Dear Sega: The Disappointment of a Non-Response and a Farewell from Michael Westgarth

Original Sega Logo

A month ago Sega Addicts published a feature article in which I discussed the links between Sega, Nintendo, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, and the anti-LGBT law that was recently passed by the Russian government:

Sonic, Sochi and Russia’s anti-gay crisis – Why Sega fans should care

Several months before its publication – and the month after it – I repeatedly tried to open a line of discussion on the topic of my article with anyone at Nintendo or Sega that would listen. But despite my best efforts – which included openly approaching key members of Sega’s consumer-facing staff via Twitter – I have yet to have gained a single response.

It’s an anti-climatic ending to what I had hoped to be an ongoing story, but for those who wish to hear my final thoughts on the matter, please read on.

Those who have become accustomed to my presence amongst these hallowed Sega Addicts halls will know that I’ve been a follower of Sega for longer than I can remember – and that’s no exaggeration. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of the first time I saw Sonic 2 at my uncle’s house. I was no older than four years old and was accompanied by who was then my only brother, William.

I had a Sega Mega Drive for a long, long time before moving onto a combination of the GameCube and PC, and even then my first one of my first games for said GameCube was Sonic Adventure 2 Battle.

For years and years I’d consumed Sega-related videogames from the controversial brawls of Mortal Kombat, to never ending battles of Atomic Runner, to the satisfying puzzles of Puggsy. My Sega fanaticism even transcend that of the digital and into the physical. I’d region modded my Mega Drive, purchased a stash of Japanese Mega Drive games and even found my personal holy grail: Alien Soldier. I thought I’d done it all.

I thought I knew it all.

Michael Westgarth Sega Addicts Twitter

I joined Sega Addicts in Feb 2012 as a hobby – nothing more. I wanted to revel in my appreciation of Sega with other like-minded Sega lovers. But the more I wrote, the more I learnt, and the clearer the picture of Sega’s role in the videogame industry became. As such, the year and a half I’ve spent with Sega Addicts has seen me drop my mental image of an innovative, fearless and trendsetting Sega and replaced it with something far less appealing.

The Sega I know now is the Sega that delayed Anarchy Reigns for six months for no discernible reason. It’s the Sega that allowed Aliens: Colonial Marines to exist, duping its customers into pre-ordering a game based off unrepresentative gameplay footage. It’s the Sega that released a range of lacklustre HD ports of tired, outdated “classics” – a shameless cash grab. And it’s the Sega continues to keep its increasingly apathetic fan base in the dark regarding the Western release of Phantasy Star Online 2.

The equal rights of LGBT folk around the world is a cause I hold incredibly close to my heart, as do many Sega fans, videogames and human beings in general. As such, Sega’s unwillingness to even acknowledge the article I wrote is more than disappointing; it’s genuinely heart-breaking.

Of course, Sega had no part in Russia’s recently passed law which makes illegal any public recognition of “non-traditional” sexual orientations i.e. anything that isn’t heterosexualism. But after witnessing Sega screw its customers over time and again with its aforementioned blunders, I simply can’t shake the feeling that Sega value revenue over the satisfaction of its customers as well as the basic freedoms of human beings. As such, it has become increasingly difficult for me to find the passion required to help promote Sega’s activities on a daily basis – as is required of the Sega Addicts news editor.

I’ve sobered up from my Sega addiction.

Michael Westgarth Sega Sammy

I’ve done some amazing things during my time with Sega Addicts – I’ve laughed myself silly during Kids Table podcasts, cobbled together a podcast of my own, travelled across Europe to gaming expos, interviewed passionate homebrew developers and published several news reports that I remain proud of to this day.

The Sega Addicts staff were and continue to be the funniest, friendliest bunch of guys you could ever meet, and the site’s devoted reader base are just that – devoted beyond belief. At the risk of becoming overly soppy – working with Sega Addicts has helped me develop my writing skills, my personality and my confidence and has seen me through some particularly rough personal issues.

It’s difficult to admit that the company I once held in such high regard – the company that undoubtedly shaped my childhood – now exists in name only. But that is the conclusion I have come to, and as such, my time with Sega Addicts has come to an end.

Cheers.

About the author

Michael Westgarth

Michael Westgarth is a freelance writer and geneticist for hire who has been writing about video games since 2011. Michael enjoys saving the world and building creeper-proof, vertical sheep farms. Follow him on Twitter @MegaWestgarth, Tumblr and Google+.
  • Scott Morrison

    It’s sad to see you go, Michael. You kept the news together and made a significant impact on the site itself as News Editor, and every other part you had a hand in. Best of luck on your journalistic endeavors, sir! Don’t be a stranger to the forums!

    • Thanks Scott. I’ll still be around on the forums as a friendly face. It’s just that, well, like I said in the article, it’s so much harder to get passionate about Sega’s activities than it was even a year ago. The world is a big place, and I’ve got so much to bitch and moan about.

  • Anthony Pershkin

    I understand your reasons, but it’s stil really sad to see you go. Thanks for helping me become a better writer here at Sega Addicts and good luck.

    • Hey, it’s no problem — although I’m reluctant to say that I helped you become a better writer — you did that yourself!

  • Roland Hatfield

    Thanks for everything you’ve done for us, brotha. I have to say I agree with a lot of what you said, too, honestly. It’s a damn shame what things have turned into in less than a year for this company.

  • Leo

    SEGA made Dreamcast and had a great start as third-party publisher. It was Sammy who destroyed them.

    SEGA didn’t want to merge but Sammy force them by acquiring 22% from CSK thus claiming Satomi as the new CEO.

    That’s why developers and executives quit. SEGA as you know today is just a brand name of Sammy.

    Things won’t improve until the board of directors realizes that they don’t know a sh#t about videogames industry.

    • The board of directors know a lot about the videogame industry, but only from the perspective of pie charts and graphs. They don’t know who their customers are or what they want. They just see what works in other sections of the industry and attempt to copy their winning formula. Read: stagnation.

      Thanks for the comment. Although I must say that I’m more of a Mega Drive man. The Dreamcast never really did all that much for me.

  • Damn it, that sucks Sir Westgarth =/ I understand your feelings, and share them obviously. I think most Sega fans over the age of 20 do in fact. I had hopes you’d be one of the new podcasters for the site with Josh and John leaving. I’m sure we’re still going to be hearing much from you one way or another.

    • It’s something that’s been on my mind for months and months now. I love Sega Addicts, I just don’t love Sega anymore. I don’t know how both the regular podcasts ran for as long as they did to be honest. I certainly don’t feel like I have 150 episodes worth of Sega comment in me!

      But yeah, you know where to find me and you know where my blog is. There’s plenty of content on the way, I’ll just be talking about different things that aren’t how much I hate Aliens: Colonial Marines ^_^

      :'(

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