History of Sega in Estonia

From Sega Retro

History of Sega in Estonia
Official Sega distributor(s): Nissho Iwai (1993-1995), Jesting Projekt (200x-2008), Andrico (2008-2013), Gamelab (2009-2013), TKM Baltics (2014-2019), iWare Distribution (2019-present)

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In August 20, 1991 Estonia declared independence from the USSR and became an independent state. For foreign companies such as Sega, this meant a new market must be obtained.


From early 90s, Rambo TV Game, a Atari 2600 clone, was released and became the first more known console, that was quickly replaced by Zhiliton 938-A, a clone of the Nintendo Famicom, designed to resemble Sega Mega Drive, which found success across all Baltic States. However, no one suspected that the console was similar to Sega's products due to their lack in the region.

It is also known that the Dendy console, popular in other USSR countries, appeared here by Steepler's distributors - Linakor, Galantis and Egard[1][2][3] The Dendy received some attention, but was never as popular as Zhiliton, especially with more and more new and cheap clones on the market such as UFO, Liko, Nintendo compatible, Terminator 2 and Subor. Later Steepler distributed here Mega Drive clones like Pro 16 Bit, High Quality and also some original Asian Mega Drive 2 and US Genesis CDX with original NTSC-U, PAL Asia and bootleg games. In November 1994, Steepler was licensed by Nintendo to sell their products in all former Soviet Union countries, and thus Super Nintendo and Game Boy were released in that region, but these products were not popular.[4]

Sega's video game consoles

Photo made in early 1996 in Estonian store selling bootleg Famicom and Mega Drive systems

The first official Sega consoles were brought here starting from around 1993. Sega Mega Drive, Master System II, Game Gear and later Mega CD II and Mega Drive 32X were supplied by Nissho Iwai to local retailers network like Tallinna Kaubamaja Kodukaubad[5] and others. Sega's trademarks were registered by Lasvet Patent and Trademark Agency. Estonian players from that period mention few games for Sega like Street Fighter 2, Sonic the Hedgehog and Mortal Kombat series as favourites.[6]Of course, cheaper bootleg Sega games were on the market, as well as unlicensed 16-bit clones that mostly resembled the Asian Mega Drive 2[7]. Authorized distributors warned that pirate games are very low quality despite nearly similar price to originals and can be easy identify by the fact that they don't have manuals, design of boxes is different and carts are easy to disassemble[8]. Mega Drive with Famiclones and PlayStation still remains in this region as one of the most popular consoles from the 90s.[9]. Besides Famicom and Mega Drive clones, Sega had competition in form of Super Nintendo and Game Boy (distributed from November 1994 by Steepler[10]), Amiga CD32 (distributed from 1994), Atari Jaguar (distributed from 1995 by Game Land), PlayStation (distributed from April 1997 by Computer 2000[11]) and 3DO. Sega Saturn was supply by Sega Europe from at least late 1995/early 1996, but it was not popular here.

Between late 1990s and early 2000s, Estonian market was still under a pressure of pirate software and hardware, especially Russian one. La Brise started selling Simba's Video Games products releated to Mega Drive and Dreamcast[12]. The competitor of Simba's, New Game entered Estonian market at the same time thanks to Game Pood[13]. Sega Dreamcast was distributed on the Estonian market from 2000 and pirates like Vector (Вектор), Kudos and RGR Studio sold unlicensed translation into Russian in self-made packages not mention that many retailers imported consoles on its own and sold with self-made documentation and warranty.


Somewhere in early 2000s, the Jesting Projekt became the distributor of all Sega games[14]. Besides regular European release of PC games, Estonia got also Scandinavian PC Best Buy series[15]. Jesting Projekt sold Sega games until 2008 when Andrico became a distributor.[16] In 2009, the company made an agreement with Gamelab regarding the sale of games in the region of the Baltic states.[17]Andrico helped Gamelab and translated the game boxes into Estonian. The cooperation ended in 2013.

TKM Baltics and iWare Distribution

In 2014, the Latvian company TKM Baltics became the distributor of Sega games in this region. The games were mainly available for purchase on the Gamebalt website.[18]

iWare Distribution became a distributor in 2019.

Several publishers from Russia have also released Sega games in this country. 1C-SoftClub sold, among others, Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed and Football Manager 2011. Akella released Sakura Taisen in the Baltic States.There were also many pirate games on PC from Russia.

To this day, clones of Mega Drive can still be found on the market. There are mainly from Russia but some of them originate directly from Asia. However, these clones are not very common and are not as popular as they were in the 1990s.

External links


  1. https://www.delfi.ee/artikkel/13822910/i-siim-avi-sund-1984-i-telekamang-ehk-meelelahutus-missugune
  2. http://www.greatdragon.ru/uploads/posts/2013-11/1383850714_greatdragon01-23.jpg
  3. http://www.greatdragon.ru/uploads/posts/2013-12/1386378769_greatdragon18-1-92.jpg
  4. https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/94004
  5. https://www.osta.ee/sega-mega-drive-184740257.html Mega Drive from Tallinna Kaubamaja Kodukaubad
  6. https://www.delfi.ee/artikkel/13822910/siim-avi-sund-1984-telekamang-ehk-meelelahutus-missugune
  7. MikroBitti 3/96 Piratismi jäytää Viroa page 19
  8. https://dea.digar.ee/?a=d&d=paevaleht19950408.2.16.1&srpos=10&e=------199-et-25--1-byDA%2cbyAU%2cbyTI-txt-txIN%7ctxTI%7ctxAU%7ctxTA-------------
  9. https://m.delfi.ee/article.php?id=13822910
  10. https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/94004
  11. http://web.archive.org/web/19980703064424/http://www.playstation-europe.com/playstation/pr/launch.htm
  12. https://web.archive.org/web/20020814060404/http://www.hot.ee/labrise/
  13. https://web.archive.org/web/20011126044722/http://www.newgame.ru/us/region.htm
  14. https://web.archive.org/web/20060408133504/http://www.gamez.ee:80/est/info
  15. https://web.archive.org/web/20071227014328/http://www.gamez.ee/est/http://www.gamez.ee/est/shop/?group=PC+m%26auml%3Bngud&categ=Strateegia&product=531
  16. https://web.archive.org/web/20081216013038/http://www.andrico.ee:80/pood/conditions.php
  17. https://web.archive.org/web/20110912222305/http://www.gamelab.ee:80/
  18. https://web.archive.org/web/20170625073149/http://www.sega.com/sega-approved-partner-list
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