Sunday, January 30, 2022

History of Sega (Sega Visions February/March 1993)

This is a very brief article from the February/March 1993 issue of Sega Visions magazine that summarizes the history of Sega in a few paragraphs. It doesn't exactly tie into last week's news but that's the reason I decided to scan this quick article with great images of old Sega arcade games. The story I'm referring to is that Sega Sammy announced it was selling off its remaining arcade centers in Japan to Genda. It's still going to make arcade games; what's being sold are the actual arcade locations it ran as business has tanked during the pandemic. This is likely not a big deal to most people, especially outside of Japan, though I find it disappointing as I hope to one day visit Japan and there probably won't be much to see in regards to Sega. Years ago it left its original headquarters and moved to a new building, and now there won't be any Sega-branded arcades to go to that I assume carried Sega-branded merchandise, likely in the UFO Catcher skill games. Maybe it seems silly to care as it's just a name/logo change on the exterior of buildings but I really would have liked to see that Sega logo above an arcade entrance and stand outside the old Sega HQ. As I've posted about Sega numerous times over the past five years, the company and its games were an important part of my childhood.

Monday, January 17, 2022

ToyFare Marketing 101: Singular Sensation (Spring Special Edition 1997)

While this article from ToyFare magazine revolves around the Toy Biz Spider-Man action figures from the 1990s, it can apply to any action figure toy line (especially those based on a cartoon) as it discusses how a company chooses which characters to manufacture. Any time this subject comes up I think about Kenner's Batman: The Animated Series toys which is mentioned by the Toy Biz rep. I stocked both Batman and Spider-Man toys when I worked at Toy Works from 1994-96 and Batman always stood out because customers would ask about villains and we rarely had any to sell. Being a Batman fan and collector back then I can recall that each box we received had 24 figures and the assortment was typically 20 Batman, 2 Robin, and 2 villains. There were also cases that were all Batman, namely Lightning Strike Batman which we received a lot of. As Toy Biz states in the article, the hero is what kids know best and what they want, and they are the primary customer so it's better business to make many different versions of the hero than more villains. It is surprising though that it is so skewed toward one character because kids need a bad guy for Spider-Man to fight, or many bad guys to battle, one for each of their Spider-Man variants.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Vault 1541's 5th Anniversary

It's already been five years since the blog launched on January 2, 2017. Of course, I began work on it a couple years before that but it took quite a while to scan magazine ads and put everything together. There were some ups and downs, with the early days of the YouTube channel, Flickr reducing its free storage, and the Commodore 64 breaking being the most frustrating hurdles. I'd hoped to earn some ad revenue too which hasn't happened after all this time, and time and money are the two biggest factors when it comes to the future of Vault 1541. As I've noted in the monthly updates and as is evident by looking around the blog, I have done significantly less the past two years than the first three and I don't expect that to change. In fact, I'm likely to stop with the monthly updates since there isn't a lot to say that often. I did renew the URL for another five years so at least none of the links I've posted here and anywhere else will break.

If I recall, I have posted highlights previously, perhaps in the updates, regarding my favorite or what I feel are the best posts and I'll recount some here as well and mix in some photos that haven't appeared on the blog before. Being a Sega kid I dedicated full weeks to Sonic, the Dreamcast, and Sega itself:

  • Ahead of the release of Sonic Mania I posted "Six Days of Sonic" with the first day being August 13, 2017.
  • As I posted game ads in alphabetical order by company name I reached Sega in April 2019 and put together a full week of Sega posts starting with "Sega Days" which also has individual links to each Sonic post.
  • The other big Sega week was five posts relating to the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast's U.S. release and I still believe I had the best Dreamcast coverage on the Internet that week, certainly better than any of the big game news sites had. That kicked off with NFL 2K, followed by posts regarding the official magazine, game ads, press materials, and the Dreamcast console.

I also had fun writing "The Week Before E3 Week" three-part series in 2017 that includes predictions and a summary of the year I attended the 2003 show. There are two posts where I spent time creating toys-in-space images using photos of toys and props, plus Photoshop, and I think they look good: Millennium Falcon and Fisher-Price. Another big anniversary in games for myself was the 20th of StarSiege: Tribes so I put together a lengthy write-up for that on December 15, 2018. I wouldn't necessarily call this next one a favorite but I thought it was a nice idea and a useful post about the TurboGrafx-16 mini where I scanned as many reviews as I could find of the original games included on the device. Some other personal stories include visiting Funspot in 2018 and one in which I wrote about toy stores (primarily my time working at Toy Works) in a post relating to when Toys "R" Us was in the midst of closing a lot of stores before ultimately closing them all.

Some things I still haven't gotten around to doing are "Let's Play" videos of Golden Axe and SimCity, both of which are featured in the blog header image. Golden Axe is the game I played from start to finish the most, though it is short and rather easy. I just kept replaying it until I mastered it and while I'd like to do a "perfect" recording, I doubt I'd remember ever enemy pattern and the best spots to use magic, plus my Genesis arcade sticks have issues and I'm not too sure about playing it with a gamepad. SimCity is similar to Tetris on Commodore 64 in that it is the most basic version of a historically significant game. I'll get a video done for that this year, I must! Unfortunately, Omega Supreme, the Transformer in the header image, is another item I haven't shown. The reason I haven't is because it is broken and won't drive around the track. I took it apart -- which I don't recommend as it can be a pain to get back together -- but failed to repair it. I'll try to do more toy posts this year, likely without videos since that takes longer and I often don't know what to say/do in the videos.

As always, thanks for visiting, reading, watching, following, and commenting!


Saturday, January 1, 2022

Gaming Ads: Backfilling #15

I'm kicking off the new year by filling in some more game ads. I've not posted any new ones since last March as I've not been able to go through too many more magazines (don't have many remaining at this point) or comic books. I'm also giving American Game Cartridges (AGC) its own album now which it originally had with one ad on Flickr but then I opted to only give albums to companies with more than one ad which it now has. The Chiller ad says ShareData but AGC was a subsidiary of ShareData and the publisher of that game. For the backfilling there is a good mix, including California Dreams, Irem America, Konami of America, Nintendo of America, Sega of America, Taxan USA, and U.S. Gold. Happy New Year!