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The Evolution of Sega

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the building-a-better-hedgehog dept.

Businesses 145

Gamasutra is running an interview with Simon Jeffrey, Sega of America's CEO, discussing the gradual change of the company from a hardware manufacturer to a game publisher. Among other things, he talks about how the transition was intended to help keep up with rival manufacturers at a time when Sega was clearly falling behind. "We were on the cusp of the next generation, and on the cusp of Nintendo changing into a different company and opening up a new part of the market. So it felt like the time was right for Sega to reinvent itself. Really what I tried to do was ride that train and make the most of that point in time, bringing new people into the company and start building the kind of products that would get a leadership position in the next generation on the Wii and the DS, rather than just playing catch-up with everybody else, which is what we've traditionally done."

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Nintendo to Sega: (4, Funny)

ibanezist00 (1306467) | about 6 years ago | (#24601545)

All your blue hedgehogs are belong to us!

Re:Nintendo to Sega: (3, Funny)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | about 6 years ago | (#24602089)

A better headline might have been "The Sega Saga".

Re:Nintendo to Sega: (4, Insightful)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 6 years ago | (#24602161)

All your blue hedgehogs are belong to us!

I've read far greater histories of Sega told by far greater men within the company then this guy. Instead of waxing poetically into the failure that is today's Sega maybe he outta be down with the workers ensuring the next Sonic game isn't a critical failure as has become the norm. Hey we may see a lot of Mario, but by and large [wikipedia.org] he is kept to games of acceptable quality. But hey maybe I'm just a little bitter, considering the company had the best hardware they could of ever asked for with the Dreamcast and yet it was a non-starter. Too much 'change' was the problem, to many add ons for core hardware that shouldn't have been neglected with such piss poor hardware releases [gametrailers.com] . And here we have an article about more change from Sega... 9th time is a charm eh?

Re:Nintendo to Sega: (2, Insightful)

twistedsymphony (956982) | about 6 years ago | (#24602817)

Sega has produced a few good games this generation, true that none of the Sonic games are among them but Sega is hardly failing. They might not garner the hype of a Halo or GTA but most of their current generation titles have solid sales with a decent following.

Game like Condemned, and The Club are good, I just wish they'd do MORE games like that, most of their releases in the last year have been movie tie ins which isn't all that great for the one noble Sega.

At least their modern versions of Sega Rally, Virtua Fighter, and Virtua Tennis have done those franchises proud.

Re:Nintendo to Sega: (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | about 6 years ago | (#24602909)

The truth be told, the company was failing and he wanted to save is ass. The bottom line is still the influx of cash.

What's weird... (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 6 years ago | (#24601599)

...is how all the animosity has gone out of the relationship between Sega and Nintendo. Not just in the corporate world (where most of it was blustering, anyway) but in the minds of consumers as well. When was the last time you heard someone say, "Sega is way better than Nintendo!" or "Nu-uh, Sega beats the pants off Nintendo!" Even when the Dreamcast came out, it was well received on both sides of the fence.

Of course, the wussifying of Sonic the Hedgehog might have something to do with this. Considering that he's now portrayed as a "cute" character rather than "cool and edgy", this might have gone a long way toward changing the public's perception of Sega.

Re:What's weird... (5, Insightful)

genner (694963) | about 6 years ago | (#24601707)

Considering that he's now portrayed as a "cute" character rather than "cool and edgy", this might have gone a long way toward changing the public's perception of Sega.

It's hard to been as a edgy talking hedgehog when you have to compete with GTA.

Re:What's weird... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 6 years ago | (#24601757)

Well, the edgy hedgehog now is Shadow. He's got a gun.

Re:What's weird... (1)

k_187 (61692) | about 6 years ago | (#24601987)

But what if its an edgy talking blue hedgehog that's also a werewolf?

Re:What's weird... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24603803)

Chill out, Shamalamalamalayalayan!

Re:What's weird... (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | about 6 years ago | (#24602105)

Well it's more that Sonic's positions have moved into the mainstream. He started off as a radical environmentalist who wanted to Free The Animals from their Evil Robotic Prisons, but now everyone's a freaking animal-freeing hippy ;-).

Re:What's weird... (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 6 years ago | (#24602489)

It's hard to been as a edgy talking hedgehog when you have to compete with GTA.

Doesn't mean they won't try! [vgcats.com]

Re:What's weird... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24603025)

It's hard to been as a edgy talking hedgehog when you have to compete with GTA.

Doesn't mean they won't try! [vgcats.com]

Hate you. I was going to find and post that but I had actual work to do.

Re:What's weird... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 6 years ago | (#24603377)

That's why I love software. Compile time means the computer is working so I don't have to! =D

Re:What's weird... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24603747)

That's why I love software. Compile time means the computer is working so I don't have to! =D

I use Scripting Languages you insesitrive clod!

Re:What's weird... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24601999)

Sonic's asshole 'tude was an American marketing invention. In "reality," the character has changed very little, other than the design reboot in Adventure.

He has not been marketed as a "cute" character even in post-Adventure times in Japan, to any greater degree than any other game company mascot. Relatively speaking, Sonic hasn't been marketed at all; the interviewee in TFA acknowledges as much. Rather, SoA have simply stopped being advertising jerks, because they no longer have any reason (competing product) to do so. The American public's perception of Sega during the Genesis years is the real anomaly when you look at Sega's American marketing prior and since.

