Retro game fans of yore, buckle up for a fun video game nostalgia trip with Slopes Game Room: Sega The Complete History Vol 1 on Blu-ray from ETR Media. While these are repackaged videos from the awesome YouTube channel, they come with tons of bonus features and offer fans who love this sort of content a neat little package of some of their best deep dives into the Sega gaming archives. You have hours of entertaining content, and that's before you get to the bonus features! Recommended
Fans of retro games, specifically games and systems from Nintendo’s old rival Sega, should already know about Slopes Game Room. If you haven’t gone over there for gaming content already, you should definitely check out their YouTube channel. Not only do they cover a range of games and topics within that community, but thanks to host Daniel Ibbertson, the channel has done numerous documentaries about classic games and all of their sequels and revitalizations within the Sega archive.
And I do mean to call these documentaries. They’re not little five-minute retrospectives about how great House of the Dead was but extensively researched chronicles of any game’s history, the various releases it saw on different systems, and when, and even if new games are actually coming out within the franchise. They’re a lot of fun, they’re great background noise if you’re getting work done, and they’re also educational!
In addition to the House of the Dead games, there are deep dives for Super Hang-On, Streets of Rage, After Burner, Altered Beast, Congo Bongo, Seaman, Outrun, Space Harrier, and Daytona USA. Each of these documentaries runs for at least 40 minutes leaving few if any stones unturned. For my gaming proclivities, I was most interested in the After Burner, House of the Dead, Altered Best, Super Hang-On, and Streets of Rage. These were the games I played as a kid or a young teen on various systems and at the arcades and I enjoyed the retrospective approach about the development of the titles but also their longevity on various systems. The House of the Dead segment was probably the most entertaining considering how weird those games got, but the rest were lots of fun as well.
Unlike most kids I knew, my home video gaming experience didn’t start with Nintendo but with the original Sega Master System. With Hang-On, After Burner, the bad-ass Rambo III gun game, and the Indiana Jones/Pitfall knockoff adventure game Montezuma’s Revenge, hours of my life were joyfully burned away. When I briefly tried to relocate some of my old favorites on eBay, I stumbled upon the Slopes YouTube channel and over the years have had a good time plugging in for one of these videos.
I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about YouTube content making its way onto home disc media, but I was happy to see it works. As I putzed through my work day, having this disc on in the background was a nice atmosphere noise that I could sort of look up and observe but mostly listen to. Ibbertson is a great narrator and his infectious passion for the games comes through in every documentary. Since this set is called “Vol. 1” I hope we won’t have to wait for another disc. Sure, you can just pull up the YouTube channel, but with all of the main content on top of hours of new bonus features including guest commentaries, this set was a bigger package than I expected and a whole lot more fun!
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Slopes Game Room: Sega The Complete History Vol. 1 comes home to Blu-ray from ETR Media and OCN Distribution. Pressed on a Region Free BD-50 disc, the disc is housed in a clear case with reversible insert art, and if you ordered from Vinegar Syndrome you scored an exclusive limited edition slipcover. The disc loads to an animated main menu - it can be a little confusing which doc title is highlighted but that’s a minimal navigation hiccup.
Presented in 1080p, the various Complete History Of titles are a relatively mixed bag of typical YouTube host content intercut with snippets and pieces of actual gaming footage. While details for various bits are sharp and clear without issue, some of the game footage is quite soft and messy - but then those games looked that way back in the day. So visually these documentaries may not be the most arresting assortment, but they look quite good on disc. Colors are bright and bold and offer lovely highlights for the segments about the deep-cut classics in their original glory.
On the audio side of things, the sound design for these segments isn’t the most dynamic ever. The Slopes music cues are well prioritized and the narrations come through cleanly. The audio for various games and the clips are subject to the games themselves. House of the Dead is a good example where it shifted from arcade machines to various consoles and depending on which game in the series could sound tinny and hollow or like House of the Dead II and sound quite ominous and creepy. Throughout each episode, Ibbertson’s narration is always front/center and levels are on point.
So there’s a ton of extra content in addition to the main docs. On top of a separate menu of bonus features each complete history documentary has a slate of extras to dig into. From new intros to each video to solo commentaries and guest commentaries, there are just hours upon hours of content to parse through. Now I didn’t listen to every guest commentary, but it was a fun addition to the already great documentary adding some extra flavor and viewpoints to the material.
Anyone who’s spent any serious time with any system has a favorite game. For Slopes, clearly, he’s a Sega guy through and through. Growing up with the Genesis precursor Master System, I don’t blame him. I had a NES, but the Master System with its slick cartridge and card-based games, light gun, and even 3-D gaming - it was just the better system that no one else seemed to have but me. Part of the fun of diving into Sega The Complete History Vol 1 was reconnecting with some old favorites that I played over three decades ago and then seeing the franchise advance and change with each new generation. For ten episodes you’re getting nearly six hours of fascinating gaming history on top of hours of extra bonus features. It may seem silly to buy a disc of YouTube content to some, but you’re getting your money’s worth and I’d say it’s a lot more fun watching on Blu-ray than mindlessly plugging into an app or channel. For gaming fans, this is a great set well worth digging into. Recommended