History of Sega in Estonia

From Sega Retro

History of Sega in Estonia
Official Sega distributor(s): 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]

The first official Sega consoles were brought here starting from around 1993, led by Sega Mega Drive and were sold through local retailers network like Tallinna Kaubamaja Kodukaubad[5] and others. Estonian players from that period mention few games for Sega such as Street Fighter 2, Sonic the Hedgehog and Mortal Kombat series.[6]Of course, cheaper bootleg Sega games were on the market, as well as unlicensed 16-bit systems[7] that mostly resembled the Asian Mega Drive 2 releases in a green box and white with triangles box. Mega Drive with Famiclones and PlayStation still remains in this region as one of the most popular consoles from the 90s.[8]. Sega's trademarks were registered by Lasvet Patent and Trademark Agency. Besides Famicom and Mega Drive clones, Sega had competition in form of Super Nintendo and Game Boy (distributed from November 1994 by Steepler[9]), Amiga CD32 (distributed from 1994), Atari Jaguar (distributed from 1995 by Game Land), PlayStation (distributed from April 1997 by Computer 2000[10]) and 3DO.

Sega Dreamcast was available in Estonia from 2000. Some stores started selling accessories and programs from Russia, that were produced by, among others, Simba's Video Games, so their products for Dreamcast like Game Guru Gold 1, VCD Player or MP3 Game Player with games and clones for 16-bit Sega, such as Mega Drive 2 and Mega Drive 4 were released here as well.[11]

Somewhere in early 2000s, the Jesting Projekt became the distributor of all Sega games[12]. Besides regular European release of PC games, Estonia got also Scandinavian PC Best Buy series.[13]Jesting Projekt sold Sega games until 2008 when Andrico became a distributor.[14] In 2009, the company made an agreement with Gamelab regarding the sale of games in the region of the Baltic states.[15]Andrico helped Gamelab and translated the game boxes into Estonian. The cooperation ended in 2013 and year later, 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.[16]

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.

Until today in Estonia can be find the bootlegs of the Sega Mega Drive console and games. They are mainly from Russia.

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