The Sega Genesis 32X: Calamity of a Console or Misunderstood Trailblazer?

Make no mistake about it, the 32X was a failure.

It wasn’t just a failure of a console, but it was a failure of a company. Sega’s leadership at the time put being first to market ahead of quality. It can be argued that this mistake is why Sega is no longer in the console making business. The 32X came out one month ahead of the Sony PlayStation and only a few months before the Sega Saturn. How could the company have thought that this late game add-on to a 5 year old system (the Sega Genesis) would be any success at all? Why would any developers waste time and money to keep alive an old relic cartridge based system when the future was literally already at their fingertips in the form of 32 bit disc based consoles? And would any consumer really pay 160 dollars for one?

The system managed to pump out 40 games in its short two year life span.┬áIn fact, a majority of the system’s games were ports. Many games were already released on the Sega Genesis and the Sega CD, but done up with 32 bit graphics and more colors for the 32X. A prime example of double dipping if you ask me, milking the consumers for more money on games they already own. A few of these games were actually arcade ports of rather old games, Space Harrier came to arcade in 1985 and After Burner, 1987. How could a system from the mid 90’s survive on games from the mid 80’s? Well, it couldn’t.

Putting marketing and development failures aside, now over twenty years later, after the dust has settled and time has spoken, I ask the question, is this little pill of nostalgia worth the price of admission? I bought one of these bad boys a while back off Ebay for twenty bucks and have been slowly growing a modest collection of games. A lot of the games are available for under thirty dollars a pop, many for less than 10. Now that I have one, let’s see if we can have some fun with it. Won’t you join me as I put the 32X to the test and try out as many games as I can get my hands on. Maybe we can rewrite history, or at least amend it and give this fellow the proper dignity a true retro console deserves. But seriously though, 250 bucks for Spiderman Web of Fire?! Are you kidding me guys?

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