Back to TFA, I think he's nuts when he says this:

Nintendo has Mario, but they probably don't like the fact that people always associate them with Mario when they've got all these other games and brands and characters.

I think he's projecting SoA's experience onto Nintendo. Unlike SoA, Nintendo has repeatedly been able to capitalize on Mario's recognition in Japan. Even here, being associated with Mario has never hurt NoA's image both because people recognize the quality of Mario games, and also because he has never been marketed in such a way that now seems passe' or distatsteful (unlike Sonic). I bet SoA really just laments the fact that Sonic games since the original trilogy have tended to suck more often than not, and that he now seems like an anachronism. They never protected Sonic's image, and now Sonic is a poor image of what Sega wants to be.

Re:What's weird... (2, Interesting)

teslar (706653) | about 6 years ago | (#24602035)

When was the last time you heard someone say, "Sega is way better than Nintendo!" or "Nu-uh, Sega beats the pants off Nintendo!"

I think that pretty much stopped when Sony entered the scene.

Funny little related anecdote though... way back in the mid-90s when said animosity was going very strong with the Megadrive and the SNES fighting on the front lines, a French game magazine (I think it was Player One, but not sure) ran an April Fool's joke that was basically a 2 page article on how Sega and Nintendo were ending their rivalry and would henceforth be cooperating. The article came complete with (fake, obviously) screenshots of a new game featuring both Sonic and Mario (they basically pasted Mario into screenshots from Sonic and Sonic into screenshots from Super Mario World). Made us laugh a lot.

Fast forward a decade and a bit though, and that joke has become reality. Who'd have thought at the time.

Re:What's weird... (3, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | about 6 years ago | (#24602125)

What's left to antagonize? Sega lost - and not just lost, but lost spectacularly, and then cheerfully admitted they lost.

If you aren't in competition, antagonism tends to die. See the M$/$ony flamewars for today's animosity.

As for the wussifying of Sonic... actually, if Sega would ever make a good, playable Sonic game again, they might generate a little bit of "competition". The last enjoyable Sonic game I played was Sonic & Knuckles on the old Genesis. The newer 3D-style "Sonic" games are anything but fun.

You might also be interested in the trend away from mascots in general. I mean, check out this list [wikipedia.org] ; how many do you still REALLY identify with a particular platform? For that matter, has $ony ever managed to make a real mascot? Crash Bandicoot never caught on, and their biggest "properties" have forever and always been third-party games. Even old iconics like Megaman can't get much more than a slow death as they get to be the focus of mindless, boring "pokemon-alike" portable platform titles these days. In fact, I'd say that Nintendo is the only company that even invests much in the brand identity of its chosen mascots these days, and even they subject us to a shovelware title like F-Zero GX or Starfox Adventures for every Metroid Prime or Zelda:Twilight Princess they still deliver.

Of course, the death of mascots has also accelerated with the lack of a pack-in game for most consoles and the lengthening of the development cycle. Part of what made Mario and Sonic so iconic was that their adventures were packed in with the consoles during the height of their formative years, and gamers could rely on at least one new, solid game a year. Now, we wait years between games, and some of the best titles are actually the "off-cycle" ones (look at the Paper Mario/Super Paper Mario series, which delivered a lot more fun with a lot less nuisance/annoyance time than the last two Mario64-alikes).

Finally, the changing "strageties" kill it too - Master Chief *might* qualify as a mascot for the original Xbox, but not quite as much for the 360 (which has really sold best due to Xbox Live Arcade and the ease of getting downloadable content for games like Rock Band).

Re:What's weird... (1)

DCstewieG (824956) | about 6 years ago | (#24602897)

...and even they subject us to a shovelware title like F-Zero GX...

Funny you should mention that since Sega actually developed it. NOT funny that you could actually call it shovelware. That was an incredible title and I wasn't the only one who thought so [gamerankings.com] . IMO it was by far the best F-Zero and no other games in the futuristic racing genre - or whatever you want to call it - could touch it. Personally, I hope Nintendo has already knocked on Sega's door to get a sequel on Wii with online play.

Re:What's weird... (1)

Moryath (553296) | about 6 years ago | (#24602933)

Sorry, no.

F-Zero GX's controls were much less responsive than F-Zero X; in addition, it lost the multiplayer value that had made X so much of a blast.

"Build-a-car" mode got stupid fast, especially when trying to figure out where you could find parts that wouldn't make it like you were trying to build a jet-assisted hippo.

Re:What's weird... (1)

DCstewieG (824956) | about 6 years ago | (#24603249)

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree :)

I'll admit I didn't play X nearly as much, but I never felt the controls in GX lacked anything, and I did beat the whole thing (I'm pretty sure, it's been a while).

I won't argue about the build-a-car, hell I usually ignore this kind of mode, but I did happen to find my favorite vehicle with it. The Fantasista...sure was butt ugly but I kicked ass with it!

Re:What's weird... (1)

M1rth (790840) | about 6 years ago | (#24603035)

You're wrong, dude.

We love F-Zero X a hell of lot more. It's impossible to enjoy multiplayer F-Zero GX, it gets boring and stupid.

On the other hand, you can make a hell of a drinking game out of F-Zero X: winner gets a drink. Slot Machine of Death FTW too!

Stupidest thing they ever did was take out the slot machine of death from multiplayer. Now, one slip and you just sit there bored off your ass while the remaining players either die or finish the course.

Re:What's weird... (1)

M1rth (790840) | about 6 years ago | (#24603061)

Almost forgot: we have F-Zero X on Wii download. THAT ROCKS.

Re:What's weird... (1)

Moryath (553296) | about 6 years ago | (#24603473)

You're just asking for a hangover, playing a game like that!

Re:What's weird... (5, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | about 6 years ago | (#24602143)

When was the last time you heard someone say, "Sega is way better than Nintendo!" or "Nu-uh, Sega beats the pants off Nintendo!"

I think it was when video game consoles stopped being kids toys

Re:What's weird... (1)

qoncept (599709) | about 6 years ago | (#24602171)

"Nu-uh, Sega beats the pants off Nintendo!"
I've never heard anyone say that. Because..

"rather than just playing catch-up with everybody else, which is what we've traditionally done."
..which they've always done very poorly. They were consistantly using inferior technology and pushing inferior games. The only time I think I've ever heard anyone prefer Sega was when the Genesis version of Mortal Kombat had red blood and SNES didn't. The best thing Sega ever had going for them was Toejam and Earl.

Re:What's weird... (2, Informative)

AngryLlama (611814) | about 6 years ago | (#24602581)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Genesis/Megadrive come out between the NES and SNES? That means for a while Sega did have the upper hand.

Not only that, but even after the SNES was released, the Genesis and SNES were very different machines with their own pros/cons.

Re:What's weird... (1)

lordofthechia (598872) | about 6 years ago | (#24604449)

Correct, the Genesis/Megadrive [wikipedia.org] (1988) came out 2 years before the SNES [wikipedia.org] (1990). So yeah, after 2 years ninendo was able to put better hardware into the SNES (and among other things be able to simultaneously display 256 colors vs the 64 the genesis could).

Sega did develop some really cool hardware that sadly didn't get to meet it's full potential. The Sega CD for example added a 2nd 68000 processor at over 150% the speed of the genesis' own 68000, more internal memory, better audio, and of course 640MB of storage vs less than 3 MB seen in cartridges. Sadly the Sega CD was inundated with a slew of crappy fmv games and genesis ports that simply added redbook audio (and little else). The main thing is they didn't increase the amount of displayable colors,which I think would have really made it worthwhile add-on to consumers.

And of course the coolest (IMO) handheld ever put out [wikipedia.org] was by Sega. I mean, how many other manufacturers have put out a handheld that lets you use your existing game library? Granted battery life kinda sucked, but that's what the car adapter was for!

Nothing that can be done now, short of Dr. Samuel Beckett leaping into Hayao Nakayama body and fixing a few things...

Re:What's weird... (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 6 years ago | (#24602633)

Ehh, no.

Sonic was always FAR superior to the mario bullcrap. Sega also had the Ecco series going for them.

There was no catch-up or imitation.

Plus the Megadrive/Genesis was black, which made it way cooler.

Re:What's weird... (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 6 years ago | (#24602209)

Of course, the awesoming [youtube.com] of Mario the Plumber might have something to do with this. Considering that he's now portrayed as a "cool & edgy" character rather than "cute", this might have gone a long way toward changing the public's perception of Nintendo.

I think the hedgehog has nothing to do with it (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | about 6 years ago | (#24602625)

I don't think the hedgehog has anything to do with it. The top factors in console wars, from what I can tell are:

1. Fanboyism. I swear some people should have been born dogs, the way they must dedicate their life to some Master.

2. Us-vs-them mentalities. If you can't have both consoles, you already have a criterion by which to divide the world into an "us" camp and a "they" camp. 'Nuff said.

3. Probably actually the root of both above: Cognitive dissonance. People tend to be the most rabid in either defending or attacking something, when that position is the least easy to defend or makes no sense. And again, a lot of people couldn't have both, either because mommy doesn't buy both, or because they can't justify to themselves buying both. But in the willy-waving contest that a status-based culture is, they don't want to admit something like "well, I'm kinda tempted by game X too, but I can't afford console Y too". That kind of admission is, essentially, an admission of failure. Not many people are going to admit _that_. So they rebuild the whole mental model into something that's actually a proclamation of being some kind of elite. E.g., "pfft, game X sucks, console Y sucks, heck everything that company does is pure shit, and only idiots fall for their hype."

It's just a function of the mammal brain to try to keep the model consistent. (See the recent experiment with monkeys.) Where Mother Nature failed though, was foreseeing that humans will base their whole status, self-esteem or "face" on some notions being a priori, unquestionably true. And if one notion is beyond questioning, something _else_ will have to give. If someone's model is based on "I'm t3h 31337" or "my decisions are right, dammit" (e.g., the decision to buy console A instead of console B), and some memory or situation challenges that, they'll rewrite some other piece of history or reality to make the model consistent again.

You can see all 3 at work, or various perversions thereof, in any other such situation. PC vs consoles, PC vs Mac, 3dfx fanboys vs nVidiots (as both sides fondly called each other back then), and a bunch of others. Not saying that _all_ such arguments are bunk, far from it, but I _am_ under the distinct impression that the most rabid fanboys are putting up that unmovable faith show more to keep themselves convinced than for the benefit of the readers.

So, anyway, to get back to Sega, they ceased to be the "enemy", the moment they weren't competition any more. In all 3 aspects, it made no sense to be against Sega any more.

