Al Nilsen (who you may or may not know as SEGA of America’s Director of Marketing from 1989 to 1993) attempted to promote the release of Streets of Rage 2 by blowing up a building. Check out the comment from the man himself during a recent Reddit Q&A session:
“Streets of Rage 2 almost didn’t happen. SOR1 was a much bigger hit in the US than in Japan, and Japan didn’t want to make a sequel. We desperately wanted it, but didn’t have the development resources in the US to make it, so we had to rely on Japan. After MUCH cajoling they agreed to do it. But since they started late, the game wouldn’t be available until December 5, 1992. Due to the late date many retailers wouldn’t take shipments due to the Christmas rush. So I needed a way to get the word out about SOR2, so it would be another reason (beyond Sonic 2) for people to buy Genesis over SNES.
So I came up with a contest where the grand prize was going to be to let the winner “push the button” to actually implode a big building. Who wouldn’t want to do that. Unfortunately we couldn’t pull it off because of the problems of finding a building where state laws would allow it, plus how could we get insurance to cover it, etc.
But it would have been a contest that nobody would forget”
While the description of the PR stunt sounds incredible, what really intrigues us is the discovery that the original Streets of Rage was not that big a hit in Japan. Who would’ve thought that without SEGA of America’s push for a sequel we would never have 3 of the best beat-em-ups in the history of the genre. Maybe it’s this exact reason why the series never continued past the 16 bit era.