SEGA Mega Drive: Celebrating 30 Years of Pop Culture Legacy

As we await for SEGA to unveil the new small sized Mega Drive Mini console later this year, it will be on 29th October 2018 that the company will officially mark the full 30 years since original Mega Drive was launched, first in Japan and subsequently throughout North America and Europe.

With Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. 3 overshadowing its inception, the SEGA Mega Drive was forced to go on a longer road to prominence it currently enjoys. North American distribution obstacles did not discourage the brave Japanese visionaries who later on – in 1990 – made their way onto the European market where Sega Mega Drive became the highest-selling fourth generation gaming console across the European continent.

Thirty years onwards when gaming is shaping up to take a revolutionary Virtual Reality form and step outside the console boundaries, SEGA stands proudly as a pop icon of sorts – a phenomenon which despite constant trailing behind the more prominent gaming products still managed to forge a respectable reputation which is still glowing bright.

Sonic the Superhero

A few people would deny it – Sonic the Hedgehog remains SEGA’s posterboy whose legacy exceeds the gaming circles. From the first moment this loveable blue character hit the stage with his blast processing it was evident SEGA had a gem on their hands.

Fighting the evil Dr. Eggman, the titular protagonist of SEGA’s flagship title has most recently been given the latest gaming update in November 2017 when Sonic Forces was announced as a great return of the dual gameplay of Sonic Generations.

Still, it is the Sonic from before the non-SEGA system that remains the most loveable character, widely referenced across the popular culture and entertainment industry. Hotly anticipated 2019 movie release as part of Sega Sammy Holdings’ attempts to revive its Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, as the company sets a March 2020 operating profit target of 75 billion yen, has been interpreted as a sign of good things that await our favourite character.  

The Pop Culture Legacy

The Sonic the Hedgehog TV series kicked it all off with the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. A film took over in 2014 to make Sonic a SEGA’s franchise with most incarnations – with one movie and the total of four television series for now. With its roots going deep into the manga and anime culture it is fair to say Sonic’s reputation precedes him.  

There are also a couple of alternative entertainment landscapes Sonic the Hedgehog made into way into and the online casino industry is definitely one of them. This growing industry is slowly taking over the prime position in the online gaming universe thanks to the introduction of innovative development methods which are slowly inducing a different perspective and perception of the real-money gaming sector thanks to their gamification methods. Such an approach is slowly blurring the lines between a casino and gaming sector, offering a unified future prospect that very much excites the younger generation of players.

Sonic the Hedgehog is already available in its casino game embodiment with SEGA slots bringing your favourite character to your mobile device in a Vegas style slot game.

Not only have Sonic the Hedgehog and SEGa in general been directly involved in different niches of the entertainment business, but they’ve been used as a reference across the pop culture scope.

With popular TV show Simpsons nearing the end of their second season the creators of this show decided to invade the video game world. Sonic first made his appearance in the 1995 season seven episode called ‘Marge Be Not Proud’ when Bart gets caught in a moral dilemma of whether to steal the video game Bonestorm.

“Just take it! Take it, take it, take it, take it. Take it!”, Sonic manically screams in a clear association with SEGA commercial style at the time. This wasn’t Sonic’s only Simpsons appearance, however, and it also marked the beginning of his assimilation into the animation world.

Thirty years into the life of SEGA we can only wait and see what the future will hold for this beloved character and Mega Drive in general.

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