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The ultimate retrospective of the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis. A documentary art book by Read-Only Memory. Read more

London, UK Nonfiction
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This project was successfully funded on December 9, 2013.

The ultimate retrospective of the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis. A documentary art book by Read-Only Memory.

London, UK Nonfiction
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About this project

Our Kickstarter campaign has now come to a close. Thanks to the overwhelming support of SEGA fans worldwide, the book will now become a reality. To order a copy of SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works or to learn more about our products please visit www.readonlymemory.vg

SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works [ セガ メガドライブ/ジェネシス:作品集成 ] will be the definitive volume on the landmark console. The book is officially licensed by SEGA and celebrates the 25th anniversary of the console’s release. It will be an unparalleled treasury of production artwork, interviews, development sketches and hardware manufacturing plans. 

It will also include over 20 exclusive interviews with original SEGA team members – many of whom have never been interviewed before – a foreword by industry legend Dave Perry and an insightful 10,000-word piece by Keith Stuart (Games Editor for the Guardian and regular contributor to Edge) on the machine that changed the landscape of gaming forever.

The book will showcase a wealth of SEGA’s 16-bit titles, from blockbuster games such as Bare Knuckle/Streets of Rage, Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star, Gunstar Heroes, The Super Shinobi/Revenge of Shinobi and Golden Axe through to cult gems such as Rent-a-Hero, Vectorman and DecapAttack.

We are tremendously excited about making this book a reality. With your support, we hope to publish a beautiful and substantial volume on the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis. If funded, this will be the second title from Read-Only Memory, a new company that aims to publish high-end books on gaming history.

190mm x 240mm • Hardback • Litho Print • Approx. 300 pages • 35,000+ words

*All designs shown here and in our pitch video are not final and are subject to approval by SEGA*

Sega Genesis General Arrangement Drawing
Sega Genesis General Arrangement Drawing

Background to the Project

Read-Only Memory’s first title, Sensible Software 1986–1999 was successfully funded on Kickstarter last year and released in October 2013. Based on the strength of that book, we were invited by SEGA to pitch a title covering an aspect of their history. Being a die-hard Mega Drive/Genesis player from the age of 11, I leapt at the chance to create a book that would encapsulate everything that made that console so unique – the stylish hardware, the absorbing Hollywood-inspired atmosphere of the games, and most memorably, the bold and irreverent way that SEGA chose to market the console here in the West. 

We are looking to publish the book as part of the two-year-long anniversary of the console's release (1988 in Japan, 1989 in North America and 1990 in Europe). We started research in early 2013, and are now full steam ahead on the project. The interviews, essay and photography are now largely complete, and we have already collated a huge amount of archive material, ready to be distributed across the book’s 300 or so pages. 

Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Rejected Controller Design
Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Rejected Controller Design

SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works will be equal parts lush ‘coffee table’ art book and incisive history document, combining the highest values in graphic design, production and journalism. As a die-hard fan myself, I’m dedicated to making this a truly covetable object for every SEGA fan.

The Contents

Archive & Artwork

We are working closely with SEGA Corporation on every aspect of the book. They have provided us unprecedented access to their archives, where we have already uncovered an unbelievable number of hidden treasures – including detailed technical drawings of the Mega Drive/Genesis console, a range of alternative controller designs, a collection of stunning character paintings for The Super Shinobi/Revenge of Shinobi and pencil and marker storyboards for Bare Knuckle/Streets of Rage

We have also secured the rights to reproduce images from the hard-to-find, Japan-only SEGA Video Game Illustrations book, published in 1994 and now out of print. More recently we’ve been working with ex-SEGA of America team members who have provided beautiful production art from games such as Eternal Champions, Vectorman and Comix Zone. Finally, we have also unearthed material from the personal archives of a number of original Japanese developers. My aim is to gather the very best material into one hefty but affordable volume. 

