Sega!

Sega!

"Since his original launch in 1991, Sonic has appeared in a new title every year. Some are considered classics of gaming, some are considered sad attempts, and some just aren't considered. But Sonic has weathered time and changes with the same determination, speedy red shoes and carefree smirk that endeared him to millions of gamers all those years ago. If only what he represented had weathered the change as well."

Shawn Williams charts the course of gaming's speediest mascot.

Sega!

"Just as Shenmue's protagonist, Ryo Hazuki, is destined to journey to the new land of China, so too do we journey to a different world, a stunning recreation of 1980s Japan. A case example of Shenmue's self-indulgence is the new genre Suzuki declared for his game: FREE (Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment). Every character you saw could be talked to; almost every building could be entered, every floor of it explored: In Ryo's home, you could open every drawer and closet, see what's in the fridge.

"Time passes and is more than a cosmetic change. Head out in the morning, and you'll see smart-suited salary-men heading to work; walk around in the evening, and the same salary-men are stumbling home merrily from after-work drinking sessions. Play long enough, and you'll start to see the same people walking around, just like in your own neighborhood."

Gearoid Reidy explores "The Streets of Japan" as seen through the lenses of Shenmue and Yakuza.

Sega!

"Most modern games rely on overt mechanisms to keep you playing - like cut-scenes, power-ups or in-game money - but Out Run employed a more subtle method. Its main soundtrack, comprised of three songs ('Splash Wave,' 'Magical Sound Shower' and 'Passing Breeze'), was really like no other game music at the time, from the standpoints of both technical fidelity and style. It was this soundtrack that drove you to keep playing, to hear the best part, all the way at the end."

Sega!

"The company publicly vowed 'never to stick to one concept for too long,' acknowledging that every piece of technology 'has a life and a death.' In principle, this policy was sound, and it was reassuring for customers to know Sega would remain committed to pushing the boundaries of videogaming. It has, however, been somewhat of a double-edged sword; pushing boundaries while simultaneously dispossessing consistency.

"Whether the management took this philosophy too literally or simply used it as an excuse to circumnavigate problems, it's impossible to say. In retrospect, one thing is certainly clear - this belief has remained at the core of Sega's principles ever since, and has turned the developer into something of an industry dichotomy; pledging longevity on the one hand by establishing and supporting long-lived game franchises, embracing brevity on the other by rushing out updated hardware solutions and abandoning console systems as soon as they appear to flag in the market place."

Spanner looks at the long, troubled history of Sega.

Sega!

"In 1999, Sega had launched with the best machine and the most high-quality games anyone had ever seen. They had a well-supported platform which was easy to program for and offered an abundance of after-market options and services. They had, in other words, a first-rate game console, launched perfectly and supported flawlessly. Nothing, so it seemed, could go wrong. And yet it did. Sony beat them just by showing up to the party, and by the time Sega pulled the plug, only 10 million Dreamcasts had been manufactured, an estimated half of which still sat in warehouses and on store shelves.

"At first glance, it doesn't make any sense, and considering only the machine, its capability and wide appeal, it doesn't. But the problems with Sega's machine were legion, and most had nothing to do with the Dreamcast at all."