Is Sega the most underappreciated company in gaming?

Earlier today, while going through boxes in the garage, I found a Wolverine comic book. It was number 88 – December 1994. On the cover, Magneto appears to have defeated Wolverine and is holding his lifeless body over his head. I’ve read this comic several times and couldn’t help but reread it. Good times.

While reading the pages, I came across a Sega Genesis ad. It reminded me of a very different time. A time when Sega was the most well-known name in game consoles. The biggest question has always been: Do you have Sega or Nintendo? My answer? Both of them.

At the time, Nintendo was still the more popular of the two systems. Sega systems were great, but Nintendo had the advantage until Sony’s PlayStation system came out. If you’re not familiar with the company’s activities, you might be surprised to learn that Sega was (at least in my opinion) the most innovative company in the gaming industry to date. It’s a lot to take in, but hear me out.

With the consoles, Sega really went to great lengths to give players more than they were really ready for, but will be accepted in the future. They brought us the Sega CD and the incredible Sega playback equipment. Unfortunately, by the time they began to understand and use disc games with the Sega Dreamcast, it was too late. Due to the high production costs and low sales of Dreamcast, Sega withdrew from the console industry and became a game publisher instead.

But the most important footprint Sega has left on the industry is the Sega chain! The Sega channel made its debut around the same time as the Wolverine comic. December 1994. Coincidence? That’s what made me write this article, and I just found out that the Comic Channel and the Sega channel both debuted at the same time. What are the chances?

Get back on the rails. Sorry for the detour. As I said, the Sega channel is perhaps the most important thing Sega did back then. They were Netflix games. For $15 (USD) per month, you will receive 50 games on your Genesis each month. The games for sale changed every month and came back often. Since the adapter is connected with a coaxial cable, simply plug it into the Sega Genesis as a game and press the power button. The menu with all the available games was simple and we just clicked and played.

The service reached households before the Internet became a common household service, but after more than three years the channel was discontinued by Sega. Although Sega ultimately failed as a pay service, it literally laid the groundwork for what we have today for streaming services. PS Plus, Xbox Live, Netflix, Hulu, even traditional cable companies offer streaming service. Sega knew what the future held for him, but he tried to do it a little too quickly.

Sega was working on some great technology, but innovation didn’t make up for what the company was missing. First, they didn’t know how to sell what they had. I mean, they knew they had something special, but I don’t think they could convince the world that it was something we needed. Frankly, they needed Steve Jobs, and if anyone could have saved them then, it was him.

Another problem, which may have been one of their biggest mistakes, was that they didn’t know how to use Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic was and still is a great character. Sega doesn’t know how to use it yet. I say that because they missed the target with the blue spot again today. Sonic has potential, but Sega is limiting it. The first 3 Sonic games are great, but from there it really goes downhill. Either it’s always the same, or when they try to update Sonic, it’s not so good for most of them. Get a grip, Sega!

Sega’s flaws aside, it’s a company that doesn’t get talked about enough. Sony, Microsoft and even Nintendo owe Sega credit for having the courage to take big risks and lose almost everything to pave the way for what we know today as the game industry. Underrated and almost forgotten. We are very grateful to Sega as players in general. Too bad we didn’t buy enough of your products, but thanks for making them anyway.

What game consoles did you grow up with? Since the Atari 2600, I’ve owned just about every console I could think of. E.T., not a good time, but yeah, I played it after I picked it up at a yard sale and it made no sense. But that’s a story for another time. Thanks for reading and letting us know what you think in the comments!

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