From hand-drawn sketches right through to meticulously-presented in-game artwork, the book will catalogue the incredible visual history of SEGA’s best-loved franchises, including:

After Burner, Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, Alien Storm, Bare Knuckle/Streets of Rage, Beast King’s Chronicle/Altered Beast, Bonanza Bros., Comix Zone, Cyber Brawl/Cosmic Carnage, DecapAttack, Dynamite Headdy, Ecco the Dolphin, ESWAT, Eternal Champions, Flicky, Golden Axe, Gunstar Heroes, Super Hang-On, Kid Chameleon, Knuckles Chaotix, Landstalker, Metal Head, Phantasy Star, Puyo Puyo/Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Rent-A-Hero, Ristar the Shooting Star/Ristar, Shadow Dancer, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic 3D, Space Harrier, The Super Shinobi/Revenge of Shinobi, Tempo, ToeJam & Earl, Vectorman, Virtua Racing, Wonder Boy and more ...

Bare Knuckle/Streets of Rage end sequence storyboards
Bare Knuckle/Streets of Rage end sequence storyboards

Hardware

For the first time in print, we will be unveiling the original Mega Drive/Genesis console manufacturing plans, plucked from the SEGA archive in Japan, as well as design documents and original concept renderings for alternative versions of the now-iconic controller. Paired with this will be a stunning collection of specially-commissioned photographs of key Mega Drive/Genesis hardware by renowned still life photographer John Short. Highlights from this section will include the Nomad, Multi Mega, Activator, Mega Jet and one of the most coveted rarities: the first-party Wondermega.

The Activator, Nomad, Multi-Mega and Genesis/Sega CD Model 2 (© John Short)
The Activator, Nomad, Multi-Mega and Genesis/Sega CD Model 2 (© John Short)

Interviews

We have had the privilege to conduct in-depth interviews with more than 20 legendary SEGA designers, programmers, composers and creatives, many of whom are being interviewed for the very first time. The interviews – conducted by award-winning games writer Keith Stuart – provide a fascinating glimpse into the influences, processes and ideas behind many the console’s most important games.

Our interviewees include:

  • Naoto Oshima, Game Designer: Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Yu Suzuki, Game Designer: Space Harrier, OutRun, After Burner, Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter
  • Makoto Uchida, Planner: Altered Beast, Golden Axe, Alien Storm
  • Yuji Naka, Game Designer: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic & Knuckles 
  • Masami Ishikawa, Product Designer: Mega Drive/Genesis hardware 
  • Mitsushige Shiraiwa, Product Designer: Mega Drive/Genesis outer casing
  • Tomohiro Kondo, Planner: Shadow Dancer
  • Yuzo Koshiro, Sound Designer: The Super Shinobi/Revenge of Shinobi, Bare Knuckle/Streets of Rage
  • Akira Nishino, Planning Director: Ristar the Shooting Star/Ristar
  • Kan Naito, Programmer: Shining Force
  • Kazuyuki Hoshino, Art Director: Knuckles Chaotix
  • Keisuke Tsukahara, Sound Designer: Shadow Dancer, Alien Storm (arcade)
  • Kotaro Hayashida, Game Designer: Alex Kidd, Space Harrier II 
  • Manabu Kusunoki, Graphic Designer: Bonanza Bros.
  • Naohiro Warama (credited as Taro Shizuoka), Designer: Revenge of Shinobi/The Super Shinobi
  • Noriyoshi Ohba, Director: The Super Shinobi/Revenge of Shinobi, Bare Knuckle/Streets of Rage
  • Ryuichi Nishizawa, Director: Wonder Boy
  • Koji Tsuchida, Director: Shadow Squadron/Stellar Assault
  • Tomoyuki Ito, Director: The Super Shinobi II/Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  • Toru Yoshida, Designer: Phantasy Star II, IV
  • Tombo Arikawa, Designer: Rent A Hero
  • Ryutaro Nonaka, Planner: Metal Head
  • Naofumi Hataya, Sound Designer: Golden Axe II, Virtua Racing Deluxe
Various Logo Paintings
Various Logo Paintings