Fanboyism: Sega wasn't one of the choices for a fanboy's Master any more. In fact, it became an orthogonal choice entirely. So there was no need any more to be against it if you chose Sony or Nintendo instead.

Us-vs-Them: Ditto. You could be one of Sony's or Nintendo's faithful, and still play a Sega game. It became a lot harder to draw a neat line where Sega falls in the "them" camp.

Cognitive Dissonance: well, there was no more need to justify why not buy a Sega console and play, say, PSO. You could just get PSO on the GameCube or XBox or whatever. There was no more need to plug a leaky mental model with a "Sega sucks" bandaid. And thus no need to defend that fragile bandaid at all cost, lest the whole edifice come crashing down around your ears.

Re:What's weird... (1)

Val314 (219766) | about 6 years ago | (#24602629)

When was the last time you heard someone say, "Sega is way better than Nintendo!" or "Nu-uh, Sega beats the pants off Nintendo!"

They just replaced it with "Sony" and "Microsoft"

Re:What's weird... (1)

VanGarrett (1269030) | about 6 years ago | (#24602787)

When was the last time you heard someone say, "Sega is way better than Nintendo!" or "Nu-uh, Sega beats the pants off Nintendo!"

Holy mother of cheese and rice, that brings me back to the early 90's.

Re:What's weird... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 years ago | (#24602835)

I'm pretty sure the animosity only existed in deranged teenage fans' heads and the single-format magazines in the first place. Contrary to the 1990s games mags' posturing, Yu Suzuki does not want to send a brick upside Shigeru Miyamoto's face, and likewise no adult Nintendo customer was ever perversely opposed to Sega products.

Re:What's weird... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 years ago | (#24602905)

Furthermore, I should say that fanboys are only defensive about consoles anyway, as they're the expensive part. Kids will vehemently defend a $400 purchase because the cost of being "wrong" is huge. It's the same reason that SUV and Hybrid owners want to murder eachother, while you rarely see a brutal chain beating over bicycle brands. When Sega dropped out of the console business, they no longer threatened to give Jonny Mario a case of buyer's remorse, and therefore were not the enemy.

Re:What's weird... (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 6 years ago | (#24602839)

There's a really, really big gap between the "animosity" of former corporate rivals that work together when one completely capitulates to the other in the main market in which they were competing, and the animosity of over-excitable children about whose toy is better than whose. The only continuity between the two is that there may be marketing teams in the former who will cynically exacerbate the latter.

Re:What's weird... (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | about 6 years ago | (#24602929)

""Sega is way better than Nintendo!" or "Nu-uh, Sega beats the pants off Nintendo!""

It would be fair to say that the majority of the animosity has gone because Nintendo more or less won, or atleast beat Sega as far as consoles went, it doesn't seem like so long ago some people either owned the Megadrive (or Genesis) or a SNES, or even the NES or the Master System, and stuck fiercely to there guns about it.

Re:What's weird... (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | about 6 years ago | (#24602989)

That's because Sega had blast-processing [youtube.com] , which everyone knows was superior.

Re:What's weird... (1)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | about 6 years ago | (#24603497)

*wrinkles forehead*

Hedgehogs are HOARY.
Efts are EDGY.

Re:What's weird... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 6 years ago | (#24603507)

...is how all the animosity has gone out of the relationship between Sega and Nintendo. Not just in the corporate world (where most of it was blustering, anyway) but in the minds of consumers as well. When was the last time you heard someone say, "Sega is way better than Nintendo!" or "Nu-uh, Sega beats the pants off Nintendo!" Even when the Dreamcast came out, it was well received on both sides of the fence.

Eh. I was never that way. Even when I was a kid, it wasn't "Sega is the greatest!" and "No, Nintendo rules Sega drools!" It was "Hey, I have a SNES so you can come over and play Mario World and Street Fighter 2 Turbo and Star Fox" and "Sweet, I have a Genesis so you can come over and play Altered Beast, Golden Axe, and Mortal Kombat with blood n guts!"

Why bicker over which is better when you can enjoy the best of both worlds? Heck even when none of my friends had a Genesis, I still thought Altered Beast was cool and not something to be bitter over.

Takes unusual vision and courage (4, Interesting)

XanC (644172) | about 6 years ago | (#24601609)

Most companies would keep plodding along, doing exactly what they've been doing because that's what they do. Sega would have fallen farther and farther behind and eventually evaporated to the sound of nobody caring.

This is why executives get the big bucks (not that all of them are worth it). You need somebody able to step back and evaluate where the company really stands.

Re:Takes unusual vision and courage (4, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | about 6 years ago | (#24602273)

I don't really think it was a choice; they made way too many Dreamcasts, wasted loads of money making Shenmue II (and then didn't even release it on the Dreamcast in the US). Plus the Saturn before that was a flop, and Sega were a big arcade games maker and that market also dried up rapidly. It was a major squeeze all around.

Don't get me wrong; I bought a Dreamcast and loved it, but I don't think they had the momentum or money for another release after that.

The sad thing is if they had as much money as Microsoft they could have bounced back easily in the next generation (the current generation), but being such a specialized company means excellent games but volatile profit margins.

Are you kidding? (1)

Moraelin (679338) | about 6 years ago | (#24603161)

Are you kidding? Companies reinvent themselves all the time, sometimes not even for good reason. Especially when a new boss comes around, he just _has_ to piss on everything to mark his territory. Whole processes get turned on their head just because the new guy has to show vision and initiative.

