Game Buzz is a new weekly opinion column designed to take an irreverent look at one of the biggest news stories to break in the past week. Every Friday evening we'll be bringing you another slice of reaction to topical gaming news, and inviting you to agree, disagree, shout assent, vent rage, scream and complain to you heart's delight. This week we take a look at Sega's new console.
This week a cacophony of excited news chatterboxes begin warbling about something called the Sega Zone or Zone Sega, or whatever. It would seem, courtesy of PocketLint, that somewhere inside one of Sega’s research and development powerhouses there was a little after-hours liaison between a Genesis and an errant Wii, and that it bore offspring most curious indeed.
The Sega Zone, for those who couldn’t be bothered to look or were far too busy playing Mass Effect 2 to notice, is a futuristic looking new console. Yes, that’s right; it seems that Sega are making a new console. Before all of the Sega fanboys out there stop tearfully cradling their burnt out Dreamcasts and start dancing around with excitement, and believe me I was half a heartbeat away from cracking one out over Sonic Chronicles, there’s something that you should know: It’s a one off and it looks crap.
Essentially a retro-minded ‘Best Of’ with a poor man’s WiiPlay tacked on and a couple of controllers that looks suspiciously like a cross between a Wiimote and a barcode scanner, the Sega Zone will come fitted with 20 of Sega’s finest classics including such gems as Golden Axe and Sonic and Knuckles but will also, and here comes the interesting part, feature 30 other games on its system, 16 of which will feature motion sensor controls such as those found on the Wii. Reports suggest that it’ll hit stores at around£40-50.
Of course, I say ‘the interesting part’, but this isn’t groundbreaking news. Hell, it isn’t even new. You see, all Sega have done is stick their name onto the critically-panned Zone 40 Wii rip-off and lent the console manufacturer’s the licence to Sega Ultimate Collection. This is probably one of the laziest cash-in attempts I’ve ever seen. At least the folks over at Activision and EA put in a bit of effort when they try and shamelessly rip-off the public.
So, Disappointment No. 1: It’s not even a Sega console. It’s a piece of random trash with a sticker on it, the kind of thing that you can buy on budget bins in Argos and plug straight into the TV. If the Wii is a roast dinner – guaranteed good times for all the family – then this would be a £1 microwaveable turkey meal from Iceland. The shop, not the country.
It seems a little pathetic in a way, like a down-and-out gambler who made a promise to his wife never to lay a bet again sneaking out at 3am to slip away to a university poker game with half naked drunken stoners because he can’t do it any other way. It smacks of laziness too. Sega have the expertise to build their own console, it’s not like they’ve never been successful in that arena, but there’s a certain amount of fear here. They don’t want to spend loads of money only for it to fly back in their face when they have to kneel at Shigeru Miyamoto’s feet and beg to be taken back into the Nintendo fold so they're pimping themselves out to laughable hardware third parties.
Don't do it Sega, it never ends well. You just wake up with a splitting headache, all your money gone, and various sore patches around your extremities.
Disappointment No. 2: There's nothing new to see here. If I want 20 Sega games I'll just buy the Ultimate Collection or retrofit myself with a Genesis or Mega Drive for classic value. Or, if I'm feeling really cheap, I'll bust out an emulation kit and get my ring collection fix that way. Sure, it's only £40-50. But you can buy Uncharted 2 for that. You can buy four copies of Halo 3 for that money, give three to your mates and it'll probably soak up more of your time than this. If you really want an excuse to shake your arms around like a tit then join a gospel choir. This might just be the worst use of plastic I've seen since Meg Ryan's lips.
Disappoint No. 3: ...No, I've seen enough.
Are we supposed to be grateful for this? There's a big Sega console shaped hole in my life, but this is not the answer. It'd be like trying to fill a swimming pool with a teacup, or pleasure a porn star with a toothpick. There's no expansion for it either, what you see is what you get, and when what you get looks and likely plays worse than half of the shovelware on the Wii, you know something's not right. I can understand the desire to pitch towards more thrifty gamers and children, in fact that's what this site is all about (being a thrifty gamer, not children...for that you want Playpennies), but to be honest you can pick up a second hand Wii for under £100 now. If your buying this as a stop gap then you're a fool because, quite frankly, what's the point? You'll actually end up spending more money when you realise that this doesn't suffice. And don't encourage them: If there's one thing worse than cheap knock-offs of trendy games, it's cheap knock-offs of trendy consoles. Sega, you're better than this.
Don't even get me started on the Chintendo Vii...