Jump to content
IGNORED

SMS over NES in '86


Recommended Posts

I'm putting this here as there is no official Sega Master System category on Atari Age.

 

Yes, I'm in the USA (and always have been) and for that reason it makes this story little different. When I see people talk about the SMS (meaning people from the USA) here on Atari Age, it almost always starts with “I didn't have it back in the day BUT”. Well I did have it back in the day and, BTW, it wasn't because my parents bought it instead of an NES (I know you are thinking it). I asked for it!

 

Side note: I know it is always pointed out that NES came out in '85, but that was test marketing and most still didn't know about it. Contrary to popular belief Nintendo was NOT ubiquitous in '85 or '86. And just for the record I did not live in some back water town (Cincinnati, Ohio).

 

I was twelve years old that late summer (Aug/Sept) of '86 when I realized home gaming was a thing again. During that summer break I would spend at least one day week down at a large local arcade with friends. Why?, because I was 12 and home video gaming was dead for the last couple years and it was the only place to play something different.

 

School started and my one friend who had a birthday in late August (or maybe early September, (its a little fuzzy now) invited me over to his house to show me his new game system. I'm thinking he is talking about a new computer? I didn't know of any new game system at the time. When I got there his dad hooks up a Nintendo Entertainment System with some kind of robot. I thought it was a funny name, but okay. That night I got to play something that my mind kept comparing to Colecovision (which I only got to play once or twice back in '83) . That's what it felt like to me anyway. It was fun and different. I really thought the game pads were a little odd. I was use to joysticks. I remember having a hard time getting use to jumping on enemies in SMB to kill them. Yep, gamers take it for granted now, but back in the day you normally had to shot or punch and enemy to kill them. Jumping on them would kill you (think Mario Bros or DK jr.). I started think that night, if this new game system is out, is there any other new game systems?

 

Couple weeks went by and my friend and I walked to a local Gold Circle department store (well technically Hills department store as it just changed over a few weeks prior but we still called it Gold Circle). Back in the toy area of the store sat 3 NEW video game consoles I had never seen before (except the NES). Atari 7800, Sega Master System, and the NES. The Atari 7800 was just set up with the Pole Position II cart that you could play. I wasn't really impressed. The SMS and NES were some kind of select-a-game device. I played on the NES at my friends house and noticed most of the games were the same that he had, so I decide to try this Sega Master System thing. WOW! The colors on the screen looked so much better than the NES. The first game I tried was Alex Kidd in Miracle World. My first thought was, this is like SMB, but better because you punch your enemies (not jump on them). This was a gaming mechanic that I instinctively knew. I then tried Choplifter, and that felt like I was playing a real arcade game. But the game that made me say “I want this console!” was RAMBO first Blood Part II. There was nothing like this on the NES (at that time) and I had to have it.

 

My birthday was coming up and I asked my mom if I could have the Sega Master System (knowing it was a long shot). I was told it was way too expensive for your birthday (I felt like crap). Then she said but... maybe Christmas? And man did I perk up quick. I just had to wait a couple more months and hope it really would happen.

 

Christmas of '86 came and sure enough I got the Sega Master System (with Alex Kidd, Ghost House & Rambo). Of course the console also came with HangOn & Safari Hunt. Safari Hunt I thought was so much better than Duck Hunt. And this was just the start of my Sega Master System journey.

 

Between 1986-1989 I amassed a sizable collection (for the time) including, 17 games, Rapid fire Control Sticks, Sports pad, Sega Scope 3D, and Sega newsletters. My Master System journey ended Christmas 1989 when I got Genesis (which I paid half for). For those wondering, I never wanted an NES during that time frame and I was quit happy to be part the Sega ecosystem. I could expand on the story to cover all the way to 1989, but I'll save that for a different time. :) If you made it this far, Thank You.


Are there any others (mainly from USA) that decided on SMS over NES? Please share your story.

 

BTW, I only say USA because I know the Master System was more popular in Europe and Brazil and to most in the USA Sega was non existent. But you are more than welcome post your stories as well. :)

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wasn't a Sega guy until the Genesis won me over. Real arcade-like ports! And unlike Coleco, they mostly meant it!

 

But it's probably important to note that the Master System is actually a next generation system, designed in 1986. The NES goes all the way back to 1983, with the Famicom. It was released on the same day as the SG-1000 (Japanese ColecoVision clone), yet is so far ahead of it that it could compete against the Master System and win.