To it, Caldera went from an obscure Linux distribution, to a major proponent of Linux standardization, to buying the SCO name and reinventing itself as an expensive Unix vendor, then to the litigation clown we all love to hate. Volkswagen went through a phase of trying to reinvent itself as a luxury executive automobile maker. (Yeah, 'cause executives so wanted to drive a car made by someone called "People's Car" and associated with the el-cheapo old Beetle.) Sun went from "Linux ftl, proprietary lock in FTW", to "Ok, ok, we love open source. No, seriously." With an embarassing schizophrenic phase in between, where they'd say one in the morning and the other in the same day's evening. With an even more crazy stint of trying to just convince everyone to fight against MS, instead of telling them why they should buy a Sun server. Coke had the New Coke episode, which although it worked spectacularly in their favour in the end (something they hadn't foreseen, much less planned), but involved one of the most absurd changes to their main product out of nowhere. Etc, etc, etc.

Now some of those stunts paid off, some were outright retarded, and some just settled into something everyone forgot about.

And for each executive who earned his big bucks through some visionary change, there were a lot which just got lucky against all odds and in spite of doing something clueless (see New Coke again), and a lot which just siphoned tens of millions per year in salary and stock options while sending the company circling the drain. But I digress.

Anyway, I'd praise those who actually did a good change, not change generally. Change is easy. Cut one of your legs and put on a peg leg. That's change. And people do that kind of idiotic change all the time, either privately or at the helm of some company or division. Figuring out something that works well, now that is harder and more worthy of praise.

Still a shame (1)

DesScorp (410532) | about 6 years ago | (#24601623)

I hate that they went out of the hardware business, but they did what they had to do. But man, did I love my Genesis, especially taking those pre-Internet trips to the software store at the mall to buy games for it (and programs for the PC before the Net really caught on). Coming home from work to blow off some steam with Sonic or Jurassic Park or Echo the Dolphin. Good times.

Re:Still a shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602333)

Still amazed at the ecco 'loading' screens. I know they aren't exactly loading screens, they were just between levels and had really cool looking water effects.

it's a shame (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 6 years ago | (#24601645)

The Dreamcast was imo the best console ever made. Years ahead of its competitors, and could even frequently go head to head against consoles that came out years later.

Re:it's a shame (1)

st33med (1318589) | about 6 years ago | (#24603275)

Yeah, but its main weakness: Dial-up Internet. It was one of the many flaws of Dreamcast because it restricted online play. Also, I looked at the controller and thought of the original Xbox "Fat Boy" controllers. But, I could be wrong.

Re:it's a shame (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 6 years ago | (#24604343)

Which, of course, is why you'd get yourself a Dreamcast Broadband Adapter [wikipedia.org] . 'course, they didn't make a lot of them, but if the console had been more successful, you can bet they would've released them widely.

As for the controller, it looks clumsy, but it's remarkably comfortable. One of the better controllers out there, IMHO.

Re:it's a shame (1)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | about 6 years ago | (#24603759)

When you are years ahead of the competition, that's not always a good thing...

Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn for Sega (4, Interesting)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | about 6 years ago | (#24601659)

Have they programmed a game that a girl would rather play with you, rather than go out for breakfast or meet your mother?

Re:Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn for Sega (3, Funny)

everphilski (877346) | about 6 years ago | (#24601869)

Not yet, Brodie.

Re:Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn for Sega (3, Funny)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 6 years ago | (#24602227)

"Breakfast, shmreakfast. Look at the score, for Christ's sake. It's only the second period and I'm up 12 to 2. Breakfasts come and go, Renee, but Hartford, "the Whale," they only beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime."

Re:Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn for Sega (2, Funny)

LilBlackDemon (604917) | about 6 years ago | (#24602421)

But the Whalers are winning the Stanley Cup!

Re:Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn for Sega (1)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | about 6 years ago | (#24602339)

"The Sims"

I believe the demographics on that one are more significantly female than other games.

Re:Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn for Sega (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | about 6 years ago | (#24602559)

I always thought it was "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned for Sega". Which more accurately fits the original quote:

"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,"

- William Congreve's The Mourning Bride [wikipedia.org] .

Even though my version beats out yours when googling for your "woman's scorn for sega" [google.com] (449) vs. my "woman scorned for sega" [google.com] (2830), we all know that just because a lot of people agree on something, doesn't make it right. Where's Jason Lee or Kevin Smith when you need them?? I bought Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, they owe me. ;)

Re:Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn for Sega (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24603623)

Have they programmed a game that a girl would rather play with you, rather than go out for breakfast or meet your mother?

Well, my ex-girlfriend (who is awesome, btw) was a giant Sonic the Hedgehog fan. At least of the old-school ones, I don't think she ever played Sonic Adventure, or any of those.

What killed Sega? (4, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#24601683)

It went downhill(in the US at least) with their release of the Sega CD [wikipedia.org] and other crappy genesis add-ons as well as the ill-fated Saturn which were expensive with not much noticeable difference between the original Genesis games. The Dreamcast was good but Sega never quite recovered from the other crap they made, and they were eaten for lunch by Sony and Nintendo.

Re:What killed Sega? (2, Insightful)

macshome (818789) | about 6 years ago | (#24601929)

Ahem...

The Saturn wasn't a noticeable change from the Genesis? I'm assuming you are talking about the SegaCD and 32X here.

