What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Those were the very first words I ever heard uttered by Bubsy Bobcat. Being a huge Sega Genesis fan, I was there when a blue blur called Sonic The Hedgehog was unleashed on an unsuspecting video game world. Many had tried games with characters they could build series around. Sega had tried several itself, with Alex Kidd and the underrated Psycho Fox. But with Sonic suddenly getting fans talking, and debating if he was cooler than Mario, everybody wanted a mascot. Sunsoft tried Aero The Acrobat. Tengen got in on the act with Awesome Possum (a particularly hard sell with me, as there are possums in my neighborhood, and “cute” and “cuddly” are not adjectives that I associate with them). Electronic Arts came up with James Pond. And Accolade, not content to be left out in the cold, came up with Bubsy.

Accolade was in a strange position. Initially, they weren’t authorized by Sega to make games for the Genesis. They came up with Ishido, a puzzle game, and Star Control, the first “heavy memory” (employed bankswitching to hold more data than the 8 megs the system was designed for) cartridge on the system. It was this renegade group that caused Sega to redesign the Genesis with a lockout code (it wasn’t a perfect plan — it also kept some legit licensed games, like EA’s Zany Golf, from running on the new hardware). The result was Acco-
lade and Sega suing each other. Sega sued Accolade for making games for the Genesis without permission.And Accolade sued because new games, due to the lockout, became “by or under license from Sega.”, which misrepresented Accolade‘s unauthorized games. They eventually settled. Accolade was also an official Nintendo licensee.

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