Slowly Sinking SEGA

It's no doubting that back in the day there were only two gaming companies that mattered, Nintendo and SEGA. SEGA was a great company that had the unfortunate trait of always showing their hand too early. Always ahead in many way in the early 90's with the Genesis being a 16-bit system and the Game Gear that rivaled that of the Gameboy Advance that didn't come out until almost a decade later. Even toward the end SEGA continued to innovate by being the first major home system with online play.

In the end none of it mattered. Sure they could have continued their march on the console front but instead decided that going all software was their future. In some cases it has turned out well in their favor, but this has also made them lazy in the development of their games. Back in the day SEGA worked hard to make the next big Sonic game so that it would sell units and give more value to the system's catalog, but now they only worry about release dates and riding on the coattails of their once mighty franchises. I would have to say that after the death of the Dreamcast they only released about 3 good Sonic games to date. (Advance, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, Sonic Adventure: DX). They were mostly rehashes, re-releases, and not even made by Sonic Team or even SEGA for that matter.

Speaking of Sonic Team, these are the people that are in charge of the all of SEGA's major franchises. These people have time and again lifted the Sonic series on high just to drop it over a cliff. Really, Sonic Team, your last good games were just ports of the last two good games on the Dreamcast, and you didn't did the port. But SEGA has other games in their catalog that haven't seen the light of day in years. Either thought the decay of time or just being forgotten many SEGA games have fallen by the wayside. I looked over at my game collection across all the platforms I own and I could only find one game that was SEGA's, Phantasy Star Online 1&2+ (which was a re-release of a port). Phantasy Star was another series of games that was at the forefront of the company, but they even managed to destroy it. They took it into a new direction that no one really enjoyed. They even went as far as to label this new series as Phantasy Star Universe. PSU was everything PSO was not, for better or worse and it would seem (that at least with the Phantasy Star series) someone at SEGA was paying attention and quickly jumped ship when it became apparent that maybe the PSO formula was just fine the way it was. With that they even returned to the old gameplay as well as to the PSO name.

Even today we hold out hope. Every time we see a screenshot or a video of the new Sonic game we hope that this is the one that brings back the series for future generations to enjoy. Really the disappointment is almost instantaneously apparent. I heard that on the release of the most recent Sonic game people online pretested by buying the original Sonic game on their console's virtual markets. People you need to understand that you still gave them money. You are still support the development of new Sonic games. You are part of the problem.

Maybe this is just the price we pay for all the good years SEGA gave to us. Maybe SEGA is like are parents. They took care of us when we were younger, and we had some good times, but now their older and we have to pay to keep them on life support. If that means paying the Sonic Tax, then I think that's a fair trade.
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