda funny actually. They showed one, it had like a side-by-side comparison of Super Mario Kart and Sonic 2. It showed Mario racing in his stupid little Go-kart, with the lame Mario music, then it showed Sonic zooming along at light speed.....I later found out that the only reason Sonic goes faster at times is because they disable a couple of scroll layers or something like that :/

Anyway, what I remember the most was going up to my friend Michael's house. He had the Genesis and Streets of Rage 2 (I had a SNES, :/). Anyway, in that game Blaze had this attack where she thrusted her hands forward and shot a blue beam, and she yelled "Psycho!".

Michael and I were playing 2 player one day, and a couple of friends were over....he was Blaze and I was Max. I suddenly realized that the way "Psycho" was said, it sounded like she was saying "Michael..!" in a slutty way......or at least that's how I interpreted it. I started copying her, and Michael was getting pissed...

Eventually after I said it a couple times he got really ticked off and kicked me outta his house! He grabbed me by my shirt (I was 8, and he was 13) and threw me out the door. I went home and played Mario Paint for a while.....

P.S. I haven't spoke to Michael for a few years, so if he is by chance reading this please email me. Thanks.

Wow, so you've been playing Mario Paint for the past seven years?!?

From: Dhardyboyz2
Subject: The Definitive SEGA Commercial

Aaah, yes, who could forget SEGA'S s great advertising of yesteryear (not now, though, these Dreamcast commercials are pathetic). To me, the first time I became aware of the masterpiece of hardware that is the Sega Genesis was in that classic commercial where they compared the SNES to the Genesis. You know what I'm talking about. There was some guy, I think he resembled the micro machines guy somehow, raving about how superior the Genesis was to the sloooow SNES. To prove his point, he showed a TV running Super Mario World and Sonic the Hedgehog side by side. The Super Mario World side had Mario trudging along in that lava level with the Blaargs and the skull rafts, while the Sonic side had Sonic zooming along through that really cool Stardust Speedway level at breakneck speeds. There was no question as to what game appeared to be superior.

From that moment on, I had to have a Genesis, and finally did get one that Christmas (I think it was '92, as Sonic 2 had just come out). Anyway it was that great commercial that sold me on Sega. They continued with many, many great commercials throughout the Genesis' lifespan( "SEGA!"). Nintendo's advertising was a joke compared to Sega's; remember that creepy commercial for the NES Legend of Zelda, with some nutcase in a black shirt running around a warehouse thinking he's Link? Awful! The Dragon Warrior Commercial was pretty good though("Now You're Playing With Power!").

However, Nintendo just could not compete with the advertising juggernaut that was Sega. However, things all started to go wrong around the launch of the Saturn. Remember that commercial where there was a theater full of people that all had eyes filled with the Saturn symbol. I had no idea what to think of those commercials. The latest Dreamcast commercials are simply dreadful, as they do not sell the game at all. The Space Cannel 5 commercial has doomed that game. Oh well, there was once a time when Sega could do no wrong, and were the kings of the commercial market, but those days are long gone. Sadly, unless Sega fires its current advertising morons, we will probably never see such glory days again.

I agree, Dreamcast commercials suck the cheese.

From: benroney
Subject: Genesis/SNES

I remember one time during the huge heat of SNES censorship and Sega's seemingly inability to care about what angry parents and senators thought (at least they did one thing better than Nintendo), I was at one of those EB game stations. The game? SNES Mortal Kombat. I was playing as Scorpian (isn't that who everyone picked?) and my opponent, an early 20's lookin guy who was playing as Raiden. Anyway, after the incredibly terribly and toned down fatality sequence, he said in great discontent, "Man, Nintendo is just for kids." I then told him, in a incredibly ill though-out and stupid move, that I myself owned an SNES. Considering I was 10 at the time, this merely reinforced his statement, as he replied in a sarcastic tone, "Exactly." Well, I have no idea what the hell why, but that one happening has pissed me off for 6 years. I have no clue why I took the time to write this, considering I have to be at work soon, as well. Oh, what the hell, it was worth it if this gets printed. Which it probably won't. *Sigh* it's a harsh world.

Indeed. BTW, if you're still pissed off at that guy you'll be happy to know that he died two years ago while trying to change a flat tire on a moving train. Now you can move on with life, as this emotional weight has been lifted from your tortured soul or whatever.

From: Batman
Subject: Sega Genesis

I don't remember how I got my Sega Genesis, but I do remember that I loved it. For years I was an avid fan of NES, but I don't really remember what happened to it after Genesis. I used to play Gauntlet constantly, but I tossed it aside and picked up Sonic. That game turned me into a Sega freak. I bought ever t-shirt, hat, or any other form of clothing with Sega written on it that I could find.

I was still really young (5 or 6 years old) so I really sucked at Sonic. I couldn't beat that damn level with the water and the guys that popped out of the ground. Sonic 2 was better. It had that two player race mode, so my brother and I could play at the same time, and whenever I beat him I would get a nice, solid right hook. I can't tell you how many concussions that game caused me :-).

