Welcome to The SEGA Zone

Have you ever had that feeling where the rug was pulled from under your feet and everything you thought you knew was wrong? Welcome to my life. Over in the UK SEGA ruled all with the Mega Drive. Sonic was king and Mario was boring and old fashioned. There was no need for a SNES and who wanted a PlayStation when the Saturn was so awesome? Then in 1998 I got the internet and it seemed like I'd been living in some Twilight Zone alternate reality. On the internet Nintendo had been king and Sony had usurped the old guard and ruled the gaming kingdom with an iron fist. Talk about a bombshell.

Over time I came to realise that the divide was one based on location and not some sort of revisionist history. While SEGA managed to appeal to the UK market for some reason they never gained the same sort of traction in the states. It took me years again to realise why, and Giant Bomb helped to cement my understanding during a Bombcast.

It seems the US videogame industry suffered a crash due to an overwhelming amount of low quality games flooding the market place. Toy shops stopped taking so many orders due to the backlog and some games were famously rumoured to be buried in the desert because they couldn't be sold. Then Nintendo came along with the NES and thanks to their strict (or stricter in comparison) quality controls they helped build back consumer confidence and basically saved the day for games.

In the UK things were a bit different. Europe never experienced a videogame market crash. Quality games were made a released for a verity of consoles. The UK scene in particular was kept afloat by some fantastic homebrew games. When Nintendo released the NES in the UK there was no crisis for them to solve. SEGA released the Master System soon after and either due to a different taste in games or better marketing the Master System outsold the NES. SEGA released the Mega Drive only three years after its older sibling and that went on to sell even better. It took Nintendo a further two years to get the SNES released so it was no surprise to see it shunned in favour of SEGA's console.

SEGA would continue to dominate the rest of the generation until a number of costly missteps helped erode all the goodwill they had earned. The SEGA CD & 32X were only half steps towards the next generation while Nintendo worked hard to craft the N64 and Sony surprised everyone with the bleeding edge coolness of the original Playstation. The Saturn lacked a signature Sonic game and was notoriously difficult to develop for.

I hope this gives a little insight into where my view of games came from and the different perspective I have on them from the norm. It means I'm a fan or Sonic rather than Mario and I never owned a Sony console until the PS2. In fact the PS2 was my first none SEGA console because SEGA stopped making them!

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