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Was anyone here an early adopter of the Sega Master System?


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#1 CGQuarterly OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 4, 2016 8:39 PM

Online information about the early days of the SMS is pretty spotty. I have been slogging through old newspapers and trying to dig through Usenet, but information is rare and often in conflict with other information. Was anyone here an early rider on the SMS bandwagon? If so, I'd like to pick your brain!

#2 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 4, 2016 8:52 PM

My brother was at the time. Can't remember if he had the set without the 3D glasses at first or not though. Think he bought the 3D kit later. Anyway, I know he had the light gun right off the bat and the system included Hang On and Safari Hunt. Both games were on a combo cartridge. System had this simple maze game built in too. If there's anything else more specific you're wondering, could pass the info along and pick his brain for you. He's not a forum member. Hell, he doesn't even have internet. Or a computer. :lol:

Another tidbit I remember was Sega would send him these newsletters about games and peripherals, promotions and stuff. Tips and hints for most games too. He used to fold them up and stick them in their respective game boxes. Remember thinking that was so cool and added a lot of value to the system and individual games. Talk about support!

#3 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 4, 2016 8:53 PM

I was. But I remember so little about it.



#4 NinjaWarrior OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 4, 2016 9:02 PM

Someone gave me a Master System in '95



#5 CGQuarterly OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 4, 2016 9:22 PM

My brother was at the time. Can't remember if he had the set without the 3D glasses at first or not though. Think he bought the 3D kit later. Anyway, I know he had the light gun right off the bat and the system included Hang On and Safari Hunt. Both games were on a combo cartridge. System had this simple maze game built in too. If there's anything else more specific you're wondering, could pass the info along and pick his brain for you. He's not a forum member. Hell, he doesn't even have internet. Or a computer. :lol:

Another tidbit I remember was Sega would send him these newsletters about games and peripherals, promotions and stuff. Tips and hints for most games too. He used to fold them up and stick them in their respective game boxes. Remember thinking that was so cool and added a lot of value to the system and individual games. Talk about support!

 

 

Thanks for the reply!  Do you know about when he got an SMS?  I'm trying to figure out what was available in the fall of '86.  My understanding is that there were two bundles.  The "Master System" came with the Hang-On/Safari Hunt combo cart as you mentioned, but there was also the cheaper "base system".  But I can't figure out if it only came with Hang-On, or if it came with the Hang-On/Astro Warrior combo cart (but no light gun, of course).  I'm also reading conflicting information about the price of the two systems.  Lastly I am trying to figure out what other games were available right off the bat.  Thanks!!



#6 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 4, 2016 9:31 PM

I'll ask him and see if he remembers any of that stuff!

#7 128Kgames OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 4, 2016 9:48 PM

I bought my Master System on the spot when I saw the Rambo game; I was a huge fan of games like Ikari Warriors and Front Line.  Never even heard of this thing called "Nintendo" if they even had it at Toys R Us at the time.  Got pretty heavily into it for a while there but never picked up the 3D imager.  Eventually it took the back seat when the Genesis came out.  Wish I had held onto it all those years ago...



#8 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 4, 2016 10:27 PM

I wanted it over the NES, but ended up with neither. A department store in the mall had a display where I would play Fantasy Zone and I thought it looked so much better than any of the games my friends had for their Nintendos.

 

My cousin got an SMS at a toy store that was closing in '88 or '89, the set with Hang On and Safari Hunt. She also got Mickey Mouse. I'm pretty sure she still has all of it.



#9 CGQuarterly OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 4, 2016 11:31 PM

A little thread update.  I found a treasure trove of period-published information on the Internet Archive thanks to a thread on SMSPower.  According to that info:

 

The Sega System launched in early September of 1986.  

The Sega "Master System" included the Hang-On/Safari Hunt combo cartridge and a light phaser, and was $150.

The Sega "Base System" included the Hang-On/Astro Warrior combo cartridge and no light phaser, and was $125.

The games that launched with the system were Choplifter (cart), Fantasy Zone (cart), World Grand Prix (cart), Ghost House (card), and Transbot (card).