 

The Master System is a pretty powerful machine for its time, though. You ever play Rampage? Whoa. Stomps all over the NES version. It's not even a contest. With the FM unit it even sounds 16-bit.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bought mine because of Rambo, since I had a thing for Front Line in the arcades. Don't think I even knew about the NES back then, I hadn't had a home console since getting rid of my ColecoVision and Bally Computer System.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, dudeguy said:

We were a Nintendo family from about 1989/1990 onward. Sega always felt secondary to me and I didn't know the SMS existed until the early 2000s

 

1 hour ago, Jess Ragan said:

I wasn't a Sega guy until the Genesis won me over. Real arcade-like ports! And unlike Coleco, they mostly meant it!

 

But it's probably important to note that the Master System is actually a next generation system, designed in 1986. The NES goes all the way back to 1983, with the Famicom. It was released on the same day as the SG-1000 (Japanese ColecoVision clone), yet is so far ahead of it that it could compete against the Master System and win.

 

The Master System is a pretty powerful machine for its time, though. You ever play Rampage? Whoa. Stomps all over the NES version. It's not even a contest. With the FM unit it even sounds 16-bit.

It's important for me to point out that this topic is not saying the SMS was better than the NES in 1986 nor I'm I saying the NES is bad in any way. I am just trying to show that some did actually want the Sega Master System back in the day. I've also read where some people think that if you had SMS back in the day you somehow missed out on something. I'm just trying to show that wasn't the case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, you always missed out on something back in those days. If you didn't have a Master System, you couldn't play Choplifter or Wonder Boy 3. If you didn't have an NES, you couldn't play a whole lot of popular games, like Super Mario Bros and Castlevania and Mega Man. If you didn't have an Atari 7800, you couldn't play... uh, help me out here. Robotron: 2084? Desert Falcon? (Rikki and Vikki is a 7800 killer app, but that came much later. Too late to save the system for sure.)

 

Cash strapped gamers had to perform a little triage and pick the system that was best suited to them. If you wanted to play games for a competitor's system, you went over to the house of a friend who owned it.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only person I knew who owned a Master System when they were current was a friend of mine in Jr. High.  His divorced mother married another kid in our class's divorced father.  To appease both of them after getting remarried, they both got a game system.  My friend got a Master System, and his new step brother got a NES.  It was also the first time I ever saw a NES and I was intrigued by ROB but we weren't allowed to play it.  I do remember playing Hang-On and TransBot on his SMS tho.

 

As an aside I only knew one person who had a Turbografx and a Lynx when they were current too.  :D  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I definitely got the Sega Master System on purpose, after a long deliberative process of comparing screenshots of all the games in various Christmas catalogs and weekly newspaper ad inserts. 😄 In 1987 there was only just barely beginning to be video game magazines again, starting with Electronic Game Player, which changed into EGM after the first four issues. So there wasn't much in the way of reviews to go by - it really did come down to staring at one or two screenshots of the games and hoping that you made good choices about which one to get, because it would be a long time until you got another one. My family had previously had the Atari 2600, so I still had a lot of positive vibes with Atari. But I could see after some careful consideration that the Atari 7800 was focused on a little bit older style arcade games. I liked Nintendo arcade games like Punch-Out!! and Excitebike, but Sega arcade games like Out Run, Shinobi and After Burner were just on a whole other level in that era, and so, knowing that they'd probably be exclusive, that tipped the scales for me to go with the Master System. Fortunately, I had two other friends who came to the same conclusion, so between the three of us we did some coordination to make sure we usually got games and peripherals that the other two didn't have, and we borrowed each others' games a lot and were able to experience a lot more games that way, since back in those days there was Christmas and birthdays, and then maybe you could save up during the year to get a couple of other games here and there.

 

At school, we got into debates with the NES kids about which consoles were better, but they were usually good-natured debates, and we would trade consoles for a week at a time so we could try out the other systems, too. I remember playing Rygar, the first Zelda, and Castlevania when borrowing a friend's NES. To me it wasn't really a matter of this or that console was clearly better, but they both had their own characteristics and it was just interesting to contrast them. I did wish there were more games overall on the Master System, but it would have just been for more to choose from since realistically I could only get maybe 4-5 games per year. But as it happened, the Master System did get some really cool exclusives like R-Type and Time Soldiers, so I was pretty happy with those in addition to the major Sega arcade ports.

