Sega CD or 32 X?

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Sega CD or 32 X?

Postby matmico399 » May 18th, 2019, 8:42 pm

Several years ago repurchased a Sega CD. Back in the day I was totally obsessed with Sega. Like the critic, I started repurchasing consoles. If you could only have one, which would you pick? The Sega CD while limited on quality games still have some great ones. The 32x I never repurchased. It had Star wars Virtua racing and doom which is why I bought it in the first place, cuz I did not have a PC at the time. I was obsessed with first person shooters at the time. The 32x gave me that opportunity. But outside of three or four games I thought it was a joke. What is your opinion one which you would choose?

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Re: Sega CD or 32 X?

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » May 19th, 2019, 12:26 am

Back in the day? Sega CD, no question about it. Lunar was the first console game where it felt like the story was written by an actual writer - nothing was rushed, everything was allowed to develop organically. Every emotion mattered. And for the first time, every NPC felt like they might have a story to tell beyond my own.

Then there was Panic, the ultimate party game. Even people who didn't play games could enjoy it. Or The Mansion of Hidden Souls, which felt like survival horror, even if it was more of a disquieting exploration, rather than a series of jumpscares and item management. Add to all that, Sonic CD and Challege from the Darkside? Sure, the two were just the usual genre games, with a lot more added features...but exploring that bonus content felt like a nonstop holiday. And it was all exciting and new, so long ago and always growing further away.

But that's the choice of nostalgia. And nostalgia's an imperfect time machine, at best. It can sometimes take you back to the past, but it can't keep you there.

Sooner or later, it's impossible to ignore that everything the Sega CD offered back then, I can find anywhere, in abundance, and in higher quality. But the low resolution, flatshaded arcade style games of the 32x? They were so briefly the state of the art, that we passed over that aesthetic in just a year or two. And their charm wouldn't be rediscovered until recent.

But only partially.

It's just that sometimes, it feels like the modern versions are just too polished. They look beautiful, but in a sterile way. You wouldn't see a rainbow themed merry go round in the scenery of a modern indie racer. And what became of the hidden depth and precision Virtua Fighter offered, beneath the minimalist aesthetic? Or maybe I just want to fly into space, without worrying that the universe is too big for me to see everything.

Maybe I want to imagine the wars of escapism actually matter. Sometimes, I need that to get me through the real battles life offers.

And maybe, most of all, I just like my art as messy and imperfect as we are. I enjoy seeing that human element. Sometimes, then the gameplay almost feels like a conversation I'm having with the people who made it...if that makes any sense?

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Re: Sega CD or 32 X?

Postby MSR1701 » May 25th, 2019, 11:03 am

While growing up in the 90s, I wasn't too interested in the Sega CD articles I saw in the magazines of the day, finding myself more interested in the Amiga CD32 and the Atari Jaguar as far as non-Game Boy/SNES/Genesis systems went. As an adult, I love the RPGs on the system (Lunar, Popful Mail), though I do think some games like Sonic CD and Night Trap have a bit of hype/nostalgia to them that I never felt with.

On the other hand, I loved the idea of the Sega 32X, as I thought it would be a great stepping stone to keep the Genesis going, especially with the Neptune update that was being discussed. While most of the games suffered from the internal political battles that Sega was having (which meant that documentation didn't reach the developers, plus the forced early launch of the Saturn), several great games appeared on the system, such as Virtua Fighter, Virtua Racing Deluxe, Darxide (sadly only in Europe, but better than many early PSX games), Star Wars Arcade, Doom (given the time period, a good version), and Star Trek Starfleet Academy (to me better than the SNES one, though I play that one more due to ease of setup). LOTS of ports and shovelware, but that is what happens when you rush out a system and have internal bickering and no lead time for game development...

That said, I had hoped that a Neptune model with built-in CD for Sega CD compatibility and 32XCD to Neptune CD development could have occured. I always liked the Turbo Duo idea, and I know that Sega of America was behind keeping the Genesis alive due to continuing strong sales. Alas, history shows that it was not meant to be...

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Re: Sega CD or 32 X?

Postby VideoGameCritic » May 25th, 2019, 6:12 pm

Some terrific comments here that really hit the mark.

I remember I had my friends over to my bedroom in the early 90's and my friend Keith brought his new Sega CD. We weren't terribly impressed. The FMV in Night Trap was cool, but I didn't think a game like that could have much replay value. The cut-scenes in Wonderdog were long but that wasn't appealing. And then there were the load times. It wasn't until much later that I started to appreciate the quirkiness of the early CD games.

I was pretty psyched about the 32X when I got in for Xmas 94 and it didn't disappoint. I played the heck out of Virtual racer, Star Wars, and Doom. Later I was pretty happy with Afterburning and Shadow Squadron. Granted, there wasn't much beyond that. By the time the Playstation came out I could not give that 32X away.

Right now I love both systems, and like PixelatedGenecide mentioned, it partly because of all their imperfections. It's a lot of fun to play/review games for systems like these, good or bad.

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Re: Sega CD or 32 X?

Postby djc » May 26th, 2019, 12:47 am

I agree with everything said here so far. The Sega CD is/was one of my favorite systems. While some games were shallow for sure, others were really good and envelope-pushing for the time. I remember when my parents agreed to buy me a next gen system and we went to "The Wiz". On display were systems like the Sega CD, SNES, Neo Geo, Genesis, Sega Master System II, and the Atari 2600 (what a time to be a gamer!!). I was so excited when my dad picked out the Sega CD (and Genesis to go along with it).

The 32X I acquired later only enhanced this experience although I feel it never quite reached its full potential. I loved the arcade ports (Afterburner, Space Harrier, Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter, etc...). With only around 40 games released for it and many no better than the Genesis versions though, it's no wonder it failed to connect with the gaming public.

So to answer the OP's question, Sega CD.

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Re: Sega CD or 32 X?

Postby goldenband » May 26th, 2019, 9:44 am

The Sega of America strategy for the Sega CD pushed FMV pretty hard, and that seems to be its legacy -- but if the Japanese library for the Sega CD/Mega CD had been localized (or fan-translated) into English, it would really change this equation.

There are tons of RPGs and other interesting titles that never made it out of Japan, and were clearly intended to compete with the PC Engine CD's library of RPGs and adventure games. If you're into obscure RPGs at all, the Mega CD library is so tantalizing and poorly-documented.

Even with the limited English-language library, as it stands now I'm probably more interested in the Sega CD, but I do enjoy the 32X though I think its alleged "best" games are overrated (I didn't like Kolibri and couldn't stand Blackthorne).

People have claimed the 32X has all kinds of untapped power but some recent technical breakdowns made it very clear that it's a limited machine. That said, Metal Head holds up surprisingly well and might be my favorite title on the 32X -- I love those mech games from the early 3D era.

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