Sega Genesis Tetris - also, need a photo of Mega Drive ver. to illustrate

Discussion in 'Unreleased Games Discussion' started by Szczepaniak, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. Szczepaniak

    Szczepaniak Robust Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    3
    OK, I'm the author of The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers, and I've not posted here in years. But I'm working on Volume 3 and have made a discovery regarding Tetris for Sega Genesis.

    During a discussion with one of my Japanese Sega interviewees he expressed sadness at the Sega Genesis version of Tetris being manufactured by Sega of America, a full warehouse apparently, and then having to tell them they can't sell them, and all copies being destroyed.

    He said "Genesis" and "Sega of America" in Japanese, and I clarified that he was referring to copies intended for the US market, which he confirmed.

    Now, we all know about the Japanese Mega Drive version. And there are repro carts which say Genesis, but this would have been around... I want to say 1989? So using the older style boxes with metallic logo.

    I presume this information has never come up? At the time I mentioned the JPN MD version, and he said those were were leaked illegally and he didn't know who from.

    So I'm posting this first to reveal it, but mainly to ask if it's already known, and does anyone with an original JPN MD copy, would you be willing to provide a hi-res photo to illustrate this part of the interview?

    I recall one guy on this forum (from Spain?), had a signed copy by Pajitnov. But there's so many repros of it now, that finding a decent photo is tough. I suppose I could just put a repro photo up if needed.

    I will credit your name to the photo and... Maybe email you a digital copy of V1 or V2 if you like?

    Any questions do ask, but I didn't really get anything more than that.
     
    arnoldlayne likes this.
  2. Youloute

    Youloute Robust Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    13
    I was about to say that Tetris should have been released in March-April 1989 (= 4-5 months after the release of the Genesis) in Japan according to various ads and planning lists, then I recalled seeing this proof of purchase:
    https://twitter.com/nanashi_da_z/status/799585067483836416
    ...which also refers to Rambo III, a game released in October 1989, but IIRC, Rambo III has also been delayed (as a lot of early Mega Drive games).
    I'm not at home right now but I'll take a look at my archives tonight.
     
  3. sayin999

    sayin999 Officer at Arms

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    3,399
    Likes Received:
    112
    Welcome to the forums, I have both volume 1 & 2 of Untold and must say they are amazing books, highly looking forward to 3rd volume. As for your question if you have twitter you can ask Al Nielson he usually replies to questions pretty quickly and would be the one in marketing who was around furring that era, I would say also ask kalinski on twitter but I think he started later than 89.
     
  4. sayin999

    sayin999 Officer at Arms

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    3,399
    Likes Received:
    112
  5. HiSpec

    HiSpec Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    The full cover scan and manual scan of MD Tetris were released on Sega Ages 2500 vol. 28 on the PS2. The easiest way to extract the cover is to just load the ISO in an emulator and take screenshots.
     
  6. Youloute

    Youloute Robust Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    13
    Here is what I have:

    The Japanese version was slated for release on April 15, 1989 according to Beep! Mega Drive (I don't know from which issue this scan comes)
    [​IMG]

    Actually, April 89 is the only date I have found for this game.
    [​IMG]

    An ad for the game, without any date though:
    [​IMG]

    And for those asking, Rambo III was originally due to release in March 1989 (Famitsu? - November 1988):
    [​IMG]

    Scans provided by https://twitter.com/chou_nosuke


    What I'm wondering is: did the Japanese version have been delayed before the destruction of the stock.
    If it has not been delayed, why Sega of America would have manufactured the game months before the release of the Genesis?


    As suggested by Sayin999, you should contact Al Nilsen.
     
  7. HiSpec

    HiSpec Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    I am a bit skeptical unless somebody from SoA can verify this.

    What seemed to be a completed MD Tetris was previewed in the May 1989 (published at the end of April) issue of Beep with a release date of April 15, 1989. After that, Tetris disappeared from all release lists. The Nintendo-Atari lawsuit began in April, 1989. That lawsuit was apparently what caused Sega to hold off on releasing MD Tetris in Japan, and eventually getting rid of whatever stock they had (they knew they wouldn't win a lawsuit brought by Nintendo after seeing what happened to Atari).

    The Genesis wasn't released in NA until 4 months after that. Would SoA really have manufactured "a full warehouse" of Tetris cartridges that far in advance?
     
  8. Szczepaniak

    Szczepaniak Robust Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    3
    EDIT: HiSpec replied while I was typing this. Skepticism is always good. I sort of address it in my replies below. It sounds quite feasible if they were hoping to release it alongside the system launch.

    Anyway...

    Thanks for the replies and scans.

    I avoid Twitter due to the disturbing tendency for people to dogpile. But good advice on contacting Nilson! Thanks.

    Cheers! I also contacted him via eBay.

