Winner of the 2003 Biggest News Story: SAMMY BUYS SEGA
Hostile Takeover. You don’t exactly see those words too often in the videogame world, but that’s pretty much what we were told happened between Sammy and Sega, and I don’t think any of us were reallty expecting that. I mean, from our perspective, who the hell was Sammy? They made Guilty Gear and a bunch of terrible games no one would really want to force themselves to play. It wasn’t well known that they were a Pachinko giant overseas, and I don’t think it would have mattered if we did know about that. All that mattered was that a company known for pressing crap on a disc had just taken over Sega, a company known for making some of the most awesome games available in the past fifteen years.
Since that point, Sega has largely produced crap no one would want to play, and every good game they publish, no matter how great, is tainted with the stain of three or four other games that suck the meat missile. Add to that the fact that most of the “good” games Sega has published in the past three years weren’t even developed by them and, well, it’s not too hard to see the impact Sammy has had on the formerly innovative Sega. Titles like Yakuza and the soon to be released Phantasy Star Universe prove the Sega of old isn’t dead completely, but the takeover changed the face of the industry in a lot of ways, and it’s just really sad to see one of the leaders of the 16-bit revolution fall so far as to be reduced to this.
Sonic the Hedgehog. After Burner. Golden Axe. NiGHTS. Virtual Fighter. Phantasy Star.
Remember those great franchises? Remember how badly they’ve been obliterated over the years, culminating in games like Shadow the Hedgehog? Remember lines like “Sega Makes Murder Porn”, and how accurate they looked even today? While the loss of quality in their products can be traced back further to when they started expanding the Genesis as if it was some sort of Mecha character the likes that you see in Robotech, things took a larger turn in 2003 – ending in 2004 – when Sammy bought out Sega.
Sammy made a name as a Pachinko giant in Japan. Too bad I, like a lot of people, would never have HEARD of Pachinko had it not been for The Price is Right or a few scattered Hentai games (uh… you guys all play those… right? ). Sammy went in, made a holding company with one of the greatest game makers of all time under it’s wing, and then proceded to f*ck up the works. Innovation has since been destroyed in favour of a good bottom line, as Sega/Sammy tries to catch lightning in a bottle by “modernizing” their games and hoping people were stupid enough to buy them (Shadow had guns. Fucking GUNS!). And by the way, we still haven’t seen a real Phantasy Star game in 12 years.
To put this merger in perspective, let me put together another group of once-great names in videogame history that mean nothing more than nostalga nowadays. Let’s see if our readers can come up with a correllation:
Sega. Atari. Activision. Coleco. Commodore.
There’s not much I can say here that would eventually end up with me using nonstop profanity. I royally dislike Sammy. I loved Sega but was constantly amazed by the stupidity of their business practices. To me, the merger was a deathknell for the Sega I knew and loved. I wasn’t wrong either.
Before Sega gave us Sonic. Now they give us Shadow. Before they gave us Shining Force. Now we have Shining Force Neo. Before they gave us Panzer Dragoon. Now they gave us…umm, well, they haven’t since Sammy bought them. The list goes on.
The last Sega game they made that I truly enjoyed was Shining Force: RoTDD, and that was a remake of a classic, and they still managed to pollute it with new stuff that actually took away from the game. In retrospect, had we known then what we know now, I’m sure this would have been the gaming lowlight of the year rather than the N-Gage.