I doubt kids today even realize how big Sega used to be or how fierce the console wars of the 90’s were. In the 1990’s, Sega and Nintendo were having an all out war over their 16 bit consoles. While we have console “wars” today, they don’t quite compare to those ones of the 90’s. Kids swore allegiance to either Sega or Nintendo, it was like a gang. One of the big reasons that made that war epic was that each console often got exclusive licenses or exclusive versions of games.
Which brings us to today’s Classic Comic Ad, from 1991. The Ninja Turtles were big sellers for Konami and they had cranked out numerous arcade and console games. Up until now though, they had almost been exclusively Nintendo games. This two page ad shows off just how much power their was in the TMNT game franchise at the time, as well as pokes fun at Nintendo’s usage of the phrase “playing with power”.
It shows Raphael getting “plugged in” to the Sega Genesis and it’s clearly blowing his mind! The next page shows the Genesis and the Turtles fighting. There’s a tiny bit of a Foot Soldier in one scene. It’s really incredible artwork, especially when you consider even the Genesis console is a sketch. I can’t quite place who did the art, but it looks a bit like Michael Dooney.
Oddly enough, I don’t believe I ever played Hyperstone Heist. In fact I’m not sure if I ever played any of the Sega versions of the TMNT games. While I was one of the few kids who had both systems, I didn’t get my Sega Genesis until 93ish, I think. As mentioned above, Sega and Nintendo had different games entirely for their consoles. The basic gameplay was always the same, but the games themselves were quite different in premise. Partially because of the Sega’s color palette and partially because of design choices, the Sega games always appeared much more like the Mirage comics to me.
Sega always seemed more “adult”, perhaps as a result of their marketing and their willingness to allow more violence on their systems. This also made the Ninja Turtles games feel more adult and clearly that’s being marketed here as well. This game rather strangely featured Rocksteady, but no Bebop. It also had an appearance by TMNT movie character, Tatsu. It’s just something you wouldn’t expect on Nintendo, but feels right at home on Sega.
All in all, the artwork and the advertisement are terrific. A great little time capsule showing the power of the TMNT franchise and the height of the console war. Cowabunga!