Sega Visions: The Magazine That Turned Me To The Darkside

In the late 80’s and early 90’s there were two distinct camps of gamers: Nintendo
fans and Sega fans. There were no Sega fans in my circle of friends. In fact, I
didn’t know of anyone who had a Sega. Yet we assumed they were out there because
we, Nintendo fans, needed an enemy. There were rumors of friends of friends who
had a Sega Master System. I never saw these friends or their Sega’s, so I called
shenanigans on these claims. I was a staunch Mario 3 playing, Nintendo Cereal eating,
The Wizard watching, Nintendo Power subscribing, Power Glove wearing Nintendo fanatic.
Sega was crap. No, it was more than crap. It was shit. Nobody owned a Sega and if
you did, you were an idiot. I had never actually played a Sega. My hatred was blind,
but it was pure. Sega was anti-Nintendo, therefore I was anti-Sega. Then, the Sega
Genesis was released.

My anti-Sega stance weakened every time I had to jiggle a cartridge back to life
in the old Nintendo Entertainment System. You remember the ritual. You put the cartridge
in the NES, press it down, and pray to the gaming gods that it worked the first
time. Rarely would you achieve such a lucky press. More likely, the gaming gods
shat on your prayers and laughed maniacally as they gave you a flicker of hope and
then eternal blackness. You knew this would be a war. You took the cartridge back
out, blew in it, and placed it back in the system. A flicker, perhaps a few random
colored pixels, and then blackness. You jiggled the cartridge as it laid in the
NES. Flicker, nothing, flicker, nothing. You began to sweat. You held the Reset
button for 5 seconds. Nothing. 10 seconds. Nothing. You tried the little trick you
learned in ‘Nam where you placed the cartridge in the NES as closely to the edge
as possible and snapped it down. Nothing. You questioned how much you really wanted
to play this game, but you gathered your wits, yelled out a giant “Fuck You!” to
the gaming gods and entrenched yourself for the coming battle. You repeated these
same steps perhaps 30 more times, cursing loud enough to vent your frustrations,
but quiet enough to not get grounded for two weeks. Finally, the gaming gods decided
that you had been punished enough for lying to Santa Claus about being a good kid
and they blessed you with Nintendo goodness.

A T-shirt from bustedtees.com to honor our trials as NES gamers.

I hated the ritual. It took years off my life, I guarantee it. It wore me down to
the point where I had to really want to play Nintendo more than anything else in
the world for me to willingly face the trial of the gaming gods and turn the system
on. Sega had an opportune moment to grab my affections before the Super Nintendo
was released and they jumped all over it. Sega Visions, Sega’s version of Nintendo
Power, was a big reason. Before this magazine fell into my hands, I was formally
introduced to the Sega Genesis by my cousin at the same local gaming store where
I scored my original Nintendo system years earlier. We stood there and played Altered
Beast, jaws on the floor, transfixed by the scrolling backgrounds, the colorful
graphics, the cool voices, and the badass monsters. Let’s be real, Altered Beast
sucked, but on that day it shone like the seventh city of gold. This was truly the
next generation of gaming and I was nearly hooked. Then, my dad brought home Sega
Visions Issue #1.

This magazine cemented my opinion that Sega was everything that Nintendo wasn’t.
Cool, modern, for big kids. Sega even had Buster Douglas whereas Nintendo had Mike
Tyson. Winner! I read through the Sega Visions magazine a hundred times, a thousand
times. Probably not even close to a hundred, but then again, I never bothered to
count. I constantly waved this magazine in parents’ faces and pleaded my case. The
cries for a Genesis fell on deaf ears until the day somebody broke into my house
and stole half of the cool shit I had in my bedroom including my Nintendo and all
my games. Weeks later, insurance money in hand, we went to the game store and bought
a Genesis along with Madden and Golden Axe. I essentially traded a NES and 50+ games
for a Genesis and three games (it came with Sonic). Good trade back then, although
I’d kill to have all those games and the NES now.

Few of my friends had the Genesis, most of them were either still rocking the NES,
holding out for the Super Nintendo, or had given up gaming entirely for cooler endeavors.
I had to find acceptance somewhere, so I turned online to Prodigy’s message boards
(pre-internet online service). There I joined the AGC—Awesome Genesis Club—and spent
my free time at war with a Nintendo clan called the Nirvana Armada. Sega had completely
flipped me to the dark side. This would be the last time I swore allegiance to any
one gaming system. I eventually relented and got a Super Nintendo, along with a
3DO that cost me my comic book collection, and pretty much every gaming system released
since that time.

Last week I was digging through my spare room closet—the place where stuff that
I can’t stomach to trash goes to ferment before actually ending up in the trash.
I was searching for another magazine, for another article, but instead I came across
the old Sega Visions Issue #1 that broke down my Anti-Sega campaign. I had no clue
it still existed anywhere outside of a landfill, but there it was, in all its glory,
just begging to be immortalized on Zenestex.com. So I did. The pictures suck, but
whatever. My kingdom for a scanner.

