Sega Forever has finally launched after weeks of speculation, and sadly, it's not had the best of starts. Dogged by poor emulation, the games released so far may be free to download and play, but they're a long way from being the best way to experience such classic titles.
While Sega clearly has some work to do in order to bring the Sega Forever service up to speed, you can't fault the company's approach to PR. It has been cunningly teasing the retro gaming service via its social media channels for the past few weeks, and even went as far as to mail out cassette tapes full of classic Sega tunes to journalists.
Now, the firm has undertaken perhaps its boldest step yet when it comes to marketing Sega Forever: breakfast cereal.
A box of Sega Forever Gold Rings arrived at the Nintendo Life office today, and naturally we couldn't resist cracking it open to see if it softens the blow of disappointing emulation plagued by annoying adverts. The verdict? Well, opening the pack to discover a free gift inside certainly took us back to our childhood, although for additional nostalgia points Sega really should have placed the Mega Drive keyring inside the cereal bag itself, as was the norm back in the day. Remember when your parents used to go mad at you for opening another box of cereal simply to retrieve the cheap plastic bike reflector contained within? Good times.
Once the allure of the free item had passed we ventured onwards, tearing open the plastic bag and getting a good old sniff of the gold rings contained within. Disappointingly, they appear to be physically similar to your bog-standard Cheerio / Hoops variant available elsewhere; no matter how many mouthfuls we ingested we didn't get any extra lives, but at the same time, walking into hazards like brick walls or a busy road didn't cause us to magically drop all of the rings sloshing around inside our stomach, either. So it's not all bad.
After one bowlful of gold rings we couldn't resist eating another, because that's the kind of thing you do when you work from home and there's nobody else in. With each mouthful we were hopeful that some kind of magical Sega-style transformation would occur - like Sonic games actually being good again - but sadly all that happened is that we felt rather full and didn't want our lunch. We also noticed that each munch was accompanied by a pang of utter sadness from the knowledge that the Sega which created such classics as Golden Axe, ESWAT, Panzer Dragoon, Alex Kidd and Whip Rush (hey! Someone had to like it, right?) is no more, and that the Sega Forever service is nothing but a painful reminder of that depressing fact.
Sorry, but we're off to cuddle our Mega Drive for a bit and wait for the feeling of nausea generated by consuming vast quantities of gold rings to die down. Verdict? 7/10.