Sega: Masters of Mediocrity

Sonic

TimWith the release of Sega Superstars Tennis this week, we got much of the same from Sega: a missed opportunity. While not the worst Sega game in recent memory, I read many reviews saying things like: “lack of online is an insult to Wii gamers”, “untapped potential”, “passable”, and “lacking any staying power”. While some reviewers enjoyed the game, I found few people saying it was great. This brought a bigger question to mind. What was the last GREAT Sega title we saw? How often DOES Sega go the extra mile? I decided to look at all Sega games in the last couple years on MetaCritic to get the answers to those questions. Here are my results:

  • The average score for the last 20 U.S. Sega titles (counting multi-console releases only once) is 68.
  • The top 3 games were: Virtua Fighter 5 (86.5, PS3 & 360), Bleach: The Blade of Fate (84, DS), and Condemned 2: Bloodshot (82.5, PS3 & 360).
  • The bottom 3 games were: The Golden Compass (36.5, all platforms), Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (56, PS2 & Wii), and Brain Assist (56, DS).
  • The average score for a title with Sonic in it is 66.5, LOWER than the average score for all their games.

    To compare, I looked at the last 20 U.S. Nintendo releases:

  • The average score for the last 20 U.S. Nintendo titles is 77.
  • The top 3 games were: Super Mario Galaxy (97, Wii), Super Smash Bros. Brawl (95, Wii), and a tie for third between Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (90, Wii) and Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (90, DS).
  • The bottom 3 games were: DK Barrel Blast (46, Wii), Pokemon Battle Revolution (53, Wii), and Flash Focus (59, DS).
  • The average score for a title with Mario in it is 85.75, MUCH HIGHER than the average score for all their games.

    I think this says a lot about both companies. While Nintendo is capable of some duds, their best games are much better than Sega’s best. Even if you take out both company’s best and worst 3, Nintendo still trumps Sega by 10 points (78 to 68). So the average Nintendo game is of much better quality than the average Sega game. Also, they clearly treat their most prized franchise better than Sega does. Here’s more proof of that: The best Sonic game was made by Nintendo (Super Smash Bros. Brawl) and the worst Mario game was made by Sega (Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games).

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    13 Comments

    1. Ray says:

      Yeah, that sounds about right.

      Remember a while back when I took a vow to not buy any more Sonic games unless they reviewed well? Well, you can add “Sega Superstars Tennis” as the first Sonic title that I am not buying.

    2. dj75728 says:

      Poor poor sonic, I knew the well. It’s a shame, really it is. I couldn’t imagine my childhood without Sonic, and now he’s become a sham, a mere hollow shell of the greatness he once was. I miss the day when Sonic and Sega was revered the same way Halo, or blizzard is today. Woe is the Sega fan in these days devoid of the blue blur we all knew and loved……..

    3. Kree says:

      Sometimes I wonder what Sonic games would be like if (hypothetically) Nintendo owned all rights to the Sonic franchise.

      It’s so irritating that Sega rides him like a one-trick pony all the time just to get games sold. With the way they treat their main character it’s no wonder that a lot of people loathe any side characters they add in.

    4. dj75728 says:

      Oh god, thanks for reminding me of that theme song, that crap has been etched into my mind for all eternity >_< . so-NIC under-GROU-uunnnd, so-NIC under-GROU-uunnnd, so-NIC under-GROU-uunnnd, so-NIC under-GROU-uunnnd. Thanks Tim.

    5. Kip says:

      The last excellent Sega game I can think of was Skies of Arcadia. That’s certainly the last one I played.

      This Sega vs. Nintendo stuff brings me back to 4th grade, when the SNES came out and all the kids argued about which system was better. Back in those days, a statement like “While Nintendo is capable of some duds, their best games are much better than Sega’s best” would have elicited hundreds of comments (well, assuming there had been blogs back then of course).

    6. Rioluke says:

      Will there be a Sonic Adventure 3? Because the first one was great (the dreamcst version only) and the second one was ok.

    7. dj75728 says:

      Will there be a Sonic Adventure 3? Because the first one was great (the dreamcst version only) and the second one was ok.

      Think about for a second, do you really want that? Although I would like some closure on Sonic’s story. I’m not saying kill him off or anything, but I mean, even Pac-man eventually got married to Ms. Pac-man. I just don’t want to see Sonic go out like Crash or Spyro with all thier unwanted and sub-par sequels, that’s all.

      And I’m gonna take that same vow Ray has. No Sonic games till they can get back to thier roots.

    8. sheppy says:

      The last excellent Sega game I can think of was Skies of Arcadia. That’s certainly the last one I played.
      This Sega vs. Nintendo stuff brings me back to 4th grade, when the SNES came out and all the kids argued about which system was better. Back in those days, a statement like “While Nintendo is capable of some duds, their best games are much better than Sega’s best” would have elicited hundreds of comments (well, assuming there had been blogs back then of course).

      For a second there, I thought you meant this arguement takes you back to 4th grade, maturity wise. That I could have agreed with.

    9. 2-D says:

      The best Sonic game was made by Nintendo (Super Smash Bros. Brawl)…

      Calling Brawl a Sonic game is like calling it a LoZ game. I remember when Sonic was “the sh*t” not just, “sh*t”.

    10. M. Kava says:

      I grew up with Sonic and Mario.. I was fortunate to have the SNES and then later the Genesis.. two of my favorite consoles. The Sonic of yesteryear is something I do terribly miss.. I do wonder where my friend has gone. (Is the type that buys the comics and cartoon shows.. even though the comics are something that has mainly slipped out of his grasp.. sadly)

      I honestly want to see a great Sonic game again. I don’t want to have to crack out my Genesis or Dreamcast just to play some good Sonic.. I’d like to do it on any of the current gen consoles too… 🙁

      Ray, that vow is a good one.. and I’m very happy you’ve done that. No mo’ mediocre Sonic titles!

    11. 2-D says:

      Hopefully Bioware will do a better job with the Blue Blur then Sega.

      Oh, and the worst Mario game ever was made by Russians.

    12. dr. game says:

      when sega stoped makeing hardwere thay stared off making good games just like thay useed to but then thay saw how much money thay cold make off porly made games that kids will love just like other 3rd partys I know of thay’ve gone to the dark side will thay ever come bak!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    13. D3vin says:

      Sega does suck now-a-days because of one simple reason, they don’t have any rivals. Sonic was created to be better than Mario, the Genesis was made to be better than the Nes, and the Commercials they had for their products said than they were crazy and off the edge with coolness compared to their competitor, Sure you can get Sega with any console now, but they have no drive to excel. Only the drive to crush the dreams that were established with the Dreamcast (no pun intended) saying that they can still do it after the failure of the Saturn.

      If you did a similar thing with the 16-bit console war I’d think it would be tied…

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