 

There was some drama one day in the lunchroom... there were a couple of TVs in there, and it always got our attention when there would be a video game ad. One day the ad for two-player Double Dragon on the Master System came on. That was a bombshell moment, because it had been a big topic of discussion that the NES version was only one player. Seeing this ad for two-player Double Dragon on the TV in the lunch room was the first time any of us had heard about it, and it caused a literal uproar and one of the most strident NES kids actually shat his pants and had to go to the office, get washed up, and wear some loaner pants for the rest of the day. In retrospect, I think he was actually already having some digestive woes and it was just coincidental that he happened to have an accident at that moment, but it was an unforgettable occurrence - and it actually kind of resulted in us not debating each other so intensely about it from then on. It was kind of a clarifying moment that, rival systems or not, we were just a handful of outcasts who were considered the nerds by the mainstream kids, so we stuck together even though we had different favorite systems. Unfortunately at that time I didn't know anyone who had a 7800 so it wasn't until much later that I got to try out that system.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

5047226-body-slam-sega-master-system-froI never did like the box cover design of the SMS (although I did like the Genesis’s). Someone at Sega needed to be better at marketing. The covers weren’t selling the games.

4348407-action-fighter-sega-master-syste

 

I never owned a SMS bitd, but for the most part it would be hard for it to compete with the NES on volume of games. Sega didn’t have much 3rd party support, because of Nintendo’s strong arm tactics.


In 1986, the NES maybe had 5 great games, SMB, Excitebike, Kung Fu, Ghost’n Gobilns, Gradius. The SMS probably also had a comparable number of great titles. 

 

Choplifter

September 1986

Fantasy Zone

September 1986

Ghost House

September 1986

Hang-On

September 1986

My Hero

September 1986

Safari Hunt

September 1986

Snail Maze

September 1986

Teddy Boy Blues

September 1986

F-16 Fighting Falcon

October 1986

TransBot

October 1986

World Grand Prix

October 1986

Action Fighter

November 1986

Black Belt

November 1986

Alex Kidd in Miracle World

December 1986

Astro Warrior

December 1986

Great Ice Hockey

December 1986

Marksman Shooting & Trap Shooting

December 1986

The Ninja

December 1986

Pro Wrestling

December 1986

Rambo: First Blood Part II

December 1986

Super Tennis

December 1986[d]

 

The NES was gaining steam in 1987, with, Pro Wrestling, Castlevania, Kid Icarus, The Legend of ZeldaRygar, MetroidRad Racer, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, The Goonies II, Top Gun, Mega Man, Wizards & Warriors


SMSs 19 total games, maybe 5 again are great.

Great Baseball

March 1987

Shooting Gallery

March 1987

Space Harrier

March 1987

Quartet

April 1987

Ghostbusters

May 1987

Wonder Boy

June 1987

Great Football

July 1987

Rocky

July 1987

Enduro Racer

August 1987

Gangster Town

August 1987

Great Volleyball

August 1987

Missile Defense 3-D

August 1987

Kung Fu Kid

October 1987

Out Run

October 1987

Great Soccer

October 1987

Great Golf

November 1987

Zillion

November 1987

Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa

December 1987

Great Basketball

December 1987

 

By 1988, the race was over. The SMS got 30 new games to NES’s 60. I would say that Sega had a higher hit rate to filler with 1988 (probably closer to 50% rather than 30%)

Edited by CapitanClassic
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I was one of those that had experience with an SMS as a kid. My older cousin had one and I used to play it probably when I was in preschool. I loved Double Dragon and can remember it being two player, which was great because then I'd at least be able to get somewhere in the game playing as a duo. I liked Hang-On and Safari Hunt. My cousin brought the SMS for a sleepover at my house and he claimed I wrecked the gun by holding it too close to the screen. With the gun being broke, that was it. Zillion is a game I remember playing a lot and I had no idea what it was until the internet because I could not read. I just called it "The Z Game". I want to say Rampage and Altered Beast were also played. I thought the game was called Alter Beast.

