Why are there “HOT NEW” stickers on some Dreamcast games?

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The Sega Dreamcast – a beloved piece of gaming history. It was ill fated from the beginning, unfortunately. Several games were rushed to meet the launch of the console itself, and because of that, were found to have glitches. Mostly, the games from Midway in particular. This included games like Ready 2 Rumble, Mortal Kombat Gold, NFL Blitz, and Hydro Thunder.

The “HOT NEW” edition typically included bug fixes, but there are rumors that they also included feature enhancements. For example, it has been said that the original release of Hydro Thunder on the Dreamcast did not support the VGA adapter that would be released by Sega. The “HOT NEW” edition added VGA support (if I have a chance to test this and confirm, I will do so – I have both copies of Hydro Thunder, but I do not have the VGA adapter at this time).

Forum-goer “fishsandwich” posted what is considered the most thorough information on the subject of these “HOT NEW” labels, and some of it is based on rumor and conjecture, unfortunately. Still, in a 2006 post on DigitPress.com forums, fishsandwich reported:

They were the 2nd printing of the initial Dreamcast games that corrected the errors in the first printing. People often ask why some of the Sega Dreamcast games comes with a green “Hot! New!” sticker on the manual (or printed directly on the manual). This is to differentiate the first copies (without the tag) from the corrected copies (bearing the tag). Sega had some problems with some launch titles as they were badly pressed at one of their factories, the problematic titles were:

– Mortal Kombat Gold (Music skips and game can freeze)
– Hydro Thunder (had problems saving when trying to save on an almost full VMU)
– Ready 2 Rumble (Music skips)
– NFL Blitz 2000 (nobody really bothers about the glitch).

Those 4 games were reissued with the green tag “Hot! New!” to differentiate them from the first batch with glitches. The GD-Rom disc also had a different color on the first batch:

– Mortal Kombat Gold has a Yellow background on the no-tag version, reddish-orange on the corrected one.
– Hydro Thunder has a Blue background on the no-tag version, red on the corrected one.
– Ready 2 Rumble has a Yellow background on the no-tag version, red on the corrected one.
– NFL Blitz 2000 has a Blue background on the no-tag version, red on the corrected one.

As you can see it also includes some great tips for spotting a game-disc as the “hot new” version, even if the jewel case or manual is missing.