#10 Austin OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 5, 2016 6:55 AM

I sense a SMS launch video in the near future!

#11 GoldenWheels OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 5, 2016 8:09 AM


The Sega "Base System" included the Hang-On/Astro Warrior combo cartridge and no light phaser, and was $125.

 

 

This is a great pack-in cart. (Sorry, no real point here, I've just always thought this but never had anywhere to point it out. I love both these games on SMS.)



#12 Zookeeper OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 5, 2016 9:13 AM

Anyone use to call in to Sega for those printed strategy guides? Those were great if you were lazy. Even in the early Genesis days they still did phone support if you were stuck on a game. Sega at the beginning of their US console efforts was like a friendly local shopkeeper. Miss that.

Edited by Zookeeper, Sat Nov 5, 2016 9:18 AM.


#13 BydoEmpire OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 5, 2016 9:57 AM

I called Sega's hotline to find the last dungeon of Miracle Warriors.  I got the hint I needed and finished the game - somewhere I've got a Polaroid of the "The End" screen.

I got my SMS around 1990, I don't remember exactly.  It was after I had an NES.  Not really early adopter, but certainly in the heyday.  It was - and is - a great console.



#14 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 5, 2016 6:21 PM

 
 
Thanks for the reply!  Do you know about when he got an SMS?  I'm trying to figure out what was available in the fall of '86.  My understanding is that there were two bundles.  The "Master System" came with the Hang-On/Safari Hunt combo cart as you mentioned, but there was also the cheaper "base system".  But I can't figure out if it only came with Hang-On, or if it came with the Hang-On/Astro Warrior combo cart (but no light gun, of course).  I'm also reading conflicting information about the price of the two systems.  Lastly I am trying to figure out what other games were available right off the bat.  Thanks!!

 
Looks like you got most all of your answers, but gave a call anyway as an excuse to reminisce with him.   :)
 
Turns out I was mistaken about a few things... said he bought the Base System with Hang-On and Astro Warrior in late '86 or early '87 (couldn't remember exactly) and bought the phaser and 3D glasses later on. I knew he had all that stuff and was only across the hall growing up of course, but was into my Amiga, C64, NES and most importantly GIRLS then - so my memory is a little hazy when it comes to this stuff. Just a little though!  lol
 
Said he subscribed to the Team Sega newsletter first, then the Sega Visions mag afterwards. 
 
Have great memories playing his SMS with him until the whee hours sometimes. Really tried to get into Great Wrestling back then (always complained about the controls when I coined the term "the Sega delay") but the input response was weak compared to what I was used to on other systems. Looking back at it, I'd compare Great Wrestling to the Jaguar's Kasumi Ninja. Press a button and hope to hell the system recognized the input. Because at least half the time, it didn't!   :lol:   

#15 7800fan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 5, 2016 6:40 PM

I was hooked on SMS when I saw Missile Defense 3D and tried it out.  Full color 3D effect and I got the 3D package for Christmas. The base console did not have any built in game, it displayed a screen explaining to turn off console, insert cart, and turn it on.

 

Information was somewhat hard to get back in the day, it was mostly in gaming magazine like VG&CE and Game Informer.  I did have jealous friend when he saw Phantasy Star looked a lot better than Dragon Warriors. (both games were pretty good though) and I had a few Zelda-like games Golvellius and Golden Axe Warriors.

 

Eventually I sold the system when I got the Power Base Converter. 



#16 NE146 ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 5, 2016 7:32 PM

Unsure.. I bought mine in fall of 1987 (start of freshman year of college)... does that count as early? Here's the thing though, I didn't open it but rather kept it to take home for Christmas to give to my little brother. So I ended up having the NES games while he handled the SMS side (we shared everything of course) :)

I bought it at Macys when they had a video game section in the basement. :lol: It's funny because I remember at the time It wasn't even entirely clear to me if it was the same or different, or even related to the NES. Heck, there could have been a third or fourth console manufacturer for all I knew. It was just exciting seeing new video games making a big comeback in the stores again before I fully became cognizant of what the market was giving us,. I do remember thinking that the "modern" looking boxes didn't really convey what the game was aside from the name. :P

#17 pboland OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 5, 2016 8:31 PM

I was an early adopter. I got my SMS X-mas of 1986 (I was 13). I still have it. I remember going to the a local department store that holiday season and they had all three (Atari 7800, SMS, NES) set up to try out (kiosks). I tried them all and I chose the SMS (the 7800 was my second choice).

