Paper. Rock. Scissors.
In 1986, most gamers who were lucky enough to own a new video game system at home were playing the original Nintendo. It’s launch in 1985, a year before the Sega Master System was launched in the states, allowed it plenty of time become the most popular console in the market, and the game Super Mario Bros. quickly became the best-selling video game of all time (a title it continues to hold, having sold over 40 million copies to date). However, even though Nintendo commanded 95% of the North American video game market at the time and the CEO of Sega made little effort to promote and market it, some people still bought and gave the Sega Master System a chance. Perhaps it was the 3-D glasses or it’s unique ability to read multiple media inputs… or perhaps that the original version of the system had a secret game built right into it (and it was unbeatable!).
Although the system was an underdog, it underwent several redesigns and mascot changes, ranging from Alex Kidd to, finally, Sonic
in the end. When the system was redesigned around 1990, Sega finally
tried to market it aggressively, but it was too late. By 1992, sales
were nearly non-existent in North America (although it should be noted
the console was very popular in Europe and several other countries where Nintendo did not sell consoles). Which is all too bad, because there were many brilliant, brilliant games for the SMS.
For those of us lucky enough to have owned a SMS, we can delight in the
nostalgia brought about by the mere mention of games such as Zillion, Alex the Kid in Miracle World, Choplifter, Ys, After Burner, Altered Beast, Phantasy Star, Hang On/Safari Hunt, and Shinobi.