FWIW, Sonic CD is pretty awesome.

Re:What killed Sega? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 6 years ago | (#24604423)

FWIW, Sonic CD is pretty awesome.

It is indeed. Aside from Sonic 2, it's the best in the series, IMHO.

The real problem with the CD is the damn obsession publishers had on producing FMV games, rather than taking advantage of the greater capacity, improved graphics, and CD sound to produce top-notch games in the same basic genres. Ahh, Sega CD... so much potential, squandered.

Re:What killed Sega? (3, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | about 6 years ago | (#24602095)

It went downhill(in the US at least) with their release of the Sega CD [wikipedia.org] and other crappy genesis add-ons as well as the ill-fated Saturn which were expensive with not much noticeable difference between the original Genesis games.

It seemed like Sega had made it their corporate goal to launch a device and discontinue support for it two months later. Sega's whole fan base became alienated by shelling out massive amounts of cash for bricked hardware. It seemed like every few months there was new hardware to buy. All they had to do was take their time and develop a really good platform. By the time Dreamcast came around, it was too late.

Re:What killed Sega? (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | about 6 years ago | (#24603359)

Plan? There wasn't a Plan! What there was was a seething hatred, the hatred of Sega's Japanese branch for the American branch, a hatred that was paid back by the Americans with the self-same coin!

.

In other words, instead of working together as one big happy company, the two branches worked on backstabbing each other in a scary display of self destructive internal corporate politics.

All one needs to do is read of the train wreck that was the Neptune project [goodcowfilms.com] or find out about the depressing story of the 3dFX lawsuit [goodcowfilms.com] that came out of Sega of America designing "Black Belt" while Sega of Japan designed "Katana" (Dreamcast) which used a totally different graphics chip. Did you know that the money Sega lost from that lawsuit could have put DVD players in Dreamcasts!!!

It was a story written in Hell by Lucifer himself!

Re:What killed Sega? (3, Interesting)

sesshomaru (173381) | about 6 years ago | (#24602129)

A Console Too Soon [eidolons-inn.net]

Re:What killed Sega? (1)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | about 6 years ago | (#24602573)

While the Saturn was definitely a flop, it was still an amazing console (arguably the best 2D focused console ever made). It's a shame that Sega chose to go 2D when the world went 3D, but the Saturn was still a huge jump from the Genesis (even with Sega CD & 32X attached).

I've always wondered what would have happened had Sega made a switch to 3D with the Saturn. They had an amazing 3D sonic prototype (the demo of a level was on Sonic Jam), there's a great article called The Greatest Sonic Game We Never Got to Play [1] which shows it in detail.

Even though the hardware was focused on rendering 2D sprites, it still had some amazing games. Standout titles included:
NiGHTS Into Dreams (one of my favorite games ever)
Panzer Dragoon 1/2/Saga (Saga still fetches $100+ on eBay)
Radiant Silvergun
Shining Force III
Virtua Fighter II
Guardian Heroes
Dragon Force I/II
Daytona USA

A few of these games had Genesis/32X versions and the difference was night and day. While the Saturn was a flop (and a slap on the face to people that got a 32X which was released just months before the unexpected Saturn launch), it was definitely a step above any of the current systems of its time. While I won't call it more advanced then the PlayStation, I wouldn't call it less advanced either. Sony bet on polygons, sega went with sprites, and the public chose 3D. The Saturn is still a great system though.

[1]http://www.gamesradar.com/f/the-greatest-sonic-game-we-never-got-to-play/a-2008042416124625044/p-8 [gamesradar.com]

Re:What killed Sega? (1)

AngryLlama (611814) | about 6 years ago | (#24602667)

Lol yeah, like the "Menacer" I think that thing had two games?

But Sega makes horrible games these days (4, Interesting)

realmolo (574068) | about 6 years ago | (#24601773)

Seriously. With the exception of the various 2D Gameboy Advance and DS versions of "Sonic the Hedgehog" (which are fun, but nothing very new), their games are horrible. The 3D versions of Sonic for the big consoles have been mostly terrible, and never better than mediocre. They even managed to screw up the Nights sequel.

I guess there is the Virtua Fighter series, which is still well-done. But who plays that anymore?

Basically, Sega churns out junk based on their (formerly) popular franchises.

Re:But Sega makes horrible games these days (3, Interesting)

hiryuu (125210) | about 6 years ago | (#24601963)

Basically, Sega churns out junk based on their (formerly) popular franchises.

While I can't claim to be a huge fan of the Sonic stuff, Sega published some great games at least during the previous console generation (post-Dreamcast). Another poster mentioned Jet Set Radio [wikipedia.org] , and I'll mention Panzer Dragoon Orta [wikipedia.org] and the Otogi [wikipedia.org] games. For a while, they were the house publishing some of the unique and innovative stuff, rather than JustAnotherShooter and JustAnotherPlatformer.

Re:But Sega makes horrible games these days (1)

LilBlackDemon (604917) | about 6 years ago | (#24603109)

Also, SEGA publishes/published Condemned: Criminal Origins (the good one, not the iffy sequel) and Creative Assembly's Total War games.

Re:But Sega makes horrible games these days (-1, Troll)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | about 6 years ago | (#24602131)

They even managed to screw up the Nights sequel.

Do you know where I can send the anthrax spores to punish the bastards for that?

Careful (1)

Kostya (1146) | about 6 years ago | (#24602269)

You never know when you might get a visit from your local federal branch for such innovative commentary ...

