Saturday, 7 April 2018

Seeing Maroon

I've recently brought up the subject of Grandstand Leisure's early cassette software for the SC-3000 home computer in New Zealand, and there is an unusual co-incidence that is worth pointing out.
Addition Tutor, SC-3000 launch title,
New Zealand, 1983

Sprite Editor, SC-3000 title,
New Zealand, 1984

Notice anything distinctive? I'm pretty sure I've seen this maroon grid pattern before somewhere....

Hang-On/Safari Hunt, Master System launch title,
USA, 1986
Fantasy Zone, Master System launch title,
Europe/UK, 1986

It's mind-boggling to find that this same maroon grid design was chosen for both the SC-3000 in New Zealand in 1983, and the Master System in western territories in 1986.

Ironically, the Australian/New Zealand Master System releases
would differ from the maroon and black pattern first used by
Grandstand, as Sega Ozisoft would cut costs by
saving on black ink!

The maroon colour for the Master System games was likely chosen to tie into the red highlights of the system itself. Even though the system was designed for release in the West, it would have been done by Sega of Japan at the time, as Sega of America was a much smaller fledgling arm of the company back in the mid-80's. SoJ design engineers are likely to have chosen red due to the colour coding of MarkIII software at the time (as discussed in our recent SG-1000 hardware guide).

See how it's all lovely and colour co-ordinated

This decision would seem to be unrelated and independent of what Grandstand decided to do in 1983 with its SC-3000 software. I can't think of any reason why Sega would be inspired or influenced by what was going on in New Zealand three years prior. I can only assume that it's a co-incidence and it was just the "fashion" for electronic devices in the 80's (grid patterns were so on trend). 

Little squares close together is the future, man!

By the time the Master System came around in 1986, Grandstand had dropped the maroon grid for a design that more closely mimicked the John Sands Sega software from across the ditch in Australia. 

The House, Grandstand
New Zealand, 1986
Tank Addition, John Sands Sega
Australia, 1984

Speaking of Australia, there was a series of third-party software releases for the SC-3000 that featured a light blue grid pattern, which foreshadowed the white grid pattern of future Master System releases in the West. These graphic text adventure titles were developed by Softgold, and published in Australia by Dotsoft in 1984.

Thermo Nuclear War Games, SC-3000, Softgold/Dotsoft
Australia, 1984
Ninja, SC-3000, Softgold/Dotsoft
Australia, 1984
Shinobi, Master System, Sega
USA, 1988

See? More grid patterns. Grid patterns were everywhere in the 80's.

You can't escape the Grid. The grid is everywhere.

1 comment:

  1. Heh. Those "The House" "Tank Addition" boxes are very Roy Liechtenstein. It'd be appropriate if they were direct rip-offs.