 

My SMS system is the one with the tiny joysticks that screw into the middle of the control pad and the cable for the pad comes out of the side of the controller (these only came with the first wave of SMS's). My system has the built in Snail game (which I found by accident back in the day). I also got Choplifter, Alex Kidd in Miracle World with it X-mas morning. With some of my own money I also purchase just after X-mas (before school went back) Rambo First Blood Part II and Ghost House. At some point I got a Sport Pad (Track Ball). I think I didn't get that until X-mas of '87 however. 

 

Heck, I remember I use to get the Sega News letter. Would have never been able to beat Alex Kidd in Miracle World without it. 

 

Back in the day most were into NES, but I was all SMS then. :)


Edited by pboland, Sat Nov 5, 2016 8:34 PM.


#18 pboland OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 5, 2016 9:53 PM

I was an early adopter. I got my SMS X-mas of 1986 (I was 13). I still have it. I remember going to the a local department store that holiday season and they had all three (Atari 7800, SMS, NES) set up to try out (kiosks). I tried them all and I chose the SMS (the 7800 was my second choice).

 

My SMS system is the one with the tiny joysticks that screw into the middle of the control pad and the cable for the pad comes out of the side of the controller (these only came with the first wave of SMS's). My system has the built in Snail game (which I found by accident back in the day). I also got Choplifter, Alex Kidd in Miracle World with it X-mas morning. With some of my own money I also purchase just after X-mas (before school went back) Rambo First Blood Part II and Ghost House. At some point I got a Sport Pad (Track Ball). I think I didn't get that until X-mas of '87 however. 

 

Heck, I remember I use to get the Sega News letter. Would have never been able to beat Alex Kidd in Miracle World without it. 

 

Back in the day most were into NES, but I was all SMS then. :)

 

I forgot to add, My system was the one that included Hang-On/Safari Hunt and the light phaser.  Later got Sega Scope 3D when it became available. Only ended up getting two game for the 3D system back in the day, Zaxxon 3D and Maze Hunter. By X-mas of '89 I got my Sega Genesis. So I guess I was somewhat of an early adopter of that as well. 


Edited by pboland, Sat Nov 5, 2016 9:53 PM.


#19 MaximRecoil OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 5, 2016 10:45 PM

The Sega System launched in early September of 1986. 

 

I remember that (I was 11 at the time). The commercials for the NES and the SMS appeared on TV at around the same time. A lot of people think of the NES as having been released in the US in 1985, because that's the year most commonly cited, but it wasn't released nationwide until September 1986. The late '85 and early '86 releases were only to test markets.

 

Judging from the commercials, I wanted an SMS. Both systems showed impressive graphics in their commercials, far beyond any console graphics I'd ever seen, but the SMS was sleek and black; looked like a real console, while the NES was a boring gray box. If I'd had parents who would buy me expensive toys at the drop of a hat, I would have been an early SMS adopter.

 

A couple of weeks after I first saw the NES and SMS commercials, I went to stay at my cousin's house for the weekend (he's the same age as I am, and lived a couple of towns away). When I got there my aunt said he was upstairs in his room playing video games, so I headed up there expecting him to be playing ColecoVision. Imagine my surprise when I saw him with an NES. At first I picked it apart, criticizing its appearance, the childish looking Super Mario Brothers game he was playing, and asking him why he didn't get a Sega Master System instead. But then I saw his Excitebike cartridge. That instantly struck a chord with me because Vs. Excitebike was one of the games I had been playing regularly at the arcade at the time, and I was quite good at it. I wasn't expecting much from it, because in my experience, arcade ports on home consoles had always been a big disappointment. When he turned it on and I saw that it was the same game, I was amazed (I didn't know at the time the story behind Nintendo's Vs. arcade machines, i.e., that they were just using the NES/Famicom hardware platform). Suddenly I had a whole new outlook on Mike's homely little NES.