 

I'm thinking it was Christmas in kindergarten when I got the NES. I had asked for a SMS but apparently my parents asked my cousin if that was any good and he told them no because they don't even make games for it anymore. I also have a memory of the Christmas wrapping ripping a bit exactly where the Nintendo Seal of Approval was under the tree, so I knew what I was getting. These memories conflict a bit, though I suppose it is possible I asked why I got that and not a SMS. I'm guessing around this time my aunt and uncle bought an NES, where I had become familiar with that library to the point zero fucks were given that I got an NES instead.

 

Fucks were, however, given sometime in the next couple years. My cousin got a Genesis early on (and I would thereafter in two or 3 years), but since my cousin had a Genesis at his place, he left his SMS at my grandparents' house to play when he was there. That was a goldmine for me, because if I was there when he wasn't, I had free reign on the system all to myself which allowed me to get even more into it. One day I went to my grandparents' and there was an NES hooked up to the TV. He had traded his SMS collection for his cousin's NES collection. I probably said why the fuck would you do that, and maybe that is where the "they don't even sell games for it anymore" came from. I can distinctly remember not being happy at his decision to do so and I never, ever forgot the SMS. I tried to find one for years with no avail.

 

My parents wouldn't use their credit card online, so, finally, when I turned 18, I applied for a credit card and the very first purchase I made with it was a SMS and a SMS game lot. To this day, I really define that era as a combo of NES and SMS and picking sides seems pointless because my brain can't fathom not experiencing them both at the same time. Years later, I even bought a 7800 to complete the trio.

 

 

Edited by bretthorror
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, CapitanClassic said:

5047226-body-slam-sega-master-system-froI never did like the box cover design of the SMS (although I did like the Genesis’s). Someone at Sega needed to be better at marketing. The covers weren’t selling the games.

4348407-action-fighter-sega-master-syste

 

I never owned a SMS bitd, but for the most part it would be hard for it to compete with the NES on volume of games. Sega didn’t have much 3rd party support, because of Nintendo’s strong arm tactics.


In 1986, the NES maybe had 5 great games, SMB, Excitebike, Kung Fu, Ghost’n Gobilns, Gradius. The SMS probably also had a comparable number of great titles. 

 

Choplifter

September 1986

Fantasy Zone

September 1986

Ghost House

September 1986

Hang-On

September 1986

My Hero

September 1986

Safari Hunt

September 1986

Snail Maze

September 1986

Teddy Boy Blues

September 1986

F-16 Fighting Falcon

October 1986

TransBot

October 1986

World Grand Prix

October 1986

Action Fighter

November 1986

Black Belt

November 1986

Alex Kidd in Miracle World

December 1986

Astro Warrior

December 1986

Great Ice Hockey

December 1986

Marksman Shooting & Trap Shooting

December 1986

The Ninja

December 1986

Pro Wrestling

December 1986

Rambo: First Blood Part II

December 1986

Super Tennis

December 1986[d]

 

The NES was gaining steam in 1987, with, Pro Wrestling, Castlevania, Kid Icarus, The Legend of ZeldaRygar, MetroidRad Racer, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, The Goonies II, Top Gun, Mega Man, Wizards & Warriors


SMSs 19 total games, maybe 5 again are great.

Great Baseball

March 1987

Shooting Gallery

March 1987

Space Harrier

March 1987

Quartet

April 1987

Ghostbusters

May 1987

Wonder Boy

June 1987

Great Football

July 1987

Rocky

July 1987

Enduro Racer

August 1987

Gangster Town

August 1987

Great Volleyball

August 1987

Missile Defense 3-D

August 1987

Kung Fu Kid

October 1987

Out Run

October 1987

Great Soccer

October 1987

Great Golf

November 1987

Zillion

November 1987

Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa

December 1987

Great Basketball

December 1987

 

By 1988, the race was over. The SMS got 30 new games to NES’s 60. I would say that Sega had a higher hit rate to filler with 1988 (probably closer to 50% rather than 30%)

The thing about this argument I always will acknowledge is it doesn't matter what has historically turned out on top or competitive. In reality, the average game collection in real time was a small group of games good and we had a bunch of mediocre and often bad games. I learned a harsh lesson when my mom promised me a game and Streets of Rage 3 was nowhere to be found that day which I wanted dearly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Tonka was doing the marketing, hence the crappiness. Toy companies were really cozy with video game console manufacturers, given the similar demographics and the fact that video games weren't as popular as toys in the mid 1980s. Sega and Tonka worked together on the Master System, Worlds of Wonder teamed up with Nintendo on the early NES launch, and of course Coleco had the ColecoVision, although that was toast by the time the NES hit store shelves. The Intellivision started as a Mattel product, but by the late 1980s the console had been sold to the people who designed it.

