Gaming fans have spotted an ultra-rare white variation of the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis hidden within a new documentary on the former San Antonio Spurs basketball player David Robinson.
The Twitter account for the console database Console Variations shared a screengrab from the documentary yesterday and put out an appeal for more information about the machine. This screengrab showed an old image of David Robinson and the Chicago Bulls' Scottie Pippen playing the console in a space featuring some EA Sports branding.
So, in order to find out more about the console, we reached out to someone we know who once worked at EA to find out if they could remember anything about it.
Don Transeth was the former vice president of sports marketing and brand innovation at EA and one of the people behind the launch of the EA Sports brand (which we've written about previously). When we spoke to him yesterday evening, he was immediately able to identify the events in the photo:
"I can fill you in on the backstory of this photograph. It was taken in Portland, Oregon between June 27 and July 5, 1992, at the Tournament of the Americas. The event was to determine qualifiers for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
"The team that the US put on the court was called "The Dream Team" because it was the first time US professional NBA players could compete in the Olympics. The rota was full of legendary American players: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and more. The US team defeated Venezuela in the finals. That same team went undefeated in Barcelona will games by an average of 44 points."
If you're wondering how EA Sports comes into this, well, Transeth was able to offer an explanation of that part too, as well as how the developer/publisher came to create its own custom Mega Drive/Genesis. He told Time Extension the following about the console:
"We decided that we should be the official video game supplier of the US team because we were the exclusive NBA game. We talked ourselves into setting up a gaming lounge in the player's hotel. We wanted to have a custom Genesis console for the occasion and decided we want to create a white version. It was problematic because regular paint would not adhere to the console. After doing some research we identified a special paint used on the fiberglass bodies of the Chevrolet Corvette. It worked beautifully and we made two consoles. I am pretty sure we put on a Team USA basketball sticker to make it look official."
Sadly, one thing Transeth wasn't able to tell us is where the two consoles are now, which makes us wonder whether they're still inside EA or locked away in someone's storage. Transeth is connecting us with some other people who were involved in the campaign, and we'll keep you updated should we find out anything else.
For now, you can watch the video about David Robinson below. The console turns up at 6 minutes 42 seconds: