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The Sega CD Was A Hunk of Garbage

by Sean P. Aune | February 4, 2010February 4, 2010 8:59 am PDT

Some times game companies have over extended themselves before the technology was quite ready to keep up with their concepts, and one of the best examples of this has to be the Sega CD drive.

The Sega Genesis launched in Japan in 1988, and in the United States in 1989, and it was from the same generation of systems as the Super Nintendo.  While the Genesis, known as the Mega Drive in Japan, was a good system for the time, Sega got the idea that it could be leaps ahead of everyone, and in 1991 and 1992, the company launched a CD-ROM add-on called the Mega Drive/Sega CD in Japan and the US respectively.

sega_cd_consoleThe games were an ambitious leap from the 16-bit graphics the systems, trying to jump directly from the traditional polygon graphics of the day to live action video.  While the games did indeed feature video of actors, and the drive was probably capable of handling the CD-ROMs, but the Genesis wasn’t capable of pushing the necessary colors or processing requirements to properly display the games.  What we ended up with were games that couldn’t be displayed at the full size of the screen, and even when in a reduced mode, you ended up with very jagged graphics that had horrible coloring problems.

In short, it was kind of like watching blurs that almost resembled humans doing stuff that you were attempting to control, and it just really didn’t work all that well.  Sure the games were almost playable, but the pauses in action, the over laying really poor computer graphics and little to no replay value made the peripheral a questionable purchase at best.

segacd_nighttrapIn total there were over 200 games produced for the CD drive, and while not all of them featured live-action video, it is probably more notably remembered for the controversy spawned over one of its earliest games, Night Trap.  The game featured a full motion video story of co-eds being trapped and attacked in a house.  Due to the plot of the game, and the fact that it was shot in video, the game drew the ire of the United States Congress, and there was news story after news story on the evening news about how video games had gone too far and were going to ruin the youth of this country.

This eventually led to the game being pulled from stores, and being allowed to go out of print for a few years after its initial print run sold out.  While obviously not much

Personally I was more offended by the fact that former child actress Dano Plato from Diff’rent Strokeswas in it and turning in a really sub-par acting performance that was actually distracting in how over-the-top it was.

The second most memorable thing about the Sega CD was that it may have inadvertently inspired the creation of the original Playstation … but that is a story for another day.


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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