SegaDoes Podcast Episode 16: Alex Kidd in Miracle World

Alex Kidd in Miracle World may not have moved systems like Sega wanted it to, but the game was certainly influential in many ways.

Hence, our first ever single-game podcast devoted specifically to Alex Kidd. I imagine we’ll be doing a lot more of these single-game ‘casts as time goes on, so as Johnny Cage might say, prepare yourself.

Listen/download here.

And hey, Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you all have an awesome, restful holiday with family and friends.

 

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8 thoughts on “SegaDoes Podcast Episode 16: Alex Kidd in Miracle World

  1. I don’t know if I agree with Sega not pushing Alex Kidd. I mean I don’t know about the UK but they did have commercials highlighting the game in the US. This game was a 1987 release here so it was a 2nd wave release but still early in the systems life. The fact they chose to later include it as a pack in shows they tried to position the game as something good. Also I especially remember talking with friends about this game. Because it was not just straight forward, Id go to school and my friends and me would share our progress. Like finding about how you could destroy the octopus and go in his pot. Or how to figure out the code for the last level. Or how to reliably win at the rock paper scissors. There were lots of secrets to discuss. Also as far as being designed in a board room I disagree. Now I don’t believe its the greatest game obviously but it was a very creative game. It tried a lot of new things and it presented a journey across a land that was portrayed by its variety of stages that made it feel like you were visiting all the places on the map. Like you said it had a lot of variety. And tried lots of things. And I think there were at least two bosses that were not Rock Paper Scissors. I think this game was very creative and unique. Now of course it doesn’t control and play like SMB. And of course SMB is a better game. But its not because it was designed in a board room. If anything later games felt like they were trying to shoehorn Alex Kidd into them because he was popular. He definitely was a major game on the system that was marketed as a mascot, at least in the US. Alex Kidd was not popular because the SMS was not popular. If it had more than 3-5 percent of the market it would be more well known. But every SMS owner was likely to have played Alex Kidd. If you want a game more like SMB, The lost stars coming up next in the series is that. It plays fast and quick with the platforming. And has zero adventure elements. Its not as original as the first game or as good as SMB, but its a solid entry in the series. Probably my second favorite Alex Kidd. Although some people I’ve known have called it their favorite.

    Also I disagree about Sega and IP. I actually admire Sega for always coming out with new IP. If you think about it, the only series they really kept a continuity with was Sonic and Shinobi and a few others. Mostly Sega was always releasing new ideas. The Mega Drive had all kinds of creative different games that they never came back too. As did the Saturn and Dreamcast. I don’t think of that as a negative but as a positive. Nintendo makes great games but you do have to admit they are kind of leaning heavy on the same IP’s from the 80’s. They did briefly revisit Alex Kidd on the Dreamcast game Segagaga where you had to make games for Sega where he had an appearance and comically lamented his long forgotten and underused status. (Japan only)

    And since you bought up Sonic, I know its way early to discuss it but Sonic 3 and Knuckles is my favorite Sonic ever. It has so much content. I love Super Mario World too but I wouldn’t say that game has too much content. The fact that it had saves made all that content great as you wouldn’t have to start over every time. It really was the ultimate version of Sonic, at least for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe “board room” was a bit of a dismissive comment, but the creator Kotaru Hayashida did say that Sega came to his team and wanted a game that would sell as well as Mario.

      http://shmuplations.com/alexkidd/

      There’s a lot of pressure behind statements like that, pressure to get things right – which leads to people sitting around and talking a lot about what could work. I suppose one could say the same about Sonic (or any video game, really), but games that are made as a result of another game’s success – in this case, SMB – sometimes feel like shallow imitations. Alex Kidd doesn’t, but the game is a clear response to Mario. It plays like Sega trying out a bunch of different things because they’re not sure what’s going to work.

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  2. Also have either of you gotten the Sega Mega Drive Collected Works book yet? It is one of the best game books Ive ever purchased. (Disclaimer my name is in the book as a backer.) For what you are doing I would highly recommend it. It has history, interviews, design documents and art both conceptual and pixel for the Genesis. It is the most high quality tribute to any game system I have ever seen. Its more like a coffee table book than something you would read but it is amazing. Also has lots of new insights and info that has never been seen before. I rarely say this about much, but just go buy it. Its that good.

