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Socket Title.png

TimeDominator1st MD Title.png

System(s): Sega Mega Drive
Publisher: VIC Tokai
Sound driver: GRC/later custom
Genre: Action[1][2]

Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
¥7,8007,800 T-23033
Sega Mega Drive
Videogame Rating Council: GA
Sega Mega Drive

Socket, known as Time Dominator 1st (タイムドミネーター 1st) in Japan, is a Sega Mega Drive action platform game developed and published by VIC Tokai. Released in the United States in August 1993, it was later released in Japan in March 1994. The game is a mascot platformer, with the protagonist's design and overall gameplay significantly influenced by Sonic the Hedgehog.

Socket was the subject of mixed reviews at the time of release. Sega Zone gave the game the lowest possible score on the basis that it was a Sonic clone[3].


It is the year 2902, and the evil Time Dominator has finished constructing a time machine which has allowed him to steal various goods and treasures from the past. However, his actions have caused a warp in the flow of time, and a Time Warp Patrol was quickly established to monitor this time warp. Well aware of the need to stop this time warp, the Time Warp Patrol commissions Socket (Minute in the Japanese version), a time-travelling android duck, to stop the treachery of the evil Time Dominator.


Socket borrows many elements from Sonic the Hedgehog and its sequels, causing it to be labelled as a "Sonic clone". Like Sonic, there is an emphasis on speed, with the game offering several "High Speed Areas" in an attempt to woo fans of Sega's game. There are also "labyrinth" areas, which have a greater emphasis on exploration of the level. Items are collected by destroying capsules, similar to Sonic.

A and C make Socket/Minute jump, while B allows him to kick, acting the primary method of defense within the game. As the name may suggest, Socket/Minute requires electricity to keep going, and so must collect lightning bolts in order to stay alive. His health will otherwise deteriorate over time. Socket/Minute has a machine allowing him to travel through time, so each level is set in a different time period as well as setting. Continues are awarded every 30,000 points.

In addition the main game, a Time Trial mode is also offered. This mode sees the player run through a "High Speed Area" without any enemies and achieve the fastest possible time.


Item containers can be kicked open to obtain the item inside.

Socket MD, Items.png
Small lightning bolts of energy that refill the energy bar.
Socket MD, Items, 1-Up.gif
Socket MD, Items.png
Gives Socket/Minute an extra life.
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Socket MD, Items.png
Gives Socket/Minute a shield that protects him from losing energy from a single hit. His energy will still decrease on its own, however.
Socket MD, Items, Invincible.gif
Socket MD, Items.png
Makes Socket/Minute temporarily invincible.
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When activated, Socket/Minute can continue from a checkpoint after losing a life.
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Charging Station
Socket/Minute charges at an energy station at the start of every level, and another one waits at the end of every level as the goal.


Stages in Socket follow a format rarely seen in other games - they are split into three "sub-stages", each sporting a different change of pace. The first sub-stage is merely called a "High Speed Area", playing to the fast speeds of Socket. High Speed Areas have their own set of graphics and could be seen as completely independent stages, but the game classes them as part of a three-Act stage. High speed areas presumably are what Socket must overcome in order to travel through time and reach his destination. In the Japanese version, the High Speed Areas are arranged differently.

The second sub-stage, now set in a specific time period, is deemed an "Athletic Area", resembling more of what the player might see in a Sonic the Hedgehog platformer. They are a more balanced mixture of running and jumping than the high speed areas.

The third and final sub-stage is called a "Labyrinth Area", and is much like the above aside from the fact that Socket needs to find a door (i.e. there is a need for exploration). Going through that door will inevitably put Socket up against the boss, which in most cases is Time Dominator. Other doors will send him to a mini-game area.

Socket EmeraldForest.png

Emerald Forest
Emerald Forest is a typical grassland level with bizarrely-shaped trees, mushrooms and hidden passageways inside walls. Some platforms are held afloat by balloons, which will pop shortly after Socket/Minute stands on the platforms.