 

(For what it's worth, I kind of like the cheesiness of old white grid Master System games. I like the look of black box NES games much more, but Master System games are almost stubbornly, defiantly cheap, and I have a begrudging admiration for that. They may as well have sold them in a brown paper bag.)

 

Regarding the other person's comment, hey... I'm just callin' 'em like I see 'em. The Atari 7800 was a dinosaur even in its own time... the hardware was capable (and not fully utilized until thirty years later, ahem), but it was chained to an antiquated business model and equally creaky single screen games. The game industry had grown beyond Centipede, Dig Dug, and Asteroids in 1986... why couldn't Atari? The Atari 7800 had more sprites and brighter colors than the NES, and similar hardware scrolling. Why wasn't Atari using it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not from the US but I wanted a Master System over an NES because I saw Shinobi in the arcades and I loved ninjas as a kid. Maybe if I had seen Ninja Spirit on PC Engine (the seller wanted me to get one instead, but he showed me a shoot 'em up that didn't impress me for some reason) or Ninja Gaiden on the NES, I would have changed my mind; however, Ninja Gaiden was only released in 1991 in Europe, and I got the SMS for my birthday on August 1990. Of course I got very jealous when the NES got the TMNT game, even though it wasn't that good, but you don't care as a kid. 😉

 

A friend of mine had a NES and we would swap consoles on a regular basis, and frankly, even though I was aware the NES got many more games, especially licensed one like the Star Wars game, it didn't necessarily made me regret anything because I found NES games harder. Most SMS games were arcade games, so you would often respawn where you are instead of getting back to a checkpoint or, worse, at the beginning of the level - I hated that in SMB or Batman for instance.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Man I had one friend that got the master system instead of the nes, the 3d glasses thing just kicked ass imo (only one game used it, don't know how many total did, but it was still impressive for the time, and COLOR, unlike the crappy anaglyphic glasses on nintendo.)

 

BUT, and this has always for me, remained true of all Sega consoles. Most the games felt like "diet" versions of what you got on Nintendo's various consoles. Did I mind that? Well, my preferred gaming was always handheld, so diet games were my primary diet (pun intended) but, we're not talking handhelds, were talking consoles, and I just always found it perplexing that most Sega stuff just never added up. Games we're shorter, and simpler, and often not as refined.

 

To be brutally honest, I preferred 7800 over master system, and had Atari not "head up ass" the release of that (either release when done, or worked on it more) I fully believe Atari could have easily taken the second spot that generation.

 

Oh, loved the carts, and cards for SMS, think Sega missed an opportunity to use the same card for gamegear, that would have been awesome. The box art does much suck though, but love the clamshell box itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(OP, first post)

That is an interesting take for sure.  I knew of it in and about the late 80s but really early 90s after it was suffering, a friend after I moved in 88/89 at his house had one and we'd do some of those fine sega arcade ports like Shinobi and stuff and it was fun for sure in short bursts as any arcade game would be.


I do find it strange as I'm from the era too that you got so utterly uncomfortable and confused by the D-pad on the NES.  I get the wtf...jump to get points, not jump and DIE mechanic of SMB but I'm at a loss why the combination of that would make you want to get a new system, but see what else is there that isn't well...that (NES.)  By the time you wanted to look, it had the playing with power ads in print and tv starting to circle and a base was slowly growing too and Sega really didn't advertise because Tonka was incompetent.  Now you're right side by side on a kiosk, the SMS would win visually back in those years because of the colors and how they detailed them as the NES hadn't really hit that stride with the MMC chips to broaden its abilities, as you pointed out, a stock system is much like a Colecovision as both it (and FAMICOM) are 1983 devices.  I do find it a bit strange that Alex Kidd with its weird flow and utterly shitty (seemingly at the time before guides) random rock paper scissors or DIE bosses were more appealing.  In the end if you were happy that's all that matters, and at that unique period in time the SMS would have been on top until the NES started to expand within the carts too, but it was a bit of a rouse given they never expanded the systems abilities so it aged and fizzled out hard after not long too.  SMS went from Alex Kidd to Alex Kidd again in Shinobi World or GOlden Axe Warrior in detail -- NES went from black box to Kirby and Castlevania/SMB 3 titles...ouch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Jess Ragan said:

(For what it's worth, I kind of like the cheesiness of old white grid Master System games. I like the look of black box NES games much more, but Master System games are almost stubbornly, defiantly cheap, and I have a begrudging admiration for that. They may as well have sold them in a brown paper bag.)

