From Christmas 1990 until I received a Playstation, I was a Sega kid.
The NES my father brought home a year or two before had converted me to the ways of video games, but Sega’s 16-bit attitude took it to the next level.
This time it was my mum’s doing that put another console in my lucky hands. I found this out the hard way unfortunately.
After unwrapping the Genesis I went over to say my thank you and then moved on to the rest as I knew I’d most likely have to wait for present-opening time to be over before it could be setup and enjoyed.
I then noticed my mum had left the room. My dad told me she was upset and I went to find her in sitting in a chair crying. She explained she had saved extra to make sure I would get a Genesis for X-mas but didn’t get to see me open it. Christmas moves fast I guess.
Growing up I realize that life is more complicated than the way we remember it. Life is hard, marriage is hard, and since my parents did eventually divorce perhaps there were other elements causing stress on that particular day. Or maybe I was just a spoiled brat!
Anyways, not having a job in elementary school meant I was a one-console kid. Fanboyism was rampant and passionate debates were fought on playgrounds over which was the superior system. Looking back it’s plain to see the SNES had superior visuals, more expressive sound, and a larger quantity of truly great games. But that didn’t stop me from leading a group of followers to bow to the black plumes of smoke the day our school caught on fire, praising the “Sega Gods”.
I was firmly on team Sega. I rocked a Game Gear that ate 6 AA batteries every few hours. I played half-baked 32X games and scrubbed the connectors with an eraser because Sega Tech Support told me that would get rid of the red tint on the screen. I will say, Virtua Fighter felt like a great port.
The Sega CD was the first method I had to listen to CD music in my room. I felt pretty badass listening to Jeff Foxworthy’s album when I was supposed to be sleeping.
Sherlock Holmes and many of the other Sega CD games were trash with horrendous loading times. But Wing Commander and Snatcher absolutely made up for every lame FMV game. Playing those games felt like a unique experience I couldn’t get on a SNES (I didn’t have a great PC at the time). They used the power of the CD medium to accentuate an already solid foundation.
And of course I couldn’t talk about the Genesis without mentioning my all-time favorite game: Shadowrun
A real-time RPG set in a cyberpunk world with fantasy elements of Magic, Orks, Trolls, Elves, Dwarves, and even Dragons. Hire runners part-time or permanently to infiltrate corporations in the physical world or jack in through cyberspace for a completely different interface and combat system. Explore seven hubs with a large cast of characters for hire and a great variety of quest-givers known as Mr Johnsons.
I loved this game. When I saw their were books based on the series I just about shit myself. I had no clue it was based on a pen and paper tabletop RPG.
The best part of this game was the random mission generator. Every one of the quest givers could hand out an unlimited amount of missions of varying difficulty and financial reward. The main quest was interesting enough, but the real fun was creating your own stories on the side with the characters you chose to bring into battle.
The Genesis wasn’t great but if Wing Commander and Snatcher justified the Sega CD, then Shadowrun alone justified and provided many years of gaming on that gigantic 3-button controller.
This Christmas I’d like to say thanks to the parents who provided me with a wonderful way to stay inside and made Christmases so memorable. Sorry for making you cry, but remember, if a child is spoiled, whose fault is it really?
Oh jeez I completely forgot about this thing
Merry Christmas from the shadows
A few of the favs
- Wing Commander
- Sonic 2
- Sonic 1
- Desert Strike
- Earthworm Jim
- Streets of Rage
- Kid Chameleon
- WWF Raw and Royal Rumble