Socket TreasureCastle.png

Treasure Castle
A medieval-like castle that is filled with various traps, such as swinging spike balls, crushing stakes embedded in the ceilings, and strong winds that will push Socket/Minute backwards. Stone blocks with clown faces on them are frequently used for platforming.

Socket OlienCavern.png

Olein Cavern
As its name suggests, Olein Cavern is set inside a spacious geothermal mine that sees Socket/Minute riding around sections in minecarts capable of traversing sloped rails. Mechanisms placed around the level can transport minecarts to higher elevations should Socket/Minute bring one to them. Rockets can transport Socket/Minute to higher places, while buzzsaws serve as hazards on the rails.

This is the only stage in the game where its "High Speed Area" uses the same tileset as the rest of the stage instead of the regular tileset used by other "High Speed Areas".

Socket StoneAge.png

Stone Age
Set in the very distant past, Stone Age is a harsh landscape filled with many volcanic hazards such as lava pools, lava geysers and erupting volcanoes. Some of the prehistoric trees have flower buds that will spit downward at Socket/Minute when he passes under them, and bridges will collapse when crossed.

Socket Antiquity.png

Set in ancient ruins, Antiquity is the token water level of the game, and as such is filled with water in the lower parts of the stage. While Socket/Minute cannot drown, the water will slow his movements and make his jumps floaty, however he is capable of paddling for a burst of speed or to slow his fall. Pillars embedded in the floors and ceilings will attempt to crush Socket/Minute, and hatches in the underwater areas will release harmful vortexes.

Socket Future.png

This stage, set in a futuristic city, is an industrial-themed stage with many mechanical hazards, including buzzsaws, flame traps, and electromagnets that will trap Socket/Minute in place until they periodically power down. Socket/Minute can use snake blocks that move in set patterns as platforms, as well as elevators to reach higher places. The "Labyrinth" area features sections where Socket/Minute will activate a machine that reverses gravity, making him walk on the ceiling.

Socket TimeCastle.png

Time Castle
The final stage of the game, which is set in Time Dominator's stronghold. Some of the platforms here are operated in various ways, such as having to step on floating buttons to spawn a platform, or to run along on a platform's treadmill to get it moving.


A Super Nintendo Entertainment System port of the game was planned, but eventually cancelled.


Localised names

Also known as
Language Localised Name English Translation
English (US) Socket Socket
Japanese タイムドミネーター 1st Time Dominator 1st
Korean 타임 도미네이터 Time Dominator

Production credits

Main article: Socket/Production credits.

Magazine articles

Main article: Socket/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Socket SCES1993 MD US Flyer.jpg
Print advert in Sega Visions (US) #15: "October/November 1993" (1993-xx-xx)
also published in:
Print advert in Game Champ (KR) #1994-06: "xxxx" (199x-xx-xx)

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
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Based on
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Sega Retro Average 
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1700 igr dlya Sega (RU)
Beep! MegaDrive (JP) NTSC-J
Console Mania (IT)
Cool Gamer (RU)
Hippon Super (JP) NTSC-J
Mega (UK) NTSC-U
Mega Fun (DE) NTSC-U
Mean Machines Sega (UK) NTSC-U
Sega Power (UK) NTSC-U
Sega Pro (UK) NTSC-U
Sega Zone (UK) NTSC-U
Sega Saturn Magazine (JP) NTSC-J
Video Games (DE) NTSC-U
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
13 reviews


Mega Drive, JP
Socket md jp cover.jpg
TimeDominator1ST MD JP CartTop.jpg
Socket MD JP Cart.jpg
Socket md jp manual.pdf
Mega Drive, US
Socket md us cover.jpg
Socket MD US Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, KR
Socket MD KR cover.jpg
Socket MD KR cart.jpg

Technical information

Main article: Socket/Technical information.



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