Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

Take a look at this commercial, for the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis). It's for the Indian market, and while it's a little rough around the edges, it's mostly what you'd expect from the mid-90s. Except for that weird "Shaw Wallace" business.


That's not a YouTube uploader's watermark, it's the name of the company that handled distribution of the console in India. And it's not an electronics firm. Shaw Wallace makes booze.

Primarily whisky and beer. So what was it doing moonlighting as a video game distributor? Well, in 1995, Indian authorities would slap an 80% tariff on anything like the Mega Drive being imported directly into the country, so Sega struck up a deal with Shaw Wallace to distribute to the consoles, which meant they could skip the tariff altogether.


Cheeky, but effective, and also technically legal. It also means I get to imagine the consoles being smuggled around the country in wooden whisky crates. And yes, I know it was all legal, but that's still way cooler than imagining regular delivery trucks.

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