Since I was so young I didn't fully understand some of the more complicated games. I really only played side-scroller action games. My favorites were always Streets of Rage 2 and some stupid X-Men game whose name I can't recall. My brother and I would play the Streets of Rage games over and over for days on end, stopping only for meals and bathroom breaks.

I'm pretty sure I'm the only person in the world who traded his copy of Diablo for a copy of Streets of Rage 2. Also, your last three movies sucked.

From: DaRock8421
Subject: Sega Memory

My favorite Sega memory is in the arcades, Sega's arcade games were top notch,I remember playing such classics as Out Run, After Burner, Space Harrier, Golden Axe & many more games I still love playing to this day. I have a top 10 favorite Sega arcade game list, so here's my best David Letterman

1. Out Run 2. Golden Axe 3. Shinobi 4. After Burner 5. Moonwalker (It was fun, you gotta admit that, if you disagree, bite me) 6. Altered Beast 7. Daytona USA 8. House of the Dead 9. Title Fight 10. Space Harrier.

Nowadays, Sega is the undisputed king of arcade racing, In 1986,It was Out Run & Hang On, in 1992,Virtua Racing, '94 brought Daytona USA to the arcades '95 was Indy 500. 1999 brought us Daytona USA 2 which is an awesome game. The action games were awesome, Golden Axe is like Gauntlet, Double Dragon & Shinobi (another great Sega classic) put together. Shinobi is the most awesome ninja game ever,the closest is Ninja Gaiden Now, Sega is dominiating arcades with Crazy Taxi, Jambo Safari, Virtua Tennis & many other games that would take forever to mention. All in all,Sega is the arcade king. Long Live Sega Arcade Games!! Huzzah!!!!

OK, sure, why not?

Misc.

From: Lyle McDonald
Subject: Game of the Week

It was so good to see Out of This World as the Game of the Week this week (uhh, yeah). Made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (or it's my appendix acting up again).

OOTW was and is truly one of my favorite all time games for the Genesis (along with Flashback which was both better and worse in so many ways). In fact, I recently broke out my old Genesis, which had been languishing in my closet out, picked up a copy of both OOTW and Flashback (and the two Ecco games) so that I'd have something to play besides Tony Hawk Pro Skater.

Even years later, both games were fun and challenging and gave a true feeling of accomplishment to win. Not something you can say about most games. While I remembered many of the situations and puzzle solutions, I had to trial and error my way (and even surf over to GameFaqs once or twice) through most of them.

Reminded me why I still loved games in the first place.

I love games because women are disgusted by my freakish appearance and large protruding knee muscles. Just kidding, I wish I had large protruding knee muscles!

From: Sébastien Berthet
Subject: About the game of the week : Out of this world

you didn't mention WHO actually made "Out of this World". The weird thing about this game is that it's been made entirely (exluding sounds and music) by ONE GUY : Eric Chahi. Eric worked first on Amstrad CPC (code+ graphics on "The Pacte" among other little games) and then moved to Atari ST/Amiga with "Time Travellers" (graphics only). He didn't then work anymore for Delphine Software, but for Amazing Studios (on "Heart of Darkness"). I met him just after "Time Travellers" came out, and I was the first man on earth testing "Out of this world" in his house ...

How did I come to playtest OOTW ? hazard only. I met Eric Chahi at the paris computer games expo (in 1989 I think), just after the release of "Time Travellers". By this time, I made a lot of drawings with Deluxe Paint 3 on Amiga, and I asked him how he did all the graphical stuffs of "Time Travellers". I also gave him a disk containing my latest drawings. A few days later, he sent me the disk back with all my drawings corrected by himself ! (I made perspective mistakes). After he got the two first levels of OOTW finished, he called me to throw an eye on them. I was very impressed by his vector engine. He was the first man on earth to do vector compression of movies (ten years before Flash !). He did all himself : the graphical editor, the code of the game, the game design, the rotoscoping (of his brother running in his garden) for animations.

He laughted at me when I tried (as everyone might have done) to kill the black beast in the first level. He told me : "everybody wants to kill aliens in videogames while, in reality, everybody would run !". And actually, the solution was to run backward ... Finally, I asked me for advices, and I told him it would be cool to have a friend in a videogame; for example : this guy you meet at the beginning of the second level, meet him again ! I don't know if I gave him this idea but that's what happens later in the game. I also told him to add a scar on the face of the alien friend, to identify him from the others. But Eric didn't do that. Several months later, I received the release of OOTW. After I finished the game, I thought Eric was very cool : my name were in the greetings section.

Cool beans.