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      • Oh man I’m slowly working my way through and it has some great new interviews and history. I’m reading the interviews now. I believe all of them are all new interviews. But it’s not just interviews and history. It’s a hard to describe book. Everywhere you look is art and design documents, characters along with the writing, and the pages are super high quality stuff. For me it’s something im just savor ing in multiple sittings. I’M goin to post some impression on Twitter when I’m done. But it is wholly a book unlike any other games book I’ve read celebrating the Genesis with the best design and layout I’ve ever seen in this type of book.

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      • Also I’m in the middle of the Yuji Naka interview, had some great stuff on Girls Garden. Basically the game came about as a practice exercise to create a game to appeal to girls internally among Sega programmers. The programmers liked and played the game so much it was decided to flesh it out into a full game. So they spent a few months polishing the game to release it. I mean it’s an SG-1000 game so it it’s simple but apparently the original concept game was really simple and Yuji Naka didn’t like it very much. But was happy with the result after expanding the gameplay. All kinds of great interviews in this book so far. Some great history on the origins of Altered Beast and Golden Axe and many other games. Apparently the arcade Altered Beast originally had a much more complex Attack system designed around targeting enemy’s weak points and having many more complex moves and animations. All the graphics and gameplay were done. But at the last second it was decided the game was more fun with a simplified gameplay and all that work was discarded even though it was completed.

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  3. The problem with the Master System is that Sega was spread far too thin, and really just slapping things against a wall and hoping that something sticked. Sure, Nintendo did a lot of dirty things in Japan and the US, but they concentrated on a fairly modest selection of ports and simple sports/board games on the Famicom over the course of a year (16 titles, to be exact) before the licensees showed up, and then they released games in twos (which just happened to equate to the Yokoi and Miyamoto-led development teams for the most part) until about the time the NES came out in the US (by which point Nintendo was working on releasing the Disk System in Japan, and the third party developers were releasing titles like mad). Alex Kidd roughly marks the year mark for the Mark III in Japan, and Sega has released 20 games (possibly more), with a few sports games, a few arcade ports, a licensed title (Fist of the North Star)…….and a bunch of random space fillers. And with no third party support in the near future. Seriously, you can tell exactly why the Mark III failed in Japan even at this early juncture. With the software available to them, I’m not sure that Sega of America would have been able to compete with Nintendo even with full resources put towards selling the system and games.

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    • Part of the problem is really simple. In the 80’s people were unlikely to want to purchase a new system after purchasing one already. The NES had already been chosen by consumers in Japan. The MK3 had really no chance coming in 3 years later, you can’t buy a new console if your existing base has already bought one. The Famicom was going strong with games and would only get stronger. I don’t even believe it’s possible to just break in to a cycle like that even if your tech is marginally better. In the US Sega had a better chance, but the same thing happened really. At least both systems were released at a similar time (Nintendo had a small head start.) but Nintendo came in blazing with 1st and 3 rd party games and the SMS had essentially zero. When the NES was running its course and truly more powerful systems started coming out,monly then did people start to upgrade. In Japan it was NEC with its PC Engine that sold a lot. It had a heads up of a year or so on the Mega Drive. People were ready to upgrade and that’s were Japan went. And Probrably why the Mega Drive again had a hard time breaking into the market. While in the US the Genesis was the first real viable powerful system for people to upgrade from the NES. It just had better games and capabilities worth upgrading for than the TG-16 which now had to compete head on. Plus Sega finally had a lot of 3rd parties on board. I think success sometimes depends on timing. Releasing your system at an opportune time when people are ready and willing to upgrade and having a large enough leap over the current thrown holder to do so. It also why if Nintendo were to release an upgrade system say next year and abandon the Wii U it wouldn’t work. Most consumers will have already chosen a system this gen and would be unwilling to buy another console. They just have to ride it out. Kind of like how Sega did with the SMS. Or Nintendo did with the GC. Had NEC released th TG-16 a year earlier in the US I think it still would have have failed because in the US the NES owners would not be willing to upgrade so soon, having only been out for a few years. Had the Mega Drive somehow been released at the same time as the PC engine in Japan they might have taken NEC success. Had Nintendo not sat on the Super Famicom and released it head to head with the Mega Drive and TG-16 in the US, they might have seen another situation like the NES and SMS in the US. Timing is everything.

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