I was born in the late eighties, during the height of 8-bit technology and Nintendo’s stranglehold on the industry. I was fortunate enough to have grown up during the 16-bit console war, Nintendo versus Sega, No victors, only victims. It was awesome. I grew up in a Nintendo family; NES was the first console I ever played, and sure enough my older brother got a SNES too.
I can’t remember when, but around 1994 I had figured out that I wanted a Genesis. I was pretty competitive with my brother when it came to video games and he always seemed to beat me at them. Somehow I decided that if I had a Genesis my brother would lose his edge and I would have a clean start against him, not like on the SNES. Oh no, he had years of practice on the NES backing him up. If only I could get my hands on a Genesis… so I asked my Mom for it for Christmas. Apparently there was some sort of report on the news that video games were bad for your eyes and it directly took examples from the Genesis. This scared my Mom and she said I couldn’t have a Genesis because it would ruin my vision (forget Rainbow Road in Super Mario Kart!).
By the time ’95 rolled around I had played VectorMan at a store display in Toys R Us, my first real experience on the console. It was wicked. I’ll never forget how awesome it was when VectorMan literally exploded when he died. Don’t get me wrong, Mario kicks ass, but he doesn’t explode. So I begged for a Genesis for Christmas every year until 1997. I’ll never forget it because that was the year I asked for a Saturn instead. I played a Saturn at somebody’s house and decided it sucked, although I never got a chance to play Nights into Dreams which really looked awesome.
It was around this time I came up with a new idea, instead of trying to beat my brother with a Sega edge, I would go back and build my skills the same way he did. I started playing NES again, religiously. Before I knew it, consoles came and went and games changed in ways I couldn’t have predicted. Years later I realized that the NES skills I were honing were useless in the new games. Instead of closing the gap on my brother, I had enlarged it. Good thing I am really good at Cobra Triangle, I would think as we played DDR at an arcade. And so I more or less stuck with my NES and played next-gen games sort of in tandem. Never being quite good at the next-gen games.
And I still play NES to this day. With over one hundred games beaten, it is truly my favorite console. But it wasn’t smooth sailing with the NES, Sega behind me forever… I did attempt to buy a Genesis in 1999. I got a used Model 1 with a copy of Wolverine, but I couldn’t get it to work so I took it back. It was really a let down and I more or less forgot about ever having a Genesis. It just wasn’t meant to be. Fast forward to 2007, ten years of NES gaming later and I mop the floor with my brother at all 8-bit titles (he knows where to find me). He still has an edge on the SNES, but only on games like Super Mario World. I am unstoppable in any of the arcade titles. Now I am mostly “retired” from NES gaming. Thanks to emulation and flea markets I have played pretty much every NES game worth playing and many Famicom ones too. I decided to take a break from NES gaming (actually a second break, but that’s another story).
October 2007. I figured it might bring back my interest if I got some new games. Off to the thrift stores and pawn shops searching for NES games… until (gasp!) I found a Sega Genesis Model 2 for $15 with two controllers, hookups and a copy of Shadowrun (free with console)! I didn’t buy it. I went home, mulled over it for about three days before deciding I was an idiot and the only remedy was to get my Sega on. Now was my chance! This time it’s different, I know how to clean games and solder! Anything is fixable! I can finally own a Sega Genesis! So I bought it with some games. Sonic 2 ( $4 loose), Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing ($2 loose), Mortal Kombat ($5 complete), Tongue of the Fatman for Mega Drive ($5 complete), the Japanese version of Hellfire ($4 loose), & Streets of Rage ($4 loose).
I took it home and anxiously hooked it up. Carefully I pushed in my copy of Streets of Rage, deciding that it would be the first game I played. I reached for the power button and pushed it to hear a nice click. It didn’t work. I was sitting there looking at a blank screen. I tried channel three, channel four, switching channels on the RF adapter, cleaned the cart, blew into the console… nothing. I didn’t even see any LEDs or anything. Now, I had never used a Model 2 so I was unsure if there even were power LEDs. I was pissed that I got another dud console, but that soon passed as I decided to bust out a Multi Meter and figure out where the power was being lost. Checked the power adapter… works… plugged it back into the system… power on… and…
Welcome to the Next Level.