History of Sega in Serbia and Montenegro

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History of Sega in Serbia and Montenegro
Official Sega distributor(s): Comy (1990-1991), IVC (1992-199x), ActiveMagic (199x-199x), Videotop (2004-2010), Computerland (2010-2015), Videotop (2016-2018), Iris Mega (2018-present)

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Between 1992 and 2003, Serbia and Montenegro were unified as a single state known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY); not to be confused with the earlier Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) which in the 1990s was in the process of breaking up into its pre-communist constituents). From 2003 the state was known as "Serbia and Montenegro" before both halves declared independance from each other in 2006.

Socialist Yugoslavia

Socialist Yugoslavia did not belong to the Warsaw Pact making it more open to Western technologies than the countries of the Eastern Bloc. In the 70s Yugoslavia was one of the countries where Sega imported its game machines. As in other communist countries, local companies created their own consoles, such as the Geti-3220 produced by the Slovenian company Gorenje from 1977. Foreign consoles also reached the country but in small numbers.

The only known company that sold Sega Master System was Comy, which began importing the console from 1990.[1]In March 25, 1991, the first Sega club was found called Video Games Club were people could rent Master System console.

Serbia and Montenegro

Mega Drive popularity

At the beginning of 1992, IVC continued to sell Sega Master System and it diffrent models like Master System Plus and Super System. The first informations about newer systems (Mega Drive, Game Gear and Master System II) appeard in press in 1993 but news were very short because computer magazines werent interested in video game consoles.

In 1994, Mega Drive II was released and it is known that the console was provide to various amusement parks where it served as arcades. In the middle of the same year, the most popular domestic suppliers such as DigiTech and Beosoft (who also represented Nintendo in the region) began selling Sega consoles. All sales moved slowly, but in early 1995, when Amiga computers which were popular in Yugoslavia went in crisis, sales of Sega consoles jumped sharply. In 1995-1996 Mega Drive was the most-popular console on the market. At the time ActiveMagic was representative and distributor of Sega in FRY. Mega Drive add-ons were released, but they remained niche. Other major distributors who promoted Sega were Biosfera Media which with its action and aggressive marketing campaign imposed Sega standards, and KonTiki.

Another phenomenon that appeared in the country were the places called Segoteka. In February 1996 there were 600 of them in the country.

Sega pećina was built in the Obilićev Venac shopping area in Belegrad.

There was also a show about Sega consoles. The most famous was Sega Klinci released by RTV Pink but before that there was also Game Over broadcast on Kanal 9.

There were also tournaments related to Mega Drive games, such as II Otvoreno Prvenstvo Beograda u Kompjuterskim Igrama. In a few memories there is a character of Čeda who was the so-called King of Sega Klinci, he participated in this tournament and probably some others as well.

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Print advert in (SCG) #13: "Jul-Avgust 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
also published in:
  • (YU) #130: "Jul/Avgust 1995" (1995-xx-xx)[2]
  • (YU) #132: "Septembar 1995" (1995-xx-xx)[3]
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Print advert in Svet Kompjutera (YU) #133: "Oktobar 1995" (1995-xx-xx) also published in:
  • Svet Kompjutera (YU) #134: "Novembar 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
  • Svet Kompjutera (YU) #135: "Decembar 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
  • Svet Kompjutera (YU) #136: "Januar 1996" (1996-xx-xx)
  • Svet Kompjutera (YU) #137: "Februar 1996" (1996-xx-xx)
  • Svet Kompjutera (YU) #138: "Mart 1996" (1996-xx-xx)
  • Svet Kompjutera (YU) #139: "April 1996" (1996-xx-xx)
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Print advert in Svet Kompjutera (YU) #136: "Januar 1996" (1996-xx-xx)

Mega Drive clones

In Yugoslavia, one of the original Mega Drive console models was the Asian market model, which were quite difficult to find. It was sold in two variants: the green box model (from 1994) and the black box model (from 1995). The European version of the console was more popular on the market. Such variants of consoles caused a large influx of unofficial consoles that were difficult to distinguish from the original.[4]

The first problematic copy was the Asian version reworked to break the regional blockade. It looked the same as the original, but it differed in the serial number.[5]

The most dangerous clone was from the Taiwan, which like the original, was sold in green box. However, it was of poorer quality and displayed a worse sounds and image on TV and thats why it was cheaper than the original. It differed in the serial numbers from the original.[6]

Sega sa buvljaka (eng.Sega from the flea market) was also popular. It was a famiclon that had a black pistol that looked like a Light Phaser. It was sold in a green box, but on the cover it had a gun. The Nintendo Famicom clone called Terminator 2 was very popular in Serbia and Montenegro. The appearance of the console was modeled on the Sega Mega Drive II, so many people in the region called this console Pijacna Sega (Market Sega) or Kineska Sega (Chinese Sega). Due to the popularity of these two, it is possible to come across people in Serbia who mistake Mega Drive with Nintendo NES unaware because in childhood they played games such as Super Mario Bros or Tank 1990 on these clones.

Another clone was Star Drive II which looked like the less popular in the country Sega Mega Drive model I. Similar to it was another clone called Saba which was inferior in quality.[7] Rumors says that in 1996 the successor of the 8-bit Pegasus called Power Pegasus appeared.

Game piracy was a big problem. In many stores, people could get bootleg copies alongside the original games. This was the case with major distributors such as Beosoft, Digitech and Biosfera Media. It must be admitted, that thanks to this, the games were cheaper, which increased the popularity of the Mega Drive. Some stores, apart from bootlegs for Mega Drive, also sold compilations for Game Gear containing several games.

Saturn and Dreamcast

Sega Saturn first appeared in retailers in December 1995 who were probably counting on higher sales due to the popularity of Mega Drive. Larger sales were supposed to start in May 1996, but the console remained little known because it was sold by few stores. Most of the resellers owned PlaStation and Nintendo 64, so most Mega Drive owners began to move to these consoles.

In 2000, Sega Dreamcast appeared at local distributors like Beosoft.[8]

2004-present

In 2004 Sega started cooperation with Videotop.From 2010 to 2015, Computerland was a distributor of Sega in Serbia and Montenegro. Videotop return in 2016 as a distributor of Sega in all former Yugoslavia [9]In 2017, Videotop became the property of Computerland Group.[10] In 2018, Videotop was acquired by Colby which also belongs to the Computerland Group.The distribution was taken over by Iris Mega.

References

  1. Svet Kompjutera (SCG) #73: "Oktobar 1990" page 45
  2. Svet Kompjutera, "Jul/Avgust 1995" (YU; 1995-xx-xx), page 2
  3. Svet Kompjutera, "Septembar 1995" (YU; 1995-xx-xx), page 32
  4. Svet Kompjutera (SCG) #137: "Februar 1996" page 84
  5. Svet Kompjutera (SCG) #137: "Februar 1996" page 84
  6. Svet Kompjutera (SCG) #137: "Februar 1996" page 84
  7. Svet Kompjutera (SCG) #137: "Februar 1996" page 84
  8. Bonus (SCG) #7: "7/2000" (2000-09-25) page 82
  9. http://www.videotop.si/en/videotop-je-postal-uradni-zastopnik-zaloznika-sega/
  10. http://www.videotop.si/druzba-iris-mega-d-o-o-kupila-druzbo-videotop-skupina-d-o-o/
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