Anybody who thinks that the Wii U line-up is a bit on the dusty side should take a good look through the history of video games. Specifically, the launch of the Mega CD – some of the biggest and most renowned games released alongside it were approaching eight years old.
We’re not talking about the contents of the Sega Classics disk which came bundled with the system here. Compared to the following, the five Mega Drive games on that collection could have been considered almost new.
Quite how Sega managed to disguise the fact that these games were knocking on a bit is beyond us, although the fact that technology didn’t move as fast in the ’80s and ‘90s as it does now probably has something to do with it.
Road Avenger (aka Road Blaster) received a lot of promotion alongside the Mega CD, often found running on in-store demo pods and then later bundled with the Mega CD II. Quite amazing seeing as it first made an appearance in arcades back in 1985. Believe it or not, it was released even before the classic scrolling beat ’em up Double Dragon – the car from Road Avenger can be seen inside Billy and Jimmy’s garage right at the start.
Cobra Command was older still, first released in 1984. By the time it reached the Mega CD in 1992 it was older than a bottle of Bell’s Whisky.
Then we have Time Gal, which received higher scores than the two previous cartoony endeavours as the levels appeared in a random order. Like Road Avenger, it was released in arcades in 1985 and then on Mega CD in 1993.
Next up is Night Trap. Many think that this was a game made especially for the Mega CD but this isn’t quite the case. It was originally planned for a new gaming system from Hasbro entitled NEMO which used VHS tapes instead of cartridges. Filming was complete but when the system was canned, the footage was left lying around for five years until Sega picked it up.
Sega also picked up Sewer Shark, which too was originally destined for Habsro’s NEMO. This one made it out a year before Night Trap though – 1992 as opposed to 1993.
If you’ve ever played Night Trap and wondered why it has a distinctly ‘80s feel rather than a ‘90s vibe, now you know why – it was made in 1987.
So if you see somebody on the Wii U’s launch day spending the best part of £30 on Mass Effect 3 and feel tempted to point and laugh, then just think – back in 1993 gamers were happy to spend £39.99 on games released in the mid 80’s. If that isn’t testament to how skilful Sega were with their marketing back then, then we don’t know what is.