Gaming History 101

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Posts Tagged ‘32x

Podcast: Frankenconsole

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Sega is most famous for hyper segmenting its markets in the 16-bit generation with the Sega CD and 32X.  This resulted in reduced audiences each time a game was developed.  This was especially the case in 1994 when the Genesis/Mega Drive was struggling to keep up with the more popular SNES, the Sega CD was limited by the high price of hardware, and the 32X just plain didn’t have games.  Fred and Jam discuss the attributes and games that make these two add-ons significant.

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Written by Fred Rojas

April 13, 2016 at 11:00 am

Posted in podcast, Sega CD/Mega CD

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Buying Guide: Sega Genesis (plus Sega CD and 32X)

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Behold "Frankenconsole"

Behold “Frankenconsole”

We all love our retro consoles, but in many cases the consoles we are buying are because they are cheap enough or we have enough money to purchase what we never were able to in our youth.  Unfortunately the business of making used retro items available to the masses can at times be a money grubbing market where consumers are deceived by people they will never meet in real life.  As an individual who has spent the last decade scouring the local area, conventions, eBay, and the internet as a whole I have learned many valuable lessons.  For that reason I present my buying guide series, which is a handy quick guide to knowing what to purchase and what will cost an arm and a leg to replace.

We have finally come to the console I started this entire buying guide series for: the Sega Genesis (and its many add-ons).  With a short period of its life having a 55 percent market share over the SNES (the year it launched, mind you), there were plenty of households who had a Sega Genesis.  So many, in fact, that there were five different versions of the console and 3 iterations!  Depending on the console version, your specs will vary but the list of what you need should stay the same so I’m going to run over the list.

First of all, figure out which model you want, here’s the gallery of what they look like:

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 20, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Darxide (Frontier)

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Darxide is a game that probably few people know about given all of the obstacles it faces to get into gamers’ hands.  First off it was released on the 32x…only in Europe…and it had a very limited print run.  I haven’t been able to find out how many carts were produced, but the game fetches hundreds of pounds in its native land.  I found one on eBay for about $700 (and that doesn’t even count the fact that the game will only run on a PAL/European 32x) and the gaming store I borrowed the game from sells the game with a European/PAL Mega Drive/32x combo for $900.00.  Assuming you can get beyond that expensive barrier for entry, you’re supposedly awarded with a decent shmup.  Now that I’ve played it, I’m not so sure I can agree.

Darxide was developed by Frontier Games as a launch title for the Sega Neptune, which was a hybrid Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and 32x combo console in one.  In truth, you can do a little work arounds and get a 32x to fit into a Genesis 2 case still attached if you remove all the plastic components, but due to some issues with a permanently installed 32x (a few Genesis games and all Master System games won’t work with 32x) I never actually did it.  Either way the failure of the 32x for several reasons we’ve covered, resulted in the cancellation of the Neptune and Darxide without a good release window.  Being a native United Kingdom developer, my guess is that it was cheapest and best to launch the game first in Europe and based on its success to release it worldwide.  Well in 1995 the 32x and Darxide failed in tandem, resulting in the game’s overall rarity and exclusivity.  I must say having played it that it takes on a similar arcade on-rails shotter feel like Star Wars Arcade and Star Fox, but with cleaner, more impressive graphics.  It also runs very smoothly in comparison to its more popular brethren.  The gameplay, on the other hand leaves much to be desired.  I guess you should just see for yourself before I say more:

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Supplemental: Remembering the Sega 32X

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In 1994, the 16-bit generation in America was dwindling and gamers were ready for the 32-bit generation to emerge.  With discussions of interactive CD-ROM consoles, the emergence of early 32-bit  CD consoles like CD-i and 3DO and everyone wanted to know what Sega and Sony had in store for the future.  Super Nintendo was only three years into its life and riding strong while the Genesis was having a tougher time competing.  Not only did its age (it’s two years older than the SNES) hinder it, but with the introduction of the failing Sega CD, the Genesis still didn’t have the kick it wanted.  In early January 1994, Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama wanted a 32-bit cartridge console to be released that Christmas, codenamed “Project Jupiter” (Sega used planets for its projects).  Sega shortly decided that CD-based technology would be better suited for this project and it was renamed to “Project Saturn” – it would later go on to be the Sega Saturn console that released in 1995.

