Sophia lands on U.S. shores
While the Japanese release of Meta Fight appeared to have a solid marketing campaign behind it (toys, giveaways, and even headlining articles in the Sunsoft monthly fan publication), Blaster Master had very little visibility, other than the generous coverage given to it by Nintendo Power, Video Games & Computer Entertainment Magazine, Electronics Gaming Monthly, a number of other videogame print publications, and of course, word of mouth. Although there wasn't apparently much budget on given to the marketing team for Blaster Master, there were ideas that were tossed around to bring Blaster Master into a stronger market presence. Several product marketing ideas were proposed and even executed, although they never quite got off the ground.
One such concept, which influenced the placement of a caption on the back of the Blaster Master retail box, is explained below by Steve Gehrke, a former Sunsoft of America developer who worked on the Blaster Master NES project:
"I can explain the "Authentic Arcade Action!" caption on the BM game box.
When BM was in development for the NES a shortened version of the game was developed for the Nintendo VS arcade system. The VS arcade system was a fullsize arcade machine that played NES games. Both the NES and VS versions of BM were planned to be released simultaneously.
However, the VS version was cancelled at the last moment due to poor location test results. The BM gameplay didn't lend itself very well to coin-op due to the fact that you could play for hours on one quater. Every effort was made to tweak the gameplay and turn BM into more of an arcade game but failed.
At this time the NES version of BM was already manufactured and on a slow boat from Japan."