If you’ve lived through the ’90s and early ‘00s and were an avid gamer, you’ll definitely remember those gaming consoles that brought joy and color in our lives. Virtual Boy, Game Boy, Sega – these were some of the most popular gaming consoles of the day, bringing games like Super Mario World, Pokemon Red, and Lemmings to us.
The retro gaming culture has somewhat dwindled after that period. From the PC gaming revolution in later ‘00s and ‘10s to the development of much more powerful gaming consoles like PS4 and Xbox One, the gaming culture has shifter towards more visually-stunning and action-packed games, leaving retro games into the shadow.
The gaming culture in India has undergone a similar transformation process over the years. Prior to hard-core gaming with professional elements to it, Indian gamers were also into the retro gaming with Sega and all sorts of other consoles. Before Red Dead Redemption II, Super Mario was the king of the game world in the country. Sega, in this sense, has had one of the most interesting development paths in India.
Sega’s prior ups and downs in India
Geographically, India is a part of the “Asian” region, which, in turn, combines every country that is east of Europe (apart from Japan and South Korea, of course). This meant that for lots of legal or logistical reasons, companies like Sega couldn’t push their products in the region, which also included India.
One of the main reasons why India was a big no-no for Sega was rampant piracy. Everything that was in an NTSC format wasn’t supposed to be imported in India for regulatory reasons (the country uses the PAL-B format to this day), however, people still imported products from various regions illegally, which obviously threw big companies off to invest in India.
However, from April 1994, an off-shoot liquor company called Shaw Wallace Electronics started distributing Sega consoles with legal permission. From that time onwards, this console is starting to build quite an extensive consumer base. The first real sales boom for Sega was with its Mega Drive second-gen as the first generation didn’t make it to the region. The console had an asking price of about 235 US dollars.
Alongside Sega and other retro consoles, gaming was also pretty rampant in various gambling establishments. Casinos, hotels, and clubs were full of old-school games like poker, slot machines, and rummy that attracted dozens of Indian gaming aficionados. And while these providers were nowhere near as sophisticated as a modern best bitcoin casino in India is, they were still contributing to the gaming culture in India.
In 1995, Mitashi Edutainment became the distribution company for Sega consoles and games. With its new strategy, Mitashi lowered the cost to about $190 and included Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker and Sonic the Hedgehog in the bundle. The new strategy proved successful and Mega Drive II, as well as new Sega Saturn consoles, were sold have been fully sold.
From 1997-1998, the interest in Sega started to dwindle in India. Retro consoles from famous makers like Sega, Nintendo, and Sony are slowly replaced with 8-bit console clones from Mitashi. However, the downfall of retro gaming had already begun and even these clones were unable to stop that process.
The new era of video gaming
With the decline of old-school gaming came the new era of video gaming. These action-packed titles with stunning visuals have become the mainstream in the world, as well as in India.
Not only that, but the iGaming field also started to rise sometime during that period. While the legality of card and slot casino games was nowhere near established, various casinos and clubs were still offering these games to their clients. Yet it wasn’t until the dawn of the internet era in India that the online gaming culture really fired off.
So, what types of games are popular these days among Indian gamers? Considering recent trends in FPS and competitive gaming, Indian gamers are mostly fond of Fortnite and PUBG, as well as more slow-paced, yet visually-stunning Red Dead Redemption II, The Witcher III, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, and similar titles.
Resuscitation of retro gaming
Interestingly, in this era of demanding games and powerful gaming devices, there seems to be developing a new caste of gamers who are going back to where they’ve initially started. These people are searching for their favorite Sega consoles online and buying them at bargain prices, then to enjoy some of the most legendary retro games from their childhood. What’s equally interesting is that the retro companies themselves are also addressing this niche market. Sega, for instance, recently released an updated version of Sega Genesys Mini, which was met with awe in the retro gaming community.