Games that would be better if Sega had made them

As a guy who doesn‘t have a Switch, I go over to a friend of mine’s every weekend to play various Switch-only games that I‘ll never own. This weekend I wanted to try Super Mario Bros. 35, and ended up expending over eight hours on it. When Tetris 99 came out, it seemed like an amusing gimmicky idea, but the idea of competitive puzzle games where players send garbage blocks at each is over 30 years old at this point, so there was no real reason it wouldn’t work with 99 players. Adding a competitive garbage mechanic to Mario, however, is a much weirder idea. Playing the game, I was impressed with how much potential the idea actually has.

Essentially, the strategy of the game comes from picking what levels you go to and what enemies you kill. Every time you kill an enemy it is sent to other players. So if you kill dangerous enemies, like Lakitus or Hammer Bros., then whoever you're targeting will have to deal with them as well, often in places that they wouldn't be expected, making them trickier to maneuver around.

However, the two issues with this are (1) the original Super Mario Bros. doesn't offer that much room for choices in what paths you take, and (2) the levels were all meticulously designed in the original game to have a certain amount of enemies, so once there are a crazy amount of enemies on the map, it's often impossible to get through some situations without power-ups. Therefore the game lets you buy power-ups with coins at any time. This means that as long as you have coins, if you are decent at Mario then you'll stay alive, taking away a lot of the tension of the game. Pretty much every match ends up coming down to time (the clock turns red and starts ticking faster after awhile).

So, if you ask me, the game needs a complete redesign -- preferably so that it has nothing to do with Mario. This got me thinking of what other forms the game could take.

I quickly realized how Sega-ish the whole idea of a 35-player competitive-garbage-tossing 2D platformer is. It feels like something that could have been on the Dreamcast (probably with not quite so many players -- which wouldn't make THAT big of a difference). I am also completely certain that if Sega made this, they would actually do it right and design a whole game around this weird multiplayer mechanic. I feel like they wouldn't even try to work one of their established franchises into it. They'd probably design a whole world and cast of characters that appear only in this game, never again to star in anything else.

I feel like there are certain qualities of Sega, or at least 90s Sega -- like their willingness to spend big money on bizarre ideas and weird technology, and their deep understanding of arcadey action (compared to Nintendo) -- that make them particularly adept at making certain kinds of games. Super Mario Bros. 35, to me, definitely feels like a game Sega should have made. With how distinctive yet encompassing Sega's general game design aesthetic is, there must be a lot of other games that feel like they should have been made by Sega. Can you think of any?

First two things that come to mind are Crossy Road, and RacketNX.

RNX is a VR racquetball game that is lit as hell, but not quite Cosmic Smash.

a SEGA Crossy road would be bliss

I‘m not sure I’m enough of a Sega Expert to answer this question, but the first thing I thought of was The Wonderful 101, because it‘s colourful, frenetic, and has a cool, silly, over-the-top premise. The only problem is, it’s not exactly a joy to play.

Then I realized that maybe I'm just describing the Sega aesthetic in a nutshell, so lol.

If not, though, I feel like a bit of the ol' Sega magic could nudge it over the line into good game territory.

as someone who loves namco fighting games: soulcalibur would be a lot more appealing to me personally if the virtua fighter team was making it (and I already like SoulCalibur).

Does sega really have that much of a style? I understand there is a graphical style associated to them, especially from the dreamcast and there marketing graphics, but as someone who‘s first console was a ps2 I’ve never seen much consistenty in gameplay between the games they have developed. Other than they're a bit janky with uncomplete ideas.

@beets#7496 See, that‘s one of the things I’m trying to figure out in making this thread. I‘m definitely not a Sega expert either, but I definitely feel like there’s something special about how Sega approaches games. I want to see what others think a Sega game is.

I guess I'd compare Sega to Nintendo. Sega and Nintendo are the two companies I most associate with going all out on everything they make, but it's two very different kinds of all-outness. Nintendo has more of an iterative approach where, above all, their goal is that everything feels perfect. They make the same games over and over, each time recreating similar feelings using different approaches. I feel like Sega is more about doing as much as they can with limited resources. This can either take the form of filling their games with stuff, or engaging in masterful, sometimes super specific, technical feats. Like you said, some of it turns out incomplete or janky. I think that jankiness is a big part of what is endearing about Sega?

