New developments have been occurring in the world of Sega’s 16-bit console, and as always, we’re here to cover them. This installment features some interesting tidbits, including one that’s completely out of left field. But what are we doing wasting time with introductions? On to the news!
When I Am… on the Road
In what has to be the most unlikely licensing move by a company, MMP Publishing has secured the rights to a novelization of the laser disc classic, Road Avenger from G-Mode of Japan, the company that owns the game, as well as over a hundred other Data East properties. The story, penned by author and poet Mary Margaret Park, will tell the story – now well known among Sega CD fans – of a vengeful widower out to eliminate the gang that slew his wife. According to Park,
“The original concept is ‘Mad Max’ like, so we’ve decided to make The Road Avenger a psychological action drama, which will end up like a cross between Mad Max, Ronin, and Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic. Though we are expanding on a simple plotline, we are straying far from the typical Hollywood attitudes that engulf many fine stories.”
It’s likely that the book won’t include a free MP3 download of the best theme song of all time, but if the book mirrors the feel of the game, we’re all for it. There have been a ton of video game novelizations lately, and it’s nice to see that some older titles are being brought back for another turn. We’ll have more news as it comes, as well as an interview with the author herself!
Time to Splash Some Waves
Ok, so it may not exactly be news that Sega’s bringing OutRun 2 SP to both Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Store, but it’s GREAT news that we just have to scream from the rooftops again. Perhaps one of the most underrated updates to a classic franchise in the past decade, OutRun 2 was an excellent (and beautiful) racer that maintained all the charm and tight control of the original, while wrapping it up in some great presentation. There were mini games galore to play, tons of music tracks and courses to unlock… even the original game was in there! The big red bow on it all was online play, and now it’s all coming to where online is king. Toss in achievements/trophies and leaderboards, and you have a definite purchase for OutRun fans everywhere.
While there was initial speculation as to whether or not this would be the original game with updated visuals or the full-blown sequel, Sega itself has already confirmed – via pretty screen shots like the one to the right – that it is indeed part two that we’ll be seeing sometime this quarter from Sumo Digital. Fifteen courses, three game modes, and online play for up to six people are just some of the features this latest release will offer. An actual price and release date are forthcoming, but you can bet that Sega-16 will be there with a complete hands-on when the game hits the streets.
What’s the True Portable Genesis?
Your cell phone, it would seem. at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Sega recently mentioned that other Genesis titles would mot likely be joining its emulated version of Sonic The Hedgehog for cell phones. While the famous hedgehog first mobilized (ha!) on the iPhone, Sega Director of Production Paxton Lazar confirmed that other mobile platforms could partake in the 16-bit goodness.
“We’re bringing Sonic The Hedgehog to the iPhone this spring,” he stated, “the original emulated Genesis version – which is to say that we can emulate any of the Genesis titles.” As to whether or not Sonic would have the company of Sega’s back catalogue, he jumped to answer. “Not only can we put them on iPhones,” Lazar commented, “we can put them on Android phones; we can put them on Windows Mobile phones; we can put them on—as they become better—the Blackberry devices as well. We can put them anywhere.”
Time to get rid of that Nomad? Not yet, unless you REALLY need another justification for all that money you spent on your iPhone.
Still Some Life in the Vintage Collection?
According to Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB)ratings, there is. Sega began bringing its Genesis and arcade games to Xbox Live Arcade with little fanfare, and it slipped out the back door just as quietly. After releasing only the first two Sonic titles, Ecco the Dolphin, Streets of Rage 2, and Golden Axe, the company seemed to have preferred the simple-yet-stupidly-rich-with-money pastures of the Wii’s Virtual Console to peddle its wares.
However, that seems to have all changed, if we’re to believe the recent ratings posted over at the ESRB. The chart below shows just a few games that have been registered, and the thought of two-player Gunstar Heroes over Xbox Live gets us all giddy inside. Whether or not these games finally reach the service remains to be seen, and given that most of these games are included in the upcoming Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, along with Microsoft’s recent decision to stick with original content, we’re adopting a “see it to believe it” posture on the whole thing.
If they do release, we’ll be sure to include them in a future installment of our Genesis Live Arcade series.