Well, hello there. Welcome back to the Last Official Release: the semi-frequent series I tippity-tap that discusses the final official games to be released on your favourite consoles. An extensive and well-formatted list of what I’ve already covered can be found below, but today, we’re prodding the Sega Genesis – or, Mega Drive, if you’re anywhere in the world that’s not North America.
I feel like I don’t even need to introduce this matte-black beast, as I’m sure everyone is aware of its fantastic library and the unforgettable rivalry it endured against the Super Nintendo throughout the 90’s. So, I’ll save the introductory spiel for today – go read one of the countless other articles about its existence if you want to know more – and instead, delve right into the basis of this collection of words.
The Genesis’s shelf life was between the years of 1988 and 1997 and for once, the final game is actually somewhat within that time period restraint. If you’ve read any of my other articles or otherwise looked into the subject matter, you’ll find that some consoles see their final hurrah years later. This is refreshingly on time, however – and for once, the last game was even in America. That also never seems to happen. Before we discuss the victor, though, let’s inspect the consolation prize winners.
Japan was the first to go which is hardly surprising considering how dismally it performed there compared to not only the SNES (named the Super Famicom there) but NEC’s PC Engine. The last game Genesis fans in the East would see was Madō Monogatari I, released on the 22nd of March, 1996. Developed by Compile, this series of games started on the MSX2 and NEC PC-9801 in 1989 and terminated on mobile platforms years later in 2005. The Mega Drive version (as it was so called in Japan) seems to be very much like other entries in the series. The gameplay infuses mechanics of RPG’s and dungeon crawlers as you make your way through a 3D maze full of enemies and bizarre items. While there are relatively harmless (and decidedly delicious) obstacles like Japanese curry, there are also crystals that will summon Santa. Festive. Later on, characters of this series would feature in the well-known Puyo Puyo series, also developed by Compile.
Europe was next, and hey, what do you know – it’s a FIFA game. FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 saw its release on the 17th of June, 1997. And while there would be a road to 1998 for the Genesis, it substitutes footballs for frogs. Yes, the ever consistent Frogger is the final official game to grace the Sega Genesis.
At the time, Konami had bought back the rights for its original 1981 arcade release from Sega and was keen to get it onto then current consoles. Not wanting to, you know, actually do it themselves, though, they came to a licencing agreement with Hasbro Interactive who then, in turn, licenced the console ports out to Majesco. Talk about passing the buck.
It wasn’t the most interesting port of Frogger you can probably play, with it more or less being a straight port of the arcade original except with a new splash screen. The box art wasn’t even original – it was pulled directly from Frogger 3D, released on DOS the year prior. And as you can imagine, being the last and all, it was a US exclusive.
Interestingly enough, this port of Frogger was also the final SNES release in the states. While not the final SNES game ever (I guess I’ll cover that next time) it’s a comforting fact to know that after such a long and bitter rivalry, they both concluded in the US on the exact same game. One that primarily featured a frog, none the less.
Previously, on The Last Official Release:
Sega Master System – Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge
Game & Watch – Mario the Juggler
PS1 – Schnappi: 3 Fun-Games
N64 – Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3
Game Gear – The Lost World: Jurassic Park
NES – The Lion King
Atari 2600 – Klax
Game Boy – Shikakei Atama o Kore Kusuru: Kanji/Keisan no Tatsujin
Dreamcast – Karous