Foreword and Essay

The book will open with a foreword by legendary game developer Dave Perry (Earthworm Jim, Aladdin, The Terminator) and be followed by an insightful and pacy 10,000-word piece by Keith Stuart telling the story of what made this console such a global success. You’ll hear first-hand accounts from the big players who made it all happen: Michael Katz discusses what drove their provocative and unforgettable “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” marketing campaign, Trip Hawkins reveals how instrumental Electronic Arts were in SEGA’s US success and Al Nilsen recounts the moment he realised that Sonic the Hedgehog could become SEGA's killer app. In addition to this core narrative, experts from the fields of code, artwork and music will chime in, recounting just what went into making games for the Mega Drive/Genesis.

Editions & Tiers

As a thank you for supporting the project, everyone pledging for THE BOOK on Kickstarter will see their name printed in it as a Benefactor, which will appear in all editions from here on in. We can’t do this without your support, so we feel it entirely appropriate that you be permanently  credited for your part in helping to document a part of SEGA’s history.

The Book (All designs subject to approval by SEGA)
The Book (All designs subject to approval by SEGA)

As well as the main event – our covetable, high-spec hardback – we also have some additional Mega Drive/Genesis booty for our backers. THE POSTER EDITION will come with an exclusive screen print, designed by Read-Only Memory and utilising elements from the beautiful Mega Drive/Genesis manufacturing plans. The print will be A1 in size (84.1 x 59.4cm/33.1 x 23.4 in) and silk screened onto heavyweight stock. The posters will be signed, numbered and shipped in a heavy-duty archival tube.

A1 Screen Print (All designs subject to approval by SEGA)
A1 Screen Print (All designs subject to approval by SEGA)

For our SPECIAL EDITION, which is limited to 100 copies only, we had the incredible privilege to commission Naoto Oshima to create a unique illustration of Sonic and Dr. Eggman/Robotnik. The print, which is available exclusively with this edition, will be numbered, Giclée printed on fine art uncoated stock and housed in a custom-made folio. This luxurious edition will feature an exclusive design, and the the book and folio will together slot into a slipcase. 

A note on postage: We have strived to keep postage costs at as low a level as we possibly could for international backers, so you are not shelling out a fortune to receive a copy to your front door! We have also included a 2-copy tier especially for international backers, which offers an extra saving if you pledge with a friend. As numbered, high-value items, Special Editions will be shipped using a tracked courier service to ensure they reach you safely. 

Our Goal

Our goal facilitates the production of a truly special object. As well as printing the book to an extremely high standard, it covers two fantastic translators interpreting Keith’s interviews between English and Japanese (and back again), our photographer John Short creating the ultimate hardware product shots, our author/interviewer Keith Stuart’s (award-winning) time and skills, indexing, copy-editing, and of course our licensing agreement with SEGA. 

Read-Only Memory

Read-Only Memory (www.readonlymemory.vg) was started by myself – a graphic designer and art director based in London, UK – and born out of a combined love of video games and graphic design. Its publishing aims to recognise the titles, pioneers and milestones that have shaped the industry, and pay homage to the craft of game making. Our first title, Sensible Software 1986–1999 was born on Kickstarter in October 2012. As a start-up publisher, this second book is a stratospheric jump, and I am ridiculously excited that we have the opportunity to make it for you. 

Sensible Software 1986–1999
Sensible Software 1986–1999

Hot Chip & Andy Lemon: Motion Sickness (YM2612 Remix)

The song used in our pitch video is a specially-remixed of ‘Motion Sickness’ by friends-of-ROM, Hot Chip, who very kindly let us transform their song into a Mega Drive/Genesis-tinged anthem. The track has been built entirely from scratch using only Yamaha YM2612 Mega Drive/Genesis sounds by game composer Andy Lemon

And now, some powerful legal incantations.

"Motion Sickness" by Joseph Goddard, Alexis Benjamin Taylor and Brian DeGraw © 2012 Goddard and Taylor Ltd (NS) and Warp Music Ltd (PRS). All rights on behalf of Goddard and Taylor Ltd administered by Warner/Chappell Music Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. Licensed courtesy of Domino Recording Co Ltd.