I can understand not liking the art direction... it was probably more appropriate for New Yorker cartoons than for video games marketed to kids, with an unusually minimalist/sophisticated style. But cheap? No way, not with those nice plastic clamshell cases that have kept those cartridges and inserts near mint for 4 decades. Sega went the extra mile with those cases.

 

Plus, everyone always focuses on those earliest box designs. It wasn't that long until they started having some really cool box art, in the US when Tonka took over distribution and then of course in Europe where there was a lot more third party support. Prior to the partnership with Tonka, Sega of America got up and running and localized the entire system for North America in just 10 months. Interestingly, in Brazil, TecToy kept going with the original font for game titles and so designs were more consistent throughout the cartridge era (they continue to sell the Master System to this day in various all-in-one formats).

 

Some cool ones:

 

 

AirRescue_SMS_EU_Box.jpg

Darius_II_SMS_EU_Box.jpg

DoubleDragon_SMS_US_noR_cover.jpg

MasterofDarkness_SMS_EU_Box.jpg

RType_SMS_US_Box.jpg

TimeSoldiers_US_cover.jpg

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh come on they were utterly cheap when they really wanted to market the thing against the NES early on.  Black Belt, Wrestling, those ones are internet memes on how you can make something look so much even worse than the meme of NES heights MegaMan1 guy bad, but with terrible minimalist art on a boring screams 80s white tile grid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Tanooki said:

I do find it strange as I'm from the era too that you got so utterly uncomfortable and confused by the D-pad on the NES.

Please keep in mind I was trying to condense the story. I'm admittedly not much of a writer and I didn't what to describe ever small detail. With that stated this my first experience with a pad control. I stated just before that, that I spent a lot of time at the arcade (trying to set up why I felt the way I did). Up to that point my experience with video gaming was Odyssey2 (joysticks), Atari 2600 (joysticks), Colecovision (joystick nubs, which I only play two or three times), and Arcade machines (joysticks). It didn't feel comfortable to me at the time. At the same time I'm not saying the Master System's pad was any better. After going to store I just accepted that pads where a thing at that point going forward. As soon as Joysticks were made available for the SMS I got them. The thing is that didn't happen in 1986 and the story was set up for 1986.

 

1 hour ago, Tanooki said:

...but see what else is there that isn't well...that (NES.)  By the time you wanted to look, it had the playing with power ads in print and tv starting to circle and a base was slowly growing too...

We are talking about a two weekish span of time. I don't remember seeing "playing with power ads" before seeing the NES at my friends house. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention, I don't know. I just don't remember seeing those TV ads.

 

I didn't want to give the impression I was turned off by the NES. It was actually the opposite. Wanting to see what else was out there comes from the fact that during the Atari 2600 time frame my family pick O2. Then I saw the Atari 2600, then Intellivision, and later Colecovision. I assumed at the time there were more system to choose from because that's how it was last time. Yes, I now know as an adult that was a bad assumption, but I was lucky it turned out to be true in 1986. 

 

1 hour ago, Tanooki said:

I do find it a bit strange that Alex Kidd with its weird flow and utterly shitty (seemingly at the time before guides) random rock paper scissors or DIE bosses were more appealing.

Few things here:

 

1) I didn't play the game Alex Kidd all the way to the first boss fight at the store. For someone who has never played a game like the before why would you assume I made it that far? I was just testing the games and I wanted to play some of the other games in the kiosk to get a better feel for the offerings at the time. I wasn't going to spend all day on a store kiosk (the store would kick kids off of it after so much time anyway).

 

2) It was not random. Back in the day I didn't need a guide to figure it out. With that stated, owning the game lets you play it more than just a few minutes and you learn there is an item that lets you see what the bosses are thinking during the rock paper scissors matches. You do have to unlock the opening for the item (Yes, like SMB Alex Kidd had a few hidden things, though not nearly as many). BTW, you only have to memorize the first Boss battle sequence because the item isn't available of another level or so.

