In the 90’s Sega was the shit. It was a period in time where video games had really started to penetrate the public consciousness like it never had before. It could be that games were just getting better and catering to a wider audience. It could be all the TV shows and movies based off video games that were coming out. Or it could be the fat stacks of cash game companies were giving film and TV production companies to have Will Smith playing a Sega Genesis on TV.
I’m gonna guess it’s the latter.
But much like comics after Tim Burton’s Batman came out, people were starting to see video games as their own viable form of media rather than an electronic babysitter. As much as TV or movies, videogames were just becoming another part of life. As a side effect of this games were referenced in TV, film, music and books more and more. That’s why this week’s 10 Things That Aren’t Sonic is about Sega references in TV and Film.
10. Wayne’s World
WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT!
NEEER NEEER NEEER NEEER!
Couldn’t help myself, sorry.
In Wayne’s World, Wayne and Garth produce a public access TV show out of Wayne’s Mom’s basement. Realizing how popular the show has become, TV exec Benjamin Kane (Rob Lowe) offers to buy the show with an ulterior motive to make it more commercial. They’re big sponsor is Noah’s Arcade owned by Noah Vanderhoff. They mention some games in the film but most prominently seen is Sonic 2 during the commercial for Noah’s Arcade. The movie even had a couple video game adaptations on the NES and SNES that were reviewed in a segment by the Angry Videogame Nerd.
9. South Park
I think this is the only one on the list that’s not a direct reference to the Genesis but rather to my favorite console of all time, the Dreamcast.
In the season 4 episode of South Park ‘The Tooth Fairy Tats’ Cartman’s scheme of the week is to pose as the Tooth Fairy to steal their friend’s teeth and sell them to the real Tooth Fairy. If the plan pays off they can get a SEGA DREAMCAST!
I’m sure it’s some jab at the consoles advertising campaign or the fact that not many children wanted or got a Dreamcast but I can’t help thinking that’s an awesome reason to steal from children. I’m also gonna be saying SEGA DREAMCAST like that from now on. And I say it a lot.
8. Billy Madison
Sega’s ad campaigns weren’t the only thing we look back on and think “I thought THAT was COOL?”
Remember when Adam Sandler was one of the biggest comedians in the country?
It’s only natural that they two come together in this exchange from the film some people consider to be Sandler’s ‘The Jerk’, Billy Madison.
Kid: Mortal Kombat, on Sega Genesis, is the best video game ever.
Billy Madison: I disagree, it’s a very good game, but I think Donkey Kong is the best game ever.
Kid: Donkey Kong sucks.
Billy Madison: You know something? YOU SUCK!
I’m pretty sure he means the original Donkey Kong (‘cause he’s old, see) unless he means Donkey Kong Country for the SNES. In that case the kid’s right. That game fucking sucks.
7. Megas XLR
Megas XLR was a show that knew its audience. It was never afraid to reference some of the most obscure nerd stuff especially regarding anime and video games. In one episode Coop, Jaime and Kiva go to a Thanksgiving day parade. The parade featured giant balloons resembling characters like the Mario Bros and a familiar hedgehog, now some kind of pig… thing.
In another episode Coop buys a mysterious video game cartridge he’s never seen before. It looked like an Atari 2600 cart but apparently didn’t fit in any of Coop’s video game system including a PS2, NES and a Sega Genesis:
6. Drew Carrey’s book
Yeah, Drew Carrey wrote a book. In one passage from Dirty Jokes and Beer: Stories of the Unrefined, Drew tells a story about buying a new entertainment center he bought with a new TV, sound system, and Sega Genesis. The Genesis sapped his life with games that were harder than he’d ever encountered on the NES. I guess no one ever told him the Genesis did what Ninten…didn’t.
Here’s part of the passage:
5. Jerry Maguire
Man what the HELL happened to Cameron Crowe? He was supposed to be the next John Hughes! Crowe wrote and directed one of the best teen romance movies ever, made the fifth entry on our list that was nominated for a billion Oscars, then he did one of the GREATEST movies EVER and disappears after two very polarizing films that were 4 years apart. I guess he’s making a documentary about Pearl Jam which is fine. Come back to narrative film, Mr Crowe.
Anyway the quote in Jerry Maguire goes like this:
“I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a Sega game *featuring you*, while singing your own song in a new commercial, *starring you*, broadcast during the Superbowl, in a game that you are winning, and I will not *sleep* until that happens. I’ll give you fifteen minutes to call me back.”
EA famously supported the Sega Genesis (before completely abandoning the Saturn and Dreamcast), which was one of the major contributing factors to it being as successful as it became in America. With games like Madden, sports and athletes started to become very connected with video games in the public eye.
4. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
I saw The Lost World: Jurassic Park in theaters when I was a kid (always bugs me that the series name is the subtitle in that movie). Being the huge Sega dork that I am the part that stuck with me even more than the T Rex attacking the city all this time was when Jeff Goldblum is arguing with his daughter at the beginning of the film.
Kelly Malcolm: She doesn’t even have Sega. She’s such a troglodyte.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Cruel, but good word use.
And this was in 1997. Was she talking about the Sega Saturn?
Jurassic Park 2 is a perfectly serviceable film. I’ve always quite enjoyed it. No Dr. Grant but we get plenty of Jeff Goldblum Jeff Goldbluming around. Still, though, I’d rather play the Jurassic Park Genesis game.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned for Sega.”
Wise words, Brodie Bruce.
In the film, Brodie’s girlfriend is angry with him because instead of discuss their relationship, he’d rather play NHL All-Star Hockey for the Sega Saturn. Word of this gets around after she dumps him leading to him getting the nickname ‘Sega boy.’
In another of Kevin Smith’s films, Jason Lee plays a different character (well the NAME is different) Banky Edwards who is also seen playing a similar game on the Sega Genesis.
2. The Simpsons
BUY ME BONESTORM OR GO TO HELL!
The Season 7 episode of The Simpsons ‘Marge Be Not Proud’ is lousy with Sega Genesis references from the EXTREEEEME marketing to actually featuring a hyper, fast talking Sonic look-alike.
And the whole idea of Bonestorm is an obvious nod to the Mortal Kombat controversy.
Also this happened:
I recently watched this movie for the first time and HOO-BOY is it actually as bad as everyone says.
This movie is one big Sega reference. It shouldn’t even count as an adaptation.
Throughout the film Uwe Boll cuts to ACTUAL shots of the video game as transitions. Now, the Dreamcast was a powerful system for its time but the graphics stand out a LITTLE BIT next to live action footage. Even in a Uwe Boll film. It’s even got the HUD there with the ammo and health displayed right on the screen. This happens THIRTY-TWO times in the film. And TWENTY-SIX of them happen withing 10 minutes of each other. And I thought Lucas’s Star Wars wipes were corny.
And of course the film opens with a Sega rave, as you saw in the header image for this article.
I sat through this whole movie and I want to share my pain. I’m thinking of doing a commentary of it with the Sega Addicts crew. Does that sound like something you guys would wanna see? Tell me in the comments or in the thread in our forum.