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Written by Fred Rojas

January 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm


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So now you want to import consoles and games, do you?  Well you’ll be happy to know that it is entirely possible on most consoles, however there are some things you’ll have to be aware of before you do it.  This article discusses the different things you have to do to both the electric and video signal of various imported consoles.  It will also briefly discuss how to get foreign games to play on US consoles, if possible.

Electricity Differences
No matter what console you are using, it’s important to know the differences between electricity in the US, Europe and Japan.

Japanese Consoles in the US
As you’ll see plenty of times in this article, Japan is quite similar to the United States in many ways, including power.  We use 120 volts as our standard for power.  Japan doesn’t appear to use a ground (or at least none of the Japanese consoles I’ve ever gotten do, never been to Japan itself), so all plugs from Japanese consoles will be two-pronged and fit in an US outlet.  Also fortunate is the fact that most consoles, especially retro ones, will use AC adaptors that work in the US.  Never interchange US power supplies into Japanese consoles, you could fry the console or worse.  For example, if you import a Famicom, use that console’s AC adaptor and not an US NES one.  For newer consoles like Japanese PS2s and PS3s, you may want to check the back of the console, but I think those are good for AC 100-240 volts for worldwide distribution, but I could be wrong.  Basically if it generates heat, be very careful and do a search for advice from a reputable source (no, Yahoo! Answers is not a reputable source).  Also if you want to be completely safe, there are Japanese voltage converters that allow use of Japanese products here.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Day 5

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On the fifth day of Christmas my memories gave to me…

Five Genesis Models!

For a console that was only around for roughly six years, the Sega Genesis sure was releasing new iterations like there was a reason for all the updates.  To be fair, every single one of these consoles changed something about the Genesis but not all of them for the best.  Sega in the 90s was like an eager child, just ready to jump at the next opportunity to improve current technology and release new ones.  This is why the Genesis had 5 different models, not including the many licensed models that also released from different companies, as well as two more add-ons.  They would also jump the gun and release the Saturn less than a year after selling you the pricy 32x, which claimed to turn your Genesis into a 32-bit system and didn’t do a good job at it.

Thankfully all of the standard Sega branded Genesis models ran the entire Genesis library (yes, some 3rd party consoles did not), but not all of them were compatible with Sega’s add-ons.  It’s easy to imagine that the Nomad wouldn’t work with the Sega CD and 32x – at least not without a hardware hack – but the CDX, which already combined the Sega and Sega CD, you wouldn’t assume would be incompatible with the 32x.  Even more odd was the fact that Genesis 3 was incompatible with both Sega CD and 32x due to hardware design.  Furthermore, the 32x would be on store shelves with the CDX and Genesis 3, both consoles it was incompatible with.  It was a nightmare for everyone involved from the marketing guy to the retailer and finally the parent.  The only person who could keep it all straight was of course the gamer, the one person that couldn’t be involved in the transaction thanks to Christmas and gift giving.  I’m sure there were at least a few massive $500 refunds after a rich parent purchased multiple incompatible parts.  In those days if it didn’t work like it was supposed to right out of the box, who cared how cool it was, parents returned it. 

I managed to get out mostly unscathed thanks to the gaming press, which kept me informed of the upcoming Saturn.  I did ask for a 32x, which would end up being incompatible with my CDX, but I didn’t fret because I knew the next console generation was around the corner.  I returned the 32x (and both games I got with it – Doom and Star Wars Arcade) and kept the money waiting in my dresser for the Saturn.

<- Go back to the fourth day                                       Go on to the sixth day ->

Written by Fred Rojas

December 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm