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#Sega

Fantasy Zone Review Rewind

Cute but Deadly

After seeing the incredible success of Konami's shoot-'em-up Gradius, Sega sought to create an arcade game that could rival it. So in 1986, game designer Yoji Ishii (Flicky, Outrun, NiGHTS) came up with a concept that combined the whimsical sensibilities of Twinbee with a giddy samba-esque soundtrack to create Fantasy Zone. As a lighthearted take on side-scrolling shooters that later cemented the "cute-’em-up" subgenre.

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Sonic the Hedgehog Review Rewind

30 years ago today, Sega's blue blur made his debut.

By 1990, Sega was enjoying newfound success with their new 16-bit Genesis system. It quickly became a competent competitor to the NES with popular titles like Golden Axe, Phantasy Star II, and Revenge of Shinobi. But despite the rising success of the Genesis, the platform didn’t have a brand character that could rival Super Mario. Tasked with creating such a mascot, character designer Naoto Oshima came up with Sonic- a blue anthropomorphic hedgehog. Sonic the Hedgehog was released on June 23, 1991- two full months ahead of the Super Nintendo’s debut in America. It was a big summer for Sega, and today marks the 30th anniversary of the moment that made them an icon in the home console gaming space.

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Hang-On & Astro Warrior Review Rewind

Motorcycles and space battles- together for the first time.

There are certain games that I’ve played combo cartridges that leave me wondering why they were sold as standalone releases in the first place. I found myself asking that question after playing the Hang-On/Astro Warrior compilation. I mean, don’t get me wrong- it’s nice to have both games on a cartridge. But neither one held much weight when all was said and done. Even so, I was still able to come away with some goodwill toward it. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Astro Warrior, but I’ll touch on that shortly. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

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Super Baseball 2020 Review Rewind

The Big Leagues

With the year 2020 and the MLB World Series well underway, there’s no better time than now to talk about Super Baseball 2020. In 1991, SNK- the famed developer of such blockbusters as Metal Slug and Aero Fighters- released their spin on America’s favorite pastime in the arcades. Two years later, it was ported to the Sega Genesis with NuFX and Electronic Arts handling the programming and publishing. With its futuristic setting and easy controls, the game offered a level of enjoyment missing from baseball’s more realistic interpretations on the home console platform.

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Alex Kidd in Miracle World Review Rewind

Sega's Little Miracle

Let's take a minute to go back in time to 1986. Nintendo was basking in the success of their NES console with hits like Super Mario Bros., Excitebike, and The Legend of Zelda. Meanwhile, Sega wanted to prove that the Master System was the better entertainment medium of choice. Attempting to go toe to toe with Mario, they created Alex Kidd in Miracle World. For Master System fans, the release of this game was a day to remember. According to them, it was the dawn of a new era. According to some, Mario had met his match, and Nintendo would soon crumble under Sega's mighty fist. But reality had other plans.

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Sega Genesis Classics Review

It's a tubular collection, dude.

Sega has done a lot of great things with emulation as of late. On the 3DS, they released 3D remasters of a handful of games, which boasted a handful of improvements to the source material. Their Sega Ages line marks another batch of games that are seeing improvements to the original games as they release on the Switch. However, Sega Genesis Classics is more of a compilation of classic Genesis games with some additional features that make it a great collection to have on your Switch if you grew up with these old games.

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Classic Sega Brawler Franchise Resurrected with Announcement of Streets of Rage 4

Dotemu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games are resurrecting the classic Sega franchise for another round. Release date and target platforms are unknown at this time, but check the video for the slick new art style and some of the starring characters!

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What's With All the Sonic Hate?

I channel my inner '90s mascot attitude and explore a recent troubling trend.

At last year’s PAX East I attended a panel hosted by one of the marketing magicians for Sega of America in the '90s, Al Nilson. At that panel I got up to ask a question about the NEMO project he worked on in the late '80s, but before I did I told this quick story about the time I borrowed the first Sonic the Hedgehog game off my friend when it was first released:  While I was at home being blown away by the technical achievement of Sonic Team’s new baby, my friend called me and said his mother was mad he lent out his new game and was making him come by in a couple hours to pick it up. Since my time was now limited to how much of this amazing new game I was going to be able to play,  I decided to hunker down and try to beat the game before he came to get it. I focused and played as carefully as I could. I ended up beating the game without continuing and with all the Chaos Emeralds. I had the honor of telling Al Nilson it was one of the best "Gaming Zen" moments of my life. He appreciated my story and my love for Sonic.

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Silpheed Review Rewind

Feel the need for Silpheed.

When Game Arts released Silpheed on the Sega CD in 1993, the game was frequently compared to Star Fox; the latter usually winning over critics more than the former. Being released within 6 months of Star Fox and featuring a similar visual theme of polygon graphics, Silpheed was sometimes written off as a mere knock-off of Nintendo’s successful three-dimensional shooter. A somewhat misguided conclusion considering that Silpheed was originally released on the PC platform in 1986, pre-dating Star Fox by seven years.  It was also criticized for being too simplistic with its 2D shooter mechanics against the pseudo 3D background. But a deeper look into the gameplay of Silpheed (and some honest hindsight) reveals a game that stands on its own and delivers a fairly unique experience rarely had in home console gaming at that time.

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Trampoline Terror! Review Rewind

Jump Around

Developed by Masaya, published by DreamWorks (no relation to the movie studio), and released in 1990, Trampoline Terror was quite the unique title if you managed to find out about it somehow. I’ve got to hand it to the design team-- they had me fooled with this game. Thanks to my youthful first-time impression of the game many moons ago, I always thought I was playing an overhead action title. I had so much fun with the game, that I didn’t even notice that I was really playing a puzzle\strategy game sneakily dressed in an action game’s clothes (more or less). I’m not sure why it didn’t click with me until now- some 20 years later- especially when most of the gameplay elements practically scream “this is a puzzle game”.

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