Genesis Sizzles! (Transcribing Game History)

This is from Electronic Gaming Monthly, Issue 003. Sept-Oct 1989. Incredible reading about what was about to be unleashed, not just on the gaming world, but on culture itself.

I found this looking for original reviews of Rambo III for the Sega Genesis. 



By: Steve Harris

A Dozen New 16-Bit Game Titles Debut at Summer Show - Will the Momentum Continue?

Sega of America shocked the video game world during the opening of the Summer Consumer Electronics Show (CES), when their 16-Bit Genesis system was officially unveiled with over 15 different games available! This instantly put to rest rumors that the unit would not have the software support necessary to carry the 16-Bit heavyweight. Beyond the bright lights and slick PR were an abundance of outstanding titles. Since NEC was absent from the main show floor, Genesis had the spotlight all to itself- and did it shine! In addition to performing demonstrations on the new Tele-Genesis modem baseball game, Sega knocked everyone off their feet with more than a dozen games ranging from early Mega Drive comes with the Genesis system. games like Space Harrier 2, Super Thunder Blade, Altered Beast (which comes with the system), and Alex Kidd, Sega showed many new games that have never been seen before like Super Hang-On (race a motorcycle around the world), Rambo 3 (a Commando-style scrolling shooter with intense graphics), Red Belt (karate kicker from Activision), Forbidden Worlds (two player combo action that is similar to Side Arms), Tommy Lasorda Baseball (great looking and playing baseball cart that tracks the other 26 teams while you play through the season), Soccer, Golf, Hydlide Special (RPG), Last Battle (scrolling kung-fu action), Thunder Force 2 (multi-level horizontal and verticle shooter), Hollo Fighter, and the incredible Ghouls and Ghosts - a game which we would dare label the "Best Home Video Game Ever Made"!

Now armed with over a dozen solid games, Sega will begin their assault on the game-playing public this September with five to ten titles. Another twenty are in development and have planned release dates that could put as many as 30 Genesis carts into stores by the end of the year! While the true number of titles (from both Sega and third-party sources) will more than likely be closer to two dozen, Sega's ability to deliver more than just a half dozen games makes the entire system much more alluring than a month ago.

Now it's up to Sega to continue to produce games that are of the same exceptional quality as the new titles released at CES. Since NEC has a vast library of games that are already completed for the Japanese P.C. Engine (which could easily be translated onto the TurboGrafx-16), Sega is shifting both its Japanese and American operations into overdrive in an effort to continue the flow of software on a steady basis. Combined with an aggressive licensing strategy (see accompanying story), the Genesis has been elevated from an outstanding piece of hardware, to a spectacular game machine!


Genesis can be expanded in several ways. The first add-ons to be available include the Tele-Genesis modem (see story on next page) and the Power Base Converter that allows you to play existing 8-Bit Sega carts and cards! This $40.00 adapter plugs into the Genesis cartridge slot on the top of the unit, acting as an instant interface between the 8-Bit game and the Z-80 on the main...


Genesis Third-Party Game Support... 

One mistake that Sega's determined not to repeat is a lack of third-party game support for their new 16-Bit console. Although the 8-Bit Master System is only now starting to attract outside developers like Activision and Absolute, Sega is taking a much more aggressive stance for the Genesis. At this time there are 20 third-party companies signed on, with many more coming on board very soon according to our sources. The companies that have announced Mega Drive/Genesis project include arcade names like Capcom, Data East, Taito, Toleco (Sammy), Namco, Sunsoft, Sigma, as well as independent developers like Asmik, NCS, Techno Soft, MicroNet, Treco, Dempa Publications, Activision, and HBS Co. It must be noted that some companies (like Capcom on Ghouls and Ghosts and Forgotten Worlds) will only be licensing their games to the system - not marketing them.

--------------------- board. What type of effects this will have on the Sega Master System are questionable, but it's nice that Sega has considered the legion of loyal followers their 8-Bit unit has attracted. The downward compatibility of the Genesis is really another one of the system's stronger features - with the adapter it can now play close to 100 games!

Future Games

Now that the Genesis has shown that it can punch out award-winners (Ghouls and Ghosts got EGM's award for Best Game of Show at the recent CES), we'll have to keep a close watch on what the company plans to do for an encore to their CES spectacular. Since most of the games that we were given an advance peek at in our offices have not even been released in Japan yet, it would appear that Sega's played their entire hand. We have discovered, however, that Sega is rumored to be releasing Genesis versions of their popular coin-op hits Turbo OutRun, Golden Axe, After Burner, Fantasy Zone 2, and Power Drift (although the last three may not be released in the U.S.). Other hot games, which may be released through third-party sources, include Football, Omega Fighter, Atomic Robo-Kid, Cyberball, Phelios, as well as the long-awaited sequel to Sega's number one 8-Bit game - Phantasy Star 2-a six-meg, battery-back-up extravaganza that brings RPG gaming into the 16-Bit world. With games like these you can't go wrong and Sega knows it! They're on course with a system that knows no limits and has the ability play exciting games like we've never seen before - except in the arcades of course!



The Future of Video Games? One of the Genesis system's most interesting attachments being offered with the Genesis unit is without a doubt the Tele-Genesis game modem that was shown for the first time in the last issue of Electronic Gaming. This new device allows you to instantly "link-up" with a friend across town or across the country and play games head-to-head! Here's how it works: In Tele-Genesis Baseball (the only title announced for the modem) for instance, you may control the pitcher and have your own view of the action from over the pitcher's shoulder, while your opponent on the other end of the line takes command of the base runners and batter from his perspective behind home plate. Each player maintains control over his team while facing the strategies and techniques employed by another person instead of the computer. Sound intense? You bet it is! Although modem games have been around forever on computer systems and networks, this type of player-to-player interaction has never been available before for a game system.

Examining the Unit

The Tele-Genesis peripheral is roughly nine inches long and plugs into the nine-pin expansion port on back of the Genesis system. From the modem there is a cord which is fas- tened to a dual line connector which then plugs into the telephone jack.

Tele-Genesis Gaming

The main question surrounding Tele-Genesis is one of feasibility. We can tell you that the Tele-Genesis peripheral does indeed work, but with a rumored three to four second lag in information transmissions. The prototype unit's baud rate is 1200, which prohibits large volumes of data from being relayed at a high speed. The other problem with Tele-Genesis is price. Before you can throw your first pitch on Tele-Genesis Baseball, you must have two Genesis owners who each have the modem attachment and each have Tele-Genesis Baseball - you're looking at at least a few hundred dollars, not to mention the long distance bill if your opponent is out of the city. The real future of the Tele-Genesis may be a games network where players can call in locally to play games from a master computer. While Sega emphatically denies any such direction for the modem, several sources indicate that this may be in the works. As a game machine, the Tele-Genesis just doesn't pass initial tests. A lack of compatible software nar- rows its appeal and state-to-state play seems like little more than a high- priced headache. Other applications may be found for the unit, however, so early impressions may be unfavorable - but not completely negative.