Article 40—THE SEGA TRIBUNE (1989)

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Distributed at the 1989 Summer Consumer Electronics Show, this foldout catalog was the last hurrah for the Sega Master System in North America. The buzz at that
particular show was generated by Sega’s new Genesis console, which would reach store shelves in just two short months and alter Sega’s fortunes for the better part of a decade. But the Genesis is mentioned only in passing in this brochure, which was folded in quarters to resemble a newspaper. If you saw this layout without knowing that the Genesis was approaching the starting gate, you might have felt pretty good about being a Master System owner at the time. There’s a pretty diverse selection of games inside, including new arcade conversions like Golden Axe, Altered Beast and the prominently featured Dead Angle. Granted, seven of these upcoming games (Basketball Nightmare, Dynamite Dux, Scramble Spirit [sic], Super Golf,
Tennis Ace, Ultima IV and World Games) would never see a North American release. But all of the aforementioned titles did make it out in the U.K., where Scramble Spirits was properly pluralized and Super Golf was renamed Golfamania.

I have a little bit of a blind spot when it comes to the Sega Master System. Even though there were still new SMS games being released when I started writing for VideoGames & Computer Entertainment magazine in 1989, I didn’t own a Master System, so I was never assigned any Master System games to write about. In fact, the only Master System owner I knew was an older guy at my previous job who had mentioned it in passing. I asked him a bunch of questions about it, and he was kind enough to make a VHS video of some of the games he enjoyed, like Space Harrier, Fantasy Zone and Teddy Boy. I thought the
games looked good, but I had a hard time trying to stomach the system’s audio capabilities. It seemed like every single game had the same “snap, crackle and pop” percussion sounds…those horrible scraping noises that made all Master System music sound like boots walking on gravel.

When I took over VG&CE’s portable gaming column, I eventually played a lot of games for Sega’s handheld Game Gear system...and as you may know, the Game Gear was essentially a portable Master System with an expanded color pallette and stereo audio capabilities. The extra colors helped the graphics considerably, but stereo separation did nothing for the quality of the audio. It was the same old Rice Krispies, but now I had a different bowl in each ear!

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