Sega for the 90’s: A New Generation. Let’s see we have Joe Montana, Spider-Man, Ghostbusters,
Golden Axe, some dude with a cool rifle (axe?), Shinobi, and Michael Jackson. That’s
a rather 80’s lineup if you ask me, Sega. They were still a year away from unleashing
Sonic the Hedgehog.

Dudes and Dudettes, California Games is so Totally Tubular, it’s Awesomely Gnarly!
I miss late 80’s slang. Yup, all those words are used in this article. I left out
“tonar.” I never heard it used outside of this article. I suspect the author was
trying to start a trend and I refuse to participate. I never played California Games
on the Sega, but I loved it on the NES.

Alex Kidd was Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s Mario. Wonder why they couldn’t even compete
with Nintendo until Sonic? Alex Kidd looks like a human Chuck E. Cheese. According
to the article Alex Kidd can jump higher than Michael Jordan and kick harder than
Chuck Norris. Yet, I still want to punch him in the tooth. Yes, tooth. I only count

I like to believe that all video game characters go to heaven. And in this heaven
there’s an exclusive tavern filled with drunk, bitter, cast-off mascots that Sega
trashed before striking gold with Sonic the Hedgehog. Psycho Fox is their leader.

Golden Axe! It was never as fun as it was in the arcade, but I bought it and loved
it nonetheless.

I’m not sure who this loser is, but in the Tavern of Sega’s Loser Mascots, he is
the biggest loser. The loser of the losers.

Wait for it...

Boom! Art. Yes, it’s grammatically incorrect (it should say WHAT NINTENDOESN’T),
but I have to give Sega credit: I still have that shitty jingle stuck in my head
after 20 years. I made the mistake of looking up the commercial on YouTube, which
guarantees another 20 years of being cursed with this jingle in playing over and
over in my mind.

I hated Joe Montana back in the day. I was a Buccaneers fan and jealous of any team
that finished over 5-11 on a regular basis. The 49ers and Joe Montana were the biggest
winners of the time, so I rightfully hated them the most. I never bought his game.
War Madden!

Shinobi was one of my favorite games. Sega Visions, unfortunately, thought game covers
were more compelling than screenshots and used half of the page to display them.

Niles Nemo was a “very cool dude” who wore big Genesis brand sunglasses and a red
jacket. He was Sega Visions magazine’s mascot, a shameless ripoff of Nintendo Power’s
Nester. Only with some 90’s ‘tude. Here’s where the monster began, folks. The 90’s
mascot with attitude trend would eventually result in the creation of Bubsy, who
singlehandedly crashed the whole fad. We thank you, Bubsy, for killing this sad
chapter of gaming history.

Comments (15) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Wow…Honey,
    I didn't realize you went through so much emotion with these games when you were young.
    No wonder…

    Love you mom

  2. Zoom! looks like the inspiration for Sweet Cuppin Cakes (sbemail72).
    Genesis was alright, but the GameGear sold me. Full color backlit LCD? Five minute battery life? Who could pass that up?

    • I had a Game Gear for a few months–traded some crap to get it for a trip. The battery life was a joke, but I loved Evander Holyfield's "Real Deal" Boxing. I might be that game's only fan. Handhelds never lasted long with me, but somehow I'm still tempted to buy the 3DS.

  3. Ah man, feels like yesterday Bobby. Remember the other sega we owned??? The great Sega CD?

    • Loved that thing! We thought Full Motion Video was the shit. Then after playing Sewer Shark and Night Trap for like an hour, we realized how much FMV games actually sucked. Lunar: Silver Star Story on the Sega CD is still one of my favorite games of all time. Sonic CD is up there, too.

      • Be honest, Dana Plato was hot in Night Trap.

        Y'know, that rattle sound from big gray NES cartridge? That was from chucking it across the room.

        BTW, Sonic is Mario's bytch now.

        • Dana Plato was hot–for Dana Plato. Relatively speaking I'd go 6, but the fact that she was the first chick to run around in her underwear on the Genesis amplified that to about a 9.

  4. Very interesting article. Even though I am a tenn, I could enjoy reading it. Looking forward to come back and read the rest of the entries.
    My recent post Funny bubble gum TV add

  5. Nintendo forever!!! I'd still play Sega though. Old-school video games kick ass!!
    My recent post Quick question

  6. Just stumbled upon this post…

    I’m proud to say that I was once the Senior VP of AGC on Prodigy; would spend hours on the boards lauding the Genesis and bashing all the SNES supporters.

    Wow, thanks for the flashback!

    • My pleasure! I wish I could remember some names from AGC or even Nirvana Armada, but my memory sucks. All I remember is the “wars” and wanting to pick a fight with the huge AD&D group.

      • Funny I stumbled upon your article this evening. I actually co-founded the Awesome Genesis Club so it’s pretty fun to see it being written about in passing two decades later. The wars with Nirvana were pretty goddamn hilarious and I had a great time chatting with many of the members and of course the other Pres of the club, I believe his name was David. I also remember Jody and if my memory serves he was one of the people to took over after I quit. Good times. This was a fun article to read, thank you for writing it.

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