From: Jonathan Walker
Subject: Digipen

On the subject of Digipen, I thought I'd mention that they have (or had) a great 2 week course to get a taste of video game design. I went there with a friend in summer of '96. They just used Visual Basic, but were stressing game desing and ideas more than programming. We learned visual basic in the first 5 days, and the second week was for making a game with a team of other students. They teach storyboarding, art, and what goes into a good game as much as they teach the actual programming. My friend graduated with a 2 year degree from there less than a year ago, and now works for Adrenaline Software. He just finished working on NCAA 2001 Football for psx which is out now. Just really awesome to see your friend's name in the game credits. Not to mention the fact that I get to see an unreleased version of it with costumes and stadiums they had to take out like Tron and Quake. But anyways, if they still have the 2 week course, its definately worth going to just to get your feet wet and see if you like the environment. I chsoe not to go back and am seeking a career in Movies, TV, or radio. Though it was better to find out in 2 weeks than after paying for a full course. Check em out at www.digipen.com if you want. Their main campus is in Vancouver, BC but according to my friend they recently opened a Seattle campus as well, and offer 4 year degrees as well. IF you can get in there, and graduate, you can definately get a job in the gaming world.

As somebody who works in the gaming "world," I can honestly tell you that it's one wacky industry. I mean, there's madcap antics everywhere! It's ZANY, ZANY, I tell you!

From: Kevin Anderson
Subject: Nintendo had a cable channel, too...

I thought more people knew about this, but I guess not...

The Sega Channel wasn't the only way of getting unique unreleased games directly at home. Nintendo also had a similar product: the Bandai Satellaview (abbreviated, unfortunately, as BS).

As the name implies, the Japan-only Satellaview was capable of receiving Super NES games broadcast at a certain time from a special satellite channel (which otherwise had standard programming). One source says that the service was only available for two months! However, some of the Satellaview games are still available for download out on the Internet; the most famous one is probably the remake of the original NES Zelda, with a new map and updated graphics.

Also of note are some of the titles Squaresoft released for the Satellaview, including an official sequel to Chrono Trigger, entitled Radical Dreamers. This game is indeed the basis for Chrono Cross. It might be of some interest from a classic gaming standpoint that this game was basically a text adventure, in which after reading a few screens of text, you would have a choice from a few options of where to go and what to do next. (Who knows, maybe an American release would have started a whole new trend for text-based gaming.)

ROM Translation being the unfortunately long process that it is, though, it may be some time before those of us unfamiliar with the Japanese language can play this game...

Wouldn't it be cool if text adventures made this huge comeback? Then you'd see stuff on the back of boxes like "Over 3902 fonts and 320 text sizes to choose from! Crisp anti-aliased text that's easy on the eyes!" It'd be great. I think.

From: ChadLove
Subject: please help GAMING FRIENDS

THE MUSIC IN VANGUARD SOUNDS LIKE THE MUSIC IN STAR TREK "NEXT GENERATION" WHAT CAME FIRST? PLEASE HELP I'M REALLY SCARED!

YOUR FRIEND, CHAD

CHAD! DO NOT BE SCARED I AM HERE TO PROTECT YOU FROM SCARY STAR TREK MUSIC AND CAPTAIN PICK-CARD WHO HAS BALD SHINE OFF HIS SKULL THAT WILL REFLECT A BEAM OF LIGHT BACK INTO YOUR FACE AND BLIND YOU TO DEATH AND PLAY A TUNE ON AN ORGAN IS IT VANGUARD OR NEXT GENERATION??? WELL I AM SORRY TO SAY THAT YOU MUST BE SHOT FOR YOUR EFFORTS PLEASE REPORT TO THE FIRING SQUAD FOR A QUICK BRUNCH AFTER YOUR BRISK WALK.

From: David Swigger
Subject: Old School?

All this talk of nintendo power really seems newer to me (not so old school) than the magazine "Electronic Games" (Real early eighties).. I remember me and my friends drooling over the coleco/2600 pics in it...Does anyone remember this? When Sears had 2600's, intellivisions, coleco's, and vectrexes out for people to play? My mom would drop me off at sears and then go shop.. Maybe thats why I have abandonment issues? (JK).

The founders of Electronic Games gave a nifty keynote at CG Expo 2000 which I happened to attend and write a quick summary of. One of the things they talked about was the overabundance of hype present in today's industry, and I pretty much agreed with all of their opinions on the subject. Last week I mentioned how I thought Metal Gear Solid 2 was being overhyped, which is funny since just yesterday I saw some snippets from the Metal Gear Solid 2 DVD that all the Sony fanboys want to get their hands on. And it's really pathetic, since you're basically paying for this huge MGS2 commercial and a bunch of lame comments from other E3 Sony fanboys (one American in the video says something like "Konami must be working like, 24/7, because MGS2 is SO real and it's going to be the best game ever!"). OK, whatever. And I can think of numerous other examples, like Daikatana. So what do you think of the role of hype in today's industry? Does it effect the quality of the games? Are games more hyped today than they were, say, back in the Atari 2600 era? Mail us, Snookums.

-Fragmaster

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