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2001/12/20/211923/84 [kuro5hin.org]

Re:Careful (-1, Troll)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | about 6 years ago | (#24602707)

Well let them come. Fuck them. I got a right to post what I want on Slashdot within the limits set by Slashdot itself, since their servers are private property.

And somehow I think the federal government is utterly concerned with "terrorist threats" to the Sonic Team employees anyway.

Re:But Sega makes horrible games these days (1)

st33med (1318589) | about 6 years ago | (#24603357)

That is partially true. The best recent games from Sega were Sonic games on the Wii and the DS. But, since they mostly publish Sonic games and nothing else, it gets monotonous. Another thing that is wrong with the Sonic the Hedgehog games: Sonic moves way to fast and causes so much frustrations over frequent falls over a cliff. The last Sonic game was supposed to be a revamp of the series ("Sonic the Hedgehog"), but, load times on the consoles were very slow for a speedy game. Not to mention, it still did not rid of the frequent falls.

Shenmue (1)

vojarus (1061968) | about 6 years ago | (#24601819)

Allow Yu Suzuki to finish Shenmue series, and I'll be your fan again. Stop already with crappy remakes and Sonic sequels. And get rid of Sammy, that company is destroying you.

I miss Sega (5, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | about 6 years ago | (#24601825)

Specifically, the Sega that brought you Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, and Shenmue. Looking at the consoles I've had over the years, the Dreamcast was by far the one with the weirdest, and ultimately most enjoyable libraries out there. Yeah, Soul Calibur 4 looks sweet on the PS3, in high-def and all, but the magic of playing the original, arcade version, on the Dreamcast with no performance or graphics penalty was just amazing.

Sega was that crazy friend of yours who was funny as hell and had so many good times with, and is now happily filling out TPS reports and saying he can't go out because he's got to work Sunday too.

Re:I miss Sega (3, Funny)

genner (694963) | about 6 years ago | (#24601967)

Sega was that crazy friend of yours who was funny as hell and had so many good times with, and is now happily filling out TPS reports and saying he can't go out because he's got to work Sunday too.

So.....Sega got married?

Re:I miss Sega (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | about 6 years ago | (#24602109)

Sega was that crazy friend of yours who was funny as hell and had so many good times with, and is now happily filling out TPS reports and saying he can't go out because he's got to work Sunday too.

So.....Sega got married?

To the wrong person, maybe...

Re:I miss Sega (2, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | about 6 years ago | (#24602365)

Indeed [sega.com] , to a lady with a bit of a sleazy reputation for hanging out in pachinko parlors...

Re:I miss Sega (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602091)

If you are talking weird, don't leave out Seaman

Re:I miss Sega (3, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | about 6 years ago | (#24602337)

You only remember the good times. Genesis and Dreamcast were great, and ahead of their time. The stuff in between was horrible.

Sega was like that crazy friend that would convince you to go out and blow all your money on strippers and booze. You would wake up the next morning with nothing to show for it except a splitting headache.

Sega went to rehab. The world is a better place because of it.

Re:I miss Sega (1)

ronfar (52216) | about 6 years ago | (#24602465)

Sega went to rehab. The world is a better place because of it.

What color is the sky on your world?

Re:I miss Sega (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | about 6 years ago | (#24602981)

What color is the sky on your world?

Usually Magenta, but it's dusk here so it's blue. Why do you ask?

Re:I miss Sega (3, Insightful)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 6 years ago | (#24602351)

I still think that the FASA produced Shadowrun for the Sega Genesis is one of the coolest games ever made. I still have my old Genesis console and every once and a while I pull it out just to play Shadowrun. I also was one of the enlightened ones, err, I mean suckers who bought the CD and 32X units. They actually were pretty cool for their time, it's just too bad that the support wasn't there and more games didn't come out for them.

Re:I miss Sega (2, Funny)

sesshomaru (173381) | about 6 years ago | (#24603139)

I also was one of the enlightened ones, err, I mean suckers who bought the CD and 32X units.

That reminds me, when is the next meeting of the Enlightened Ones, we're supposed to be working on that plan to use those enormous Sega monoliths (SegaCD Original, Sega Genesis, topped by 32X) to summon Lord Hastur. [wikipedia.org]

Ia, Ia, Hasuturu phtagn!!!

Re:I miss Sega (3, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 years ago | (#24602971)

I'd say that the death of the arcade probably killed projects like Crazy Taxi, and projects like Shenmue are a serious risk for any company, but for the life of me I can't figure out why they're not making original games like JSR any more. They're playing it very safe lately.

Kudos (2, Insightful)

the computer guy nex (916959) | about 6 years ago | (#24601827)

Have to respect corporations, especially the size of Sega, that can reinvent themselves to adapt to a changing market. Our Automobile industry would be in better shape if they had this same ability.

Re:Kudos (3, Funny)

killertime (961322) | about 6 years ago | (#24603225)

No, no, no! You are supposed to draw analogies FROM the automobile industry.

Goodbye Sonic. (2, Interesting)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | about 6 years ago | (#24601985)

I will never forgive SEGA for fucking up Sonic the Hedghog with the Adventure series.

What he really means is... (3, Interesting)

greymond (539980) | about 6 years ago | (#24601989)

"Really what I tried to do was ride that train and make the most of that point in time...rather than just playing catch-up with everybody else, which is what we've traditionally done."

