DF Retro: we play every single Sega 32X game

It's difficult to pinpoint the exact moment that things started to go wrong for Sega, but the late 1994 release of its 32X kicked off a timeline of disaster that would eventually result in its withdrawal from the console hardware market. A $149 mushroom-shaped add-on, the 32X crashed and burned within just one year. But just how capable was the hardware, how did it work and how well did its games stack up against the competition? Welcome to John Linneman's most ambitious DF Retro project yet - analysis of every single 32X game ever made, along with platform comparisons for multi-format entries. It's a light-hearted, joyous celebration of one of gaming's worst mistakes.

And this time it's personal. As editor of the UK's official Sega Magazine, I was there and watched much of this unfold first-hand. I first learned about the 32X earlier in 1994 on visiting Sega Europe and meeting their top marketing people for an off-the-record, informal meeting. I remember this vividly - I was shown a working prototype of the Sega Nomad well over a year before its release by a very enthusiastic director who loved the company and its products. On an excitement level, the upcoming Saturn was a clear 10/10, but there was something else, something different in the pipeline. He pegged it comparatively as an 8/10. And that was the 32X. There aren't review scores at Eurogamer anymore, but if the Saturn was a strong 'Recommended', the 32X was a clear 'Avoid'.

But even at this point, with talk of the PlayStation and its stunning tech demos already circulating the industry, Sega still seemed like an unstoppable console juggernaut. And in that meeting, looking at a fully working portable Mega Drive, Sega could still demonstrate a product at the cutting edge. I guess comparatively, it's a bit like Microsoft or Sony announcing Xbox One or PlayStation 4, then nonchalantly pulling out a working PS3 or Xbox 360 handheld for you to look at.

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