 

3) "Weird Flow?". I never felt it had a weird flow. Could it be that maybe you spent a lot of time with SMB before you were exposed to Alex Kidd? I could see someone saying that if that was the case. I personally feel SMB has a weird flow, but again I've played Alex Kidd a lot more.

 

1 hour ago, Tanooki said:

In the end if you were happy that's all that matters, and at that unique period in time the SMS would have been on top until the NES started to expand within the carts too, but it was a bit of a rouse given they never expanded the systems abilities so it aged and fizzled out hard after not long too.  SMS went from Alex Kidd to Alex Kidd again in Shinobi World or GOlden Axe Warrior in detail -- NES went from black box to Kirby and Castlevania/SMB 3 titles...ouch.

Again, I'm not saying the SMS is better than the NES. I was never trying to say that. I was trying to show why I choose SMS over NES in 1986. That's all. I'm not bashing the NES in any way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I was a bit older when the SMS came out, I probably would have gone with it to start as well. It had a very strong first year or two before the NES really picked up steam and blew past it with a greater amount of interesting/innovative games. Before the NES began using more advanced mappers, SMS games clearly looked "bigger" and more colorful in those early days.

 

I didn't obtain a SMS until the late '90s, but always had fond memories playing it at a neighbor's house when I was five or six. The Alex Kidd games (they owned the first three) were staples for us, as well as OutRun, the Fantasy Zones and Gangster Town. The latter is still one of my favorite light-gun games to this day. It's almost like a proto-Virtua Cop and gets pretty busy/intense, which is unique in a sea of lightgun games from the time that only had a small handful of things happening on the screen at any given moment.

 

My neighbor eventually went all-in on Nintendo and sold his Master System at a yard sale for a whopping $10. My parents were believers that videogames would rot your brain and would not allow more than one console in the house (well, that is until they bought a SNES years later), and wouldn't drop that tiny bit of cash on the SMS for me. That was a sad day.

  • Sad 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Be honest, in 1985/86 did all of you really know the difference between the SMS and NES? Back then all I knew was I'd see a display of something like City Connection or something and just know it was new home videogame of some sort from Japan. Impressive but just a little too foreign to spend money on and that's about it. You could have shown me games from a Famicom or SG-1000/SMS and they all fell into the same category.

 

The turning point for me was when I went to Japan and saw Mario Bros  (i.e. a game I knew from the arcade) and it blew me away how close it looked. Moreover my brother would tell me tales of his host house having a Mario game that was an adventure and would describe it as having secrets etc. So anyway.. when I finally saw the Mario games for sale on a console locally (which turned out to be via a Famiclone) THAT'S the one I got. I didn't even think of it as "Nintendo" yet. 😛  Fast forward and I go to college in California in 1987, and check out Macys at the mall... they have displays of both SMS and NES up but I remember seeing an SMS game on display and just thinking I could get it not even realizing (at first) that it wouldn't work. :lol: I eventually sorted it out and finally understood that there's another console available that I should consider.. the Sega Master System with the b&w grid boxes. I of course bought a US NES console so I could feed it US carts, and I just couldn't resist the other one.. the SMS and bought one shortly after for my dorm.  Anyway, for me NES & SMS were part of a happy household.. never in conflict, always just serving up the vids. :)

 


 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a test launch system in 1985, I saw ads start up I believe about a year later since they were cranking stuff out to really cover the christmas 86 shopping season.  The emblematic motto of theirs was evne on the old ROB posters as it was.  I wasn't trying to snark that one, so I did ignore the fact the sms has a d-pad, an ok one too at that since you brought in joysticks.  I've had friends with 2600s, my mom and her bf had channel F2 systems which I inherited one (damn my father for throwing it all out, had nearly every game CIB console too, still worked beyond 2001-02.)  I've never liked nor gotten into the squares, Coleco and a parallel universe Famicom never had expansion chips (like SMS) is my bottom basement before I just rather not at all (do arcade, PC instead.) :)

 

Alex Kidd I had no idae how far you got, the game itself with the punch mechanic and all is fairly easy, not too brutal so I'd figure a little time on a kiosk you'd get drawn into the life sucking hell trap of the "random" game of chance or death boss fights.  I'd consider the game a masterpiece of the era if that never happened.  I know it's not random, it's why I wasn't as direct in calling it that and using quotes now this time.  A lot of people are just not into pattern recognition and that item could be missed, in that case, it's basically a game of russian roulette with worse odds.  And yes I did, but I've played both quite a lot.  Alex just doesn't move as smoothly, the stage designs aren't as fluid or progressively slowly more challenging either.  It just doesn't flow as smoothly as Mario and I find it kind of shocking someone would think the opposite as that's a rare statement.