We were tired of being third to Nintendo and Sony all the time, so we just gave up and now produce rehashed versions of our old games on the new systems to make a living.

Too bad no one but /. was really interested in the dreamcast.

Phantasy Star (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about 6 years ago | (#24602211)

I can't believe the shite they made out of the Phantasy Star franchise. They took one of the best RPG worlds and turned it into a series of mediocre action games. I want a real sequel or prequel to the original series, from the same creative leadership.

Re:Phantasy Star (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | about 6 years ago | (#24602819)

I would buy whatever gaming system decided to do this. It would be worth $$$ to me just to play something with as much creative ideas behind it as this franchise.

I always liked Sega.. (2, Funny)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 years ago | (#24602317)

You had to be ballsy to use the Italian word for masturbation for a company name!

Errr (1)

neokushan (932374) | about 6 years ago | (#24602375)

Shouldn't there be a "D" in front of "Evolution"?

Sega Dreamcast was, and still is amazing (1)

bigplrbear (1179259) | about 6 years ago | (#24602443)

I still own my Sega Dreamcast that I got in 2002 (I got it when Toys R us was selling it for $50, trying to make room for the ps2).
It is an amazing game console, with some really great games (Sonic Adventure 2, Soul Calibur, Jet set radio, Marvel v.s. Capcom 2, Crazy Taxi, etc.). I literally cried when I heard that Sega would stop making games for it soon after I bought the thing.

Sega no more (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602461)

Sega's console games division pretty much died with the Dreamcast. Their once flagship Sonic games have been reduced to a cash cow, just like Capcom's Mega Man games. But at least the newer Mega Man games aren't bogged down by ridiculously convoluted plot lines, horrible gameplay and the constant addition of useless characters that distance the series from its roots (i.e. PLAYING AS SONIC). It says volumes when the long anticipated sequel to "NiGHTS" had a muted reception. The best that long time Sega fans can hope for is that they don't screw up their old franchises too badly.

The Sega of today is Sega only in name, similar to that corporate mess they now call Atari. After the deal with Sammy, Sega's chief purpose is to lend whatever cache the name has left to a wide array of games like "Yakuza" and various licensed games (mostly developed by third parties) like "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk". Gone are the days when you could closely identify a game as being distinctly Sega - games like Panzer Dragoon, Space Harrier and the Shinobi series among others.

The good news is that Sega does release a lot of quality of arcade games - if you can find an arcade to play them in. The House of the Dead and Virtua Fighter series are still going strong, Sega has continued porting both series to home consoles. Just ignore the Sammy titles rebranded as Sega ones - like those darn deer hunting games.

Re:Sega no more (3, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | about 6 years ago | (#24602885)

But at least the newer Mega Man games aren't bogged down by ridiculously convoluted plot lines, horrible gameplay and the constant addition of useless characters that distance the series from its roots (i.e. PLAYING AS SONIC).

Uhm... which Megaman games are you playing?

The Megaman X series - Zero, Axl, and now the three girl-versions from Megaman X8?
The Megaman Battle Network/Star Force - Pokemon-Alike Series?
The Megaman Zero/ZX series - where you constantly switch between staff/gun/sword/shield/yoyo/etc weapon styles or which character you're mimicking?

Of all the modern ones existing today, NONE feel even close to being Megaman,or have anything other than ridiculously convoluted plot lines.

What really hurt Sega's Console status. (1)

lsmo (1106631) | about 6 years ago | (#24602471)

The real problem that took Sega out of the hardware industry was a design flaw in the dreamcast system. Someone in their engineering department dropped the ball with the Security of the system. Anyone with any business skillz knows you have to protect your product. Unmodded system playing burned games = extinct console.

Re:What really hurt Sega's Console status. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602695)

And yet how many people here would continue to complain that locking down systems just hurts consumers and decreases sales, that pirating all these games probably helped sell consoles, and so on and so on...?

Re:What really hurt Sega's Console status. (2, Insightful)

notamisfit (995619) | about 6 years ago | (#24603331)

Somehow I think that's overlooking a LOT of factors involved in the Dreamcast's demise. The imminent rise of the PS2, the announcing of the XBox and Gamecube, Sega taking a huge loss on every console sold, etc, etc.

Re:What really hurt Sega's Console status. (2, Interesting)

lsmo (1106631) | about 6 years ago | (#24603413)

Actually I think the 360 and PS3 are still selling them at a loss, but the revenue from game sales gives a little boost. Sega lost that little boost when everyone was able to download and burn. I know its not the only reason for the demise, but I do think it is at the top of the list. And I bet it won't happen to another console ever again.

Sega = good stuff (1)

omfglearntoplay (1163771) | about 6 years ago | (#24602687)

I always liked Sega... seems like they always had quality products and good systems. Now if I could only find the power cord to my old Saturn I'd fire it up and play a few!

Former enemy = New Friend (1)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | about 6 years ago | (#24603651)

I always liked Sega for their games. I remember during the Genesis/SNES-war how I hated the guts of Nintendo, simply because it was a competitor to what I had.

Nowadays though the game has changed. Now it's Nintendo/Sega against Playstation and Xbox. Whereas Nintendo and Sega go for innovative ideas and fun gameplay, the two others go for graphics and photo-realism. I've no doubt in my mind who should win when it comes to consoles, PS and Xbox can take all their "uuuh shiny"-games and shove'em.
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