Of course this doesn't describe every Nintendo game or every Sega game -- I'm more describing (what I imagine as) the platonic ideals of their respective game-design approaches.

But yeah, gameplay-wise Sega is all over the place.

Side note: I won‘t do it (right now), but I am very tempted to make a thread called "Games that would be better if Sega didn’t make them" because that would also be a fun discussion, I bet.

@whatsarobot#7504 Yeah! I agree

I want to give this a proper go tomorrow (aside from my obvious joke answer of “everything”), but I want to talk about what I think of as the big differences between the Nintendo and Sega design ethos.


  • - privileges the idea over polish
  • - goes for snappiness over realism
  • - trusts the player to figure it out
  • - innovates widely and sporadically
  • - games with an edge
  • - designs hit and miss hardware entirely around ideas
  • - lets its devs try a lot of different and various things
  • Nintendo:

  • - privileges polish over the idea
  • - goes for fluidity over realism
  • - does not trust the player to figure it out and will tell them so
  • - innovates specifically and precisely
  • - games with a softness
  • - designs innovative hardware and tries to support it with ideas
  • - only lets devs innovate within company-established frameworks or guidelines
  • The last point may be contentious but that's what I think!!

    I just played through Tekken Tag 2 and while it is somewhat bananas. I really wish it was Fighting Vipers bananas. Also there would be less earning coins to buy cosmetics if it were old Sega.

    Anyways my joke answer is Streets of Rage 4 because it shocks me that Sega couldn’t figure out to make a game like that in the course of 25 years.

    I would say that Jet Set Radio is the most Sega of Sega games in that explodes you eyes, ears, and imagination; but barely hangs together in the hands. I also feel like original Xbox is one of the few times their vision aligned with the technology to allow for perfect execution outside of the arcade.

    shenmue 3

    technically sega did actually make this, but I was thinking a few days ago that I wish sonic r had been made by am2. it’s an extremely cool game with a perfect soundtrack but visually it doesn’t totally nail the sega / sonic look, I think the daytona team could have made something amazing with that idea.

    Okay, here are some games:

    Gravity Rush. Neat idea, but the execution and especially story lets it down for me. I also think they would've gone with different character designs which would've helped me a fair bit.

    Knack/Blinx/Billy Hatcher/Rodea. This is cheating but you see where I'm going with it.

    Okami. Sega would've put some gameplay juice in there.

    Bonk 3. Bonk went off the rails for me after the 2nd one - if Sega made the third and also the SNES ones it'd be in better hands.

    Jet moto!! A series with a lot of potential but tried to go for a "hard" vibe with American comic art and guitars and stuff. An am2 jet moto would be fantastic.

    I‘m not quite sure what it would be like, but the first interesting one I thought of was the Last Guardian. If they kept the atmosphere but made it a little more game-y, maybe when Trico’s “behavior” got stuck in obvious scripting loops it wouldn't have broken immersion so much. I think that game could have gone some weirder places, too…


    @exodus#7506 privileges the idea over polish

    Just as an update on this, I was reading this [interview from shmuplations]( where Yuji Naka literally says:


    Hmmm…… well, at Sega, as soon as we finished a game, it was kind of like “Alright, we’re done! Now let’s release it!” We would only spend a scant few weeks on balancing and fine-tuning. Later I looked back on it and really wished we had spent more time on that. Had we been more careful and thoughtful there, we might have made better games, I think. I get the feeling your approach to that, Miyamoto, was different.

    So there you go. It's always nice seeing the devs are completely self-aware. Miyamoto even brings up Namco in his response to this!

    You stole mine. I didn't have a PS1 when Jet Moto was current, but the the commercials made it look SOOOOOOoooooOOOoooOOO cool. Many years later it was clear it aged really poorly in comparison to, say, Wave Race (or the SEGA Model 2 Wave Runner game)