A legal notice from SEGA 

Project backers cannot claim any interest in the book or IPs represented in the book in return for pledging funds. SEGA does not take any responsibility for problems that might be caused by this fundraising campaign on Kickstarter. Read-Only Memory hereby indemnifies SEGA against any and all damages and other costs and expenses and losses sustained by Read-Only Memory arising out of any claim, action or proceeding as a result of this fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.

Risks and challenges

Because the subject matter of this book is so far-reaching and means so much to so many people, my biggest concern is about delivering a documentary book that will do justice to the legacy of the Mega Drive/Genesis in the eyes of the fans. The advantage of being financed in this way though – by SEGA fans all over the world – is that it allows us to instantly share progress and ask questions of you. During our last Kickstarter, I was constantly reshaping the contents of the book as I went along based on comments and requests from backers, and I really hope to build another intimate and excited community of backers this time around.

This is an ambitious project, but having successfully delivered a Kickstarter-funded documentary/art book on gaming history in the past few months (Sensible Software 1986–1999) I feel that I am well-positioned to make good of it. I’ve learnt a tremendous amount about researching, designing, editing and printing a high-production book in the past year and feel battle-ready to launch into Read-Only Memory’s second volume.

Our first book has been very well-received – with tremendously positive reviews from backers and the press alike – which places welcome pressure on myself and Read-Only Memory as a company to build on what we’ve started. Although just a company of two people, we are focussed on becoming the best video game history publisher around, and we’re fired up to make SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works the next step towards that goal.

The other notable challenges I face are ensuring that the book is as good as it possibly can be and keeping the project on schedule – two factors which undoubtedly pull in opposing directions! I’m confident to say that the project has been realistically scheduled and given that I face fewer ‘unknowns’ this second time around, the most likely cause of any delay will be down to us all trying to squeeze the best of each page. At all points along the journey I’ll be keeping you fully informed about the book’s progress so expect regular and image-laden updates as the pages take shape.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge £1 or more

    89 backers

    THANK YOU: Our high-grade multipurpose thanks will be lavished upon you in the form of a surprise SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis digital gift delivered by email.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £25 or more

    100 backers All gone!

    THE BOOK (EARLY BIRD): The SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works hardback book, at our special 25th anniversary-flavoured price. Your name will be included in the book as a Benefactor in all editions for evermore. 100 only.

    Approx. $40 USD / €30 EUR at current exchange rates.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £30 or more

    1,843 backers

    THE BOOK: The SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works hardback book. Your name will be included in the book as a Benefactor in all editions for evermore.

    Approx. $48 USD / €36 EUR at current exchange rates.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge £60 or more

    64 backers

    2 x THE BOOK (INTERNATIONAL POSTAGE BUNDLE): 2 x everything in our THE BOOK tier, with a postage saving for international backers.

    Approx. $96 USD / €72 EUR at current exchange rates.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £80 or more

    59 backers

    THE POSTER EDITION: The SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works hardback book, plus a heavyweight silk screened A1 print featuring a design inspired by the hardware manufacturing plans. Each poster will be numbered and shipped in a heavy-duty archival tube.

    Approx. $128 USD / €96 EUR at current exchange rates.

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    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge £250 or more

    82 backers Limited (18 left of 100)

    THE SPECIAL EDITION: The SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works hardback book featuring a limited edition cover and accompanied by an archival print of Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr. Eggman/Dr. Robotnik illustrated by his creator Naoto Oshima specially for Read-Only Memory. The print will be numbered and housed in its own folio which will be set alongside the book in a handmade slipcase. This edition is limited to 100 copies, and will be numbered in the order purchased. It will be couriered to you in a bespoke shipping box with a custom foam inner for maximum protection. This tier also includes the exclusive POSTER.

    Approx. $400 USD / €300 EUR at current exchange rates.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (28 days)