 

As I watched Mike play SMB, it started to intrigue me. This seemed like a big expansive game with hidden items and areas to explore, like nothing I'd ever seen before. I had a lot of fun just watching Mike play and suggesting different things for him to try. For some reason he never thought of doing anything other than going to the right. He had never even tried going down a pipe until I suggested it. He would hit the block which produces a vine, but then he'd just keep running; it never even occurred to him that he could climb it. He used to break bricks in the ceiling of the underground levels, but never tried jumping up there. My suggestion that he jump up there led to the most interesting discovery of all: warp zones.

 

So after that weekend I wanted an NES in the worst way, and had forgotten all about the SMS. I didn't actually get an NES until '88, and I got an Atari 7800 before that. I've never actually played an SMS, nor have I ever even seen one in real life.


Edited by MaximRecoil, Sat Nov 5, 2016 10:51 PM.


#20 zylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 6, 2016 8:10 AM

I got mine for Christmas '87 and it had Hang-On/Safari Hunt built-in instead of a cart. I remember the Base System versions being a lot harder to find.



#21 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 6, 2016 8:30 AM

I remember seeing the SMS in stores back in the day but I never really gave it much thought since I was into my Apple IIe pretty heavily at that time. By the time I got my NES in 1989 I was pretty hooked on it so the SMS looked kind of junky in my eyes (it didn't help that TRU always had the worst looking games on display). I got a Genesis pretty early on, but never considered the base converter since all the SMS games they were pushing at the time were watered down Genesis ports. By the time I got one around 2004 or so I realized that it did have some really nice unique games that I missed out on.

#22 thegamezmaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 6, 2016 8:53 AM

I got mine when they first came out. Still have it CIB. Plus still have some letters with hints etc and some Sega Visions too. Great memories. Love Alex Kidd In Miracle World and others.



#23 schuwalker OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 6, 2016 11:01 AM

Got mine on Christmas of '86.

 

It was the unit w/ Hang On/Safari Hunt cart and the snail maze game. Also remember getting Space Harrier as well.



#24 malducci OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 6, 2016 11:55 AM

I played the SMS at Play World many a times (the demo machine, with the timeout feature that reset the console). Alex Kidd was fun, but kinda simplistic. This was back in '87-88. The demo unit had a good chunk of games to try out, but they all seemed too simplistic compared to the NES games that I played - I noticed this about the music too. While the SMS had superior graphics, at the time they didn't really look any better to the NES IMO. This was all new tech and I though it all looked great. The gameplay, atmosphere, and music were really important to me - and the top tier NES titles just delivered that experience compared to the competition. I stopped looking at SMS after a while, as the games just didn't seem the have the same caliber.

 

 But honestly, if I actually had the SMS, I would have enjoyed it I'm sure. But the real problem with owning an SMS, and being poor or such, was no games to play. At some point, my friends and I would rent NES games - you couldn't rent SMS games in my city. And probably most important, you could trade-borrow NES games with friends/family/associates/etc (lend a game to someone, and they lend you a different game). I only ever knew of one person that had an SMS. So if you had an NES as kid, you had the opportunity to explore the library without having to buy the games. This was invaluable to a kid who wasn't old enough to work and buy games, or had no money.

 

 It would have been great to own both (I wanted nothing to do with the 7800; I felt really bad for kids that got that system for xmas.. I knew a few. I hated going over their house to play games on it). But realistically, that wasn't an option at my age during the 8bit era. Thankfully I was a teen by the time 16bit was into the swing of things, and could buy games for all three systems that I owned (snes, genesis, turbo duo).


Edited by malducci, Sun Nov 6, 2016 11:56 AM.


#25 Flojomojo ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 6, 2016 12:11 PM

As a poor teenager, I really liked renting NES games from the local video store. They didn't have SMS, though they'd eventually get Genesis and SNES.




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