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Thread: Describe the video game market for the Christmas season of 1992

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    Default Describe the video game market for the Christmas season of 1992

    This is something that always fascinated me - I was born on Christmas Day 1992, and I've always been interested in the video game market around that time - what was selling? What would your typical Electronics Boutique / Toys R' Us / Lechmere / Wal-Mart game section look like? What were the market shares for each system and games? What would YOU have stocked if you were in charge of Toys R' Us' video game section then?

    From what I've been able to gather, Sega Genesis led that holiday season, and Sega as a whole was the leading company in the console race. By this time, the Genesis had at least a couple hundred games out and Sonic 2 was the must-have game that holiday season. Nintendo was fractured between the NES and SNES, the SNES was building up momentum but the game library wasn't huge yet and the NES was still getting a supply of new games with many SNES games getting a downgraded NES port. Sega didn't have this problem with the Master System being all but dead, though I'm sure used systems and games were still easy to find in stores. The TurboGrafx-16 was beginning to die as its technical specs were underpowered and its game library lackluster next to the Genesis and (increasingly) the SNES. The Neo Geo was there if you had a lot of money, but I don't think a whole lot of stores carried it.

    For portables, Nintendo with the Game Boy dominated. The Game Gear was there if you wanted better graphics and sound and color. The Atari Lynx was dying.

    I've actually heard that video game stores had the largest supply of NES games then, they probably weren't selling many NES systems but probably still a good number of games.

    If I were stocking a video game store for that Christmas, first off I'd have a "mainstream" section and a "retro" section, though this being 1992 the retro section would be much smaller than the mainstream section and would be all pre-Crash stuff. As for the "mainstream" section, let's say I had 100 shelves of equal size to work with for console games, 25 for portable games, and space for systems and peripherals, etc as well. I'd probably give 35 shelves to Genesis, 23 to SNES, 7 to TurboGrafx, 30 for NES, and 5 for "other" (Neo Geo, CD-i, Sega CD, any leftover Master System, Atari 7800, Atari XEGS). Portable - 15 for Game Boy, 5 for Game Gear, 5 for everything else.
    Real collectors drive Hondas, Toyotas, Chevys, Fords, etc... not Rolls Royces.

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    Born in 89 so probably not much help. The first games I thought of were Sonic 2 and Streets of Rage 2. I believe Mario Kart was released around that time as well. Zelda 3 was released April that year... I feel like the Sega CD came out in late 92 as well.
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    There's always the old Sears Wish Book (5:40 mark)....



    That was full on Sega vs. Nintendo at most retail stores. Commodore, Atari, they probably got some coverage for computers but that was it. However, there were a ton of Genesis, SNES, and NES games for sale, plus Gameboy and Game Gear. Lynx was still going as well. I got a Genesis in summer 1991, but by Christmas 1992 I was already kind of meh on it. Yes the EA and Sonic games were awesome, but beyond that I found it lacking. Rather than asking for new games that Christmas, I asked for the SNES and Mario Kart, which was an instant hit.
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    I found this thread that's nearly old enough to drive now, that shows the 1992 EGM Video Game Buyer's Guide results.

    https://forum.digitpress.com/forum/s...tresting-stuff!

    I think this was several months before Christmas 1992, they ranked the Genesis the highest at a 9 out of 10, SNES was 8 out of 10, TG-16 was 6 out of 10, NES was 5.5 out of 10, surprisingly not much better than the Master System. Not surprising given that the Genesis had a much larger game library at that point. SNES had some of its classics out by then like Super Mario World, Zelda: LOTP, and Super Mario Kart out but its best years were ahead of it. I've said many times that the Genesis was the better console through 1993, the SNES overtook it in '94 and later.
    Real collectors drive Hondas, Toyotas, Chevys, Fords, etc... not Rolls Royces.

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    Most of my knowledge of what the atmosphere of Christmas 1992 was like game-wise comes from reading the 1992 and 1993 issues of Nintendo Power in recent years, though that obviously doesn't give me much insight beyond Nintendo. In terms of living through Christmas 1992, that was when I was saving up to get myself a SNES. I'm pretty sure my brother had already sold off his NES and games at that point, so having no systems of my own, video games were out of my life at that point, and a new game system was too extravagant of a gift to ask for. I finally got a SNES in '93 after Super Mario All-Stars had come out.

    Reading those old Nintendo Power issues, I definitely get the sense that Nintendo was hurting back then and on the defensive. While there were some good games, I feel like '92 and '93 were a bit of a lull for the SNES. Too many of the games then were licensed shovelware compared to the boom of great games near launch and the resurgence of the SNES starting in '94. Nintendo Power had a "Sports Scene" section where they came off as really desperate to "prove" that the Genesis wasn't the better system for fans of sports games.

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    What kills me is thinking about all the various stores I could go buy games at locally. Babbage's, Electronics Boutique, Funcoland (were they still around by 1992?), Venture, Toys 'R Us, Software Etc., Incredible Universe... and they're all gone now. Radio Shack was selling Atari and Intellivision games through mail-order if I remember right, and they're mostly gone. And a lot of the malls I went to shop for games at have been demolished. Sigh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
    What kills me is thinking about all the various stores I could go buy games at locally. Babbage's, Electronics Boutique, Funcoland (were they still around by 1992?), Venture, Toys 'R Us, Software Etc., Incredible Universe... and they're all gone now. Radio Shack was selling Atari and Intellivision games through mail-order if I remember right, and they're mostly gone. And a lot of the malls I went to shop for games at have been demolished. Sigh.
    We had a Funcoland up til the mid 2000s. That was one of the few places I remember we could buy used games at.

    Yeah stores in general are closing up, and its not just video games. Online shopping/Amazon is replacing a lot of that
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    http://nintendoage.com/forum/message...hreadid=108517
    Here's a ton of pictures of video game stores about 1997-1998... not '92, but within 5 years.

    Of the places Steve mentioned, I remember Electronics Boutique (and it's later name, EB Games), Funcoland, Toys R' Us, and Radio Shack. Electronics Boutique changed to EB Games in May 2000 but not all of the stores switched at once, I got a memory card for my PS2 there about June 16, 2002 (I got the system itself on the 11th, my mom's birthday, but didn't get a memory card for, IIRC, about 5 days), Funcoland (they changed their locations to GameStop about 2001 where I was, I think Crazy Taxi for PS2 was one of my last purchases there), Toys R' Us (I got a bunch of Lego sets there in the mid-2000s and a few video games there, I remember getting CTR there. It was 50 bucks, a LOT of money back in 1999 when I lived in a gray trailer and we'd just gotten our first "nice" car, a 1994 Toyota Camry coupe.

    I'd love to teleport back in time to the day I was born (assuming I stayed 26, which means my birth year would be.. 1966?) and go to a Lechmere and play all the demo machines There would be no crowds or lines since they'd be closed for Christmas. I'd also make sure to take lots of pictures. I've always wanted to see pictures of a video game store from the early 1990s. Doesn't have to be Lechmere, Toys R' Us would be great too but I do remember Toys R' Us video game section from the 32 bit era so it wouldn't be too terribly different.

    I did see a video of a Toys R' Us's Sega Genesis section in '90 and a picture of a Lechmere from 1992 but the video game section was only barely visible (and only tellable by a sign that said "VIDEO GAMES AND... something, it's been years since I've seen the picture, it was on Wikipedia about 2006 and was my desktop background about that same time)
    Real collectors drive Hondas, Toyotas, Chevys, Fords, etc... not Rolls Royces.

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