    Ultimately I decided to go with a photo of a repro, the caption stating as such, since I found a super hi-res publicity shot on one of the sites selling it.

    An interesting question. Here's the quote:

    Now, I had the spoken Japanese later transcribed directly into English by a professional translator, after the fact, so the typed English is as accurate as it's likely to get. And according to a Wikipedia citation in Steve Kent's Ultimate History, the Genesis had a limited launch in August 1989, about 4 months after the planned Japanese release of Tetris. It's speculation on my part, but could they have been considering it as a launch title? The interviewee said "when they were starting out", which is somewhat ambiguous, but ties in with the idea.

    Contacting Nilson sounds like a good plan, or trying to get hold of Katz, since SoA was under his tenure in 1989.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  9. HiSpec

    HiSpec Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Interesting quote. Thanks. A few things that jump to mind:

    1) Licensing: I was under the belief that Sega never even had its foot in the door in terms of releasing Tetris in North America. As I understand it, Atari held the rights to the arcade version of Tetris, and since Atari was based in NA, Sega made a deal with them to release a new version in Japanese arcades. Nintendo held the rights to release Tetris on consoles outside of Japan, and Henk Rogers' Bullet-Proof software held the console rights in Japan. Nintendo and BPS made a deal in Japan, which then shut Sega out of its planned Japan release.

    2) It seems possible that your source is 'mis-remembering' the failed Japanese release of Tetris, which is one of the quintessential examples of a finished game not being released in Japan. The unreleased MD Tetris became something of a legend in early 90s game magazines - I remember an issue of Famitsu from 92 or 93 with a blurb suggesting that the Tetris games are STILL filling a secret warehouse somewhere. I mean, it's possible he's remembering correctly, but it's surprising he doesn't mention the failed Japanese release given what a huge debacle it was.

    Regardless, it's an interesting lead worth investigating. Thanks again.
     
  10. Christuserloeser

    Christuserloeser Rapidly Rising Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    5
    I remember reading that games and hardware were manufactured in Japan for Sega of America (and Sega of Europe).
     
  11. Szczepaniak

    Szczepaniak Robust Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    3
    Well, he does add the caveat of if he remembers correctly. After the second Q&A quoted above, the rest of the convo went like this:

    After this we move on to discussing the role of a producer. I only had 90 minutes so didn't want to hang for too long on any one topic.

    The guy I spoke with worked at Sega of Japan and later Sega of America - specifically, he was in Japan in 1989. So... I'm not sure. Does this mean he saw Sega of America order manufactured copies from Japan, they arrived at SoA's warehouse and then were told they can't sell? I'm guessing everyone at SoJ would have been discussing this event since it was company wide in that case. Or is he mis-remembering the Japanese MD version?

    I'll ask around see if anyone on the US side remembers.

    (For the record, I also asked all my Sega interviewees about Sonic Crackers, and showed colour photos, but none recognised it.)
     
  12. Yakumo

    Yakumo Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Messages:
    20,774
    Likes Received:
    765
    Anyone for a copy of Tetris Prototype :)
    tetris-proto.jpg

    tetris-pro.jpg

    and here is the typical fake one below.

    tetris-fake.jpg
     
    Vlcice, arnoldlayne and KGRAMR like this.
  13. ninjistar

    ninjistar Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    6
    This is a great read. I'd love to own a proto of Tetris on any platform! It's one of my all-time favorite games.
     
  14. Szczepaniak

    Szczepaniak Robust Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    3
    Al Nilson doesn't recall - so I'm tracking down Steve Hanawa, who I believe was liaison for SOJ and SOA, regarding Tetris and later Columns.
     
  15. Bramsworth

    Bramsworth Well Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,647
    Likes Received:
    262
    Sent you a PM.
     
  16. Szczepaniak

    Szczepaniak Robust Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    3
    Cool, replied.
     
  17. Szczepaniak

    Szczepaniak Robust Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    3
    I heard back from Steve Hanawa, and wrote an 1800 word essay on this topic, and... Basically it's inconclusive from all sides. I'll probably put the essay on Gamasutra closer to publishing to generate publicity.
     
  18. sayin999

    sayin999 Officer at Arms

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    3,399
    Likes Received:
    112
    You last option could be Madeline Schroeder who was a Product Manager at sega of america. She was part of the Michael Katz era through most of Kalenske's tenure. She might be able to awnswer your question as she was often aware of sales numbers and inventory at sega of america. She now currently goes by Madeline Canpe. However I do not exactly know how you could get in contact with her.
     
  19. dr.slump

    dr.slump Rapidly Rising Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2015
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    27
    That's not a proof of purchase, it's a letter from a shop called Messe Sanoh announcing that they have a 2 in 1 cart of Tetris and Rambo III for sale. :rolleyes:
     

Share This Page