 

I never said you put the NES on blast, I really don't care if someone prefers one over the other.  My point was that Sega as usual did some poor choices in design, but some were just common of the era as Nintendo was weird about an open ended cartridge slot for expansion reasons within the games.  What you got on a SMS in 1986 vs 1990 was the same hard limits you got stuck with, and Nintendo was an underdog in the A/V dept for a while with that, but once the MMC series and the bigger spread of Japanese chips arrived doors really opened.  I'd fault no one for picking a SMS if it were in the mid 80s before the Nintendo hype train went apeshit by the time SMB2 came out and Zelda 2 along with it in the later 80s.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Tanooki said:

Oh come on they were utterly cheap when they really wanted to market the thing against the NES early on.  Black Belt, Wrestling, those ones are internet memes on how you can make something look so much even worse than the meme of NES heights MegaMan1 guy bad, but with terrible minimalist art on a boring screams 80s white tile grid.

😄Of course the grid screams 80s, it was a hot 80s design trend and certainly not uncommon before or after the SMS. But as far as "cheap" goes, I think you're using that in describing the investment in illustrations. The illustrations were clearly a marketing decision and one that turned out to not be appropriate to the target market, but it's not surprising that they tried something out there since they were struggling to regain retailer trust in video games in general. I'm just saying the physical plastic cases themselves were really premium and forward thinking, and definitely not cheap to manufacture compared to cardboard boxes. It's really not a problem to find near mint CIB games for the Master System now, whereas every other major system was using cheap cardboard boxes up until probably the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 came along with jewel cases, with the result being that these days it's much more common to find only loose cartridges for other systems. If you do find a boxed game in nice condition and not all crushed and wrinkled, it's time to seriously consider getting it an aftermarket plastic case anyway.

 

But anyway, I tend to really like the first-wave box designs for all the systems. Genesis black boxes, NES black boxes, TurboGrafx-16 with that particular font they used for the titles. After the first couple of years the designs start to go all over the place and then the library has a less cohesive visual look.
 

52 minutes ago, NE146 said:

Be honest, in 1985/86 did all of you really know the difference between the SMS and NES? Back then all I knew was I'd see a display of something like City Connection or something and just know it was new home videogame of some sort from Japan. Impressive but just a little too foreign to spend money on and that's about it. You could have shown me games from a Famicom or SG-1000/SMS and they all fell into the same category.

I definitely knew they were two separate, incompatible systems. I was already aware of that from previously having been into games during the Atari 2600, Intellivision, and Colecovision era. To me the differences that I could perceive were mainly in the exclusive games. I was just impressed that both of them looked so similar to arcade games. In particular I remember thinking it was cool that games used the same font for scores and such that was commonly seen in the arcade, whereas for some reason 7800 games used a font more similar to something I'd seen on my brother's Apple IIe.

 

It wasn't until later that I started to learn more about technical specifications, and it was kind of a process. Sega seemed to emphasize that stuff in their marketing. Even just the naming convention on the boxes that would specify "The Mega Cartridge," "The Two-Mega Cartridge," "The Four-Mega Cartridge." I vaguely knew it referred to memory and that related to graphics and perhaps the size of the in-game world, but I didn't really learn that it was referring to how many megabits the ROM chip stored until a while later. I remember showing my dad the Out Run cartridge box, which said "The Two-Mega Cartridge," and he asked "Does it have two cartridges in the box?" It was kind of difficult to explain, especially since I was a kid and I didn't fully understand it anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We were into the Genesis era before I got a chance to own and really put some time in SMS games.  What's impressive to me is how, even though I should have been spoiled by all those "next gen wow!" games, games like Rastan and Miracle Warriors held their own rather nicely.  I never felt like I was playing "old, outdated" stuff at all.

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...