Features Stories from the Book of Genesis

Stories from the Book of Genesis Vol. 24

1989, during a international tradition known to some as Christmas, a Genesis was born and used for the fist time. Well, maybe not “a” Genesis. Plenty of Sega Genesis and Mega Drive consoles were unwrapped happily and plugged in. One such lucky system was named Victoria by a family in Northeast Ohio. A family of seven: two parents, four brothers, and one lone sister to round it up. Victoria was taken to the basement where she sat for a good eleven years. The two eldest brothers, along with father, set her up and played Sonic The Hedgehog, among other games. The two younger brothers watched and then played for the day. For some strange reason, this simple Christmas would become a prologue to years of friendships, fights, contests, parties, and other events.

Victoria’s christening was followed in the next three years by games like Taz-Mania, ToeJam & Earl, Castle of Illusion, and very happily Sonic 2. As the younger brothers aged, they played more as the older two played less and eventually moved out. The sister, the eldest of them all, didn’t seem to be the biggest fan, which did not waver Victoria at all. She had at least four people to make happy for years. Even mother would sneak in a game of Sonic every now and then.

Victoria soon was given a friend of her own. A Sega CD was brought in Christmas 1992, and the four brothers were soon introduced to Columns, and its soundtrack, which is memorable to this day. Golden Axe and Streets of Ragealso became part of the gaming line up for those days after school or those weekends where there was yard work to be done, but everyone refused to listen to father’s cries. Sherlock Holmes attempted to enter the fray, but he was soon collecting dust in a bookcase. Despite this, Victoria was very happy to have made a good friend in Sega CD.

Unfortunately, the Sega CD died in 1995. One morning it was found dead where it lay. No one knows why. Suspicions abounded as to why this happened. Had mother dropped it and feigned ignorance? Had an extra shock of electricity fried the fragile electronics inside? Had the youngest put a sandwich in it thinking it would play? The truth is unknown. Sega CD sits with me now, for reasons to be explained later. After careful consideration, and an electronic autopsy, we still don’t know a damn thing.

I personally met Victoria in mid 1996. After my brother had made friends with the youngest of those four brothers who owned her, I was soon also coming over since the three of us had a similar affinity for the little black box. The first time we spent the night over, I ran right to Victoria and played whatever was in. The Jungle Book music played as the youngest brother wondered what the hell was wrong with me. I was so happy to meet another Genesis fan that I became rude for a bit.

Games that got a bit too much playtime for the next two years included Battletoads/Double Dragons, World Series Baseball, X-Men and Spider-Man and Taz in Escape From Mars. Late nights with a copy of ToeJam & Earl were common, as was playing Demolition Man. Even games like Garfield became THE conversational topic. Taking turns sleeping over for the next couple years was common – help with the Saturday paper route the next morning, come back with $5, play more Genesis. One major highlight of these Saturday mornings was when on route, the second child found a copy of Joshua (of all games) in the snow. No label, no box. Just a blank piece of plastic that we were afraid to put in Victoria. But she played it like a dream, or as well as Joshua can play, I guess. Even when we found a Menacer at a flea market, Victoria got to try it out first before I took it home.

Victoria loved any game that she played, and there was nary a time where a cartridge refused to play. Some even refused to play on any other system, with Castle of Illusion being the main culprit. We’d take it home to play during the week, and we thought it had died. We’d take it back the next week, and Victoria goes at it as if it was brand new! Love… the only word to use is love.

Quests of Sonic 3 & Knuckles were also common. The third brother quickly unlocked all the emeralds, and the youngest would become a master at the game as well later on. The youngest soon developed a real skill at playing pretty much any game he could and becoming the best we’d seen within one or two weeks, except for perhaps Beavis and Butthead, which became the scorn upon cartridge because I HATE BACKSTAGE AT THE GWAR CONCERT! Mid-to-late 1998, the games dwindled down as the Genesis itself phased out. Toy Story was picked up cheap at K-Mart, but it didn’t matter much. We still met up with the family despite not having many new games to try out anymore.

Christmas Day, 1998. An N64 was pulled out of a box under the same tree that bequeathed Victoria nine years earlier. After much celebration, the three youngest brothers bounded down the stairs and unplugged Victoria. She couldn’t have seen in coming. All she knew was the happiness she had created for almost a decade. Suddenly, she was thrown onto a broken couch and ignored as the N64 played Super Mario 64. If she had eyes, they’d have surely watered.

Luck had struck the downtrodden console though, as the two other brothers were ready to sell off Victoria. The youngest, Joe, unable to fend off his brothers selling off ALL the games to pay for new N64 games, took Victoria and hid her away along with all her proper cables and controllers and a copy of John Madden Football, which no one even knew was sitting in an old desk until a few years later. The games were gone (well, except for a choice few. “What the hell is ‘Joshua?’ You keep it”) but Joe and us did the best we could do to enjoy our new systems, and I had received an PSX the same day and started on my own adventure.

Years go by. Victoria sits in an old desk in the basement along with Joshua, World Series Baseball, and a torn and stickered copy of Demolition Man. The N64 is sold a year later for a Dreamcast, and it begins again. Later, a Gamecube comes along in Christmas 2001, and the Dreamcast is sold soon after for games again. Then one summer day in 2002, I find Shining Force II, and my life is changed. We soon come over to show Joe our new discovery. He digs for Victoria since I felt it was the right thing to do.

Victoria would have cried again at the look on Joe’s face as he brought her out and plugged it in. We put in World Series Baseball, and it plays just like it did back in 1994. Joe is content, I am happy because I know just what this damn thing use to really mean to us. Joe plays Shining Force II. Joe soon builds up a bit of a collection again, as me and my brother find games from his old collection. Victoria, beaten, painted on, smeared, put away, widowed, dusty, and after all, still playing.

Fast forward to two months ago. Victoria rests comfortably on an end table in Joe’s room. The basement has since been used as a bedroom and storage, and things cannot be the way they once were in that respect. These days, Victoria wasn’t played as much as she could have been. She’d been known to have her moments of freezing, forgetting to use certain colors, or even just not staring up at all. A lone copy of Mortal Kombat sits in. Next to it is 6-Pack and Beggar Prince.

Joe and I go upstairs for some old Golden Axe. We start it up. Blank screen after blank screen hit us. 6-Pack was known to be a smart ass, so we tried Mortal Kombat. Nothing. Beggar Prince? No. I panic on the inside, as Joe kind of already knows what’s going on. I mention it could be a faulty cable, but he simply shakes his head. I offer to run home and grab some cleaner and a couple standby carts (Sonic 2, Kid Chameleon). Joe told me to stop and held his chin as his head lowered.

“She’s gone…”

I knew it too. He named it Victoria at that moment, for the British monarch known for longevity. We bagged her up, cables, controllers and all. We put it away in a dresser drawer, not knowing exactly what to do. Joe had given me the Sega CD years earlier in an attempt to repair it. I offered it back, but he told me to keep it since I never have had a Sega CD anyway. How nice.

A weekly bonfire is common for out group of friends, and as we were getting ready to go, we decided it needed a fitting funeral. Much like the ninjas of feudal Japan, where the Genesis came from all those years before. As we got the fire going and we sat down, Joe pulled out the bag. We had told no one else of this (not that they would have cared *sigh*). Joe threw in the cables and we watched them melt. A broken controller followed. The other one was responsive, but years of slamming had made “C” button a useless piece of the whole, so it was the next to go.

Then Victoria was brought out. I didn’t want to do it, but it was needed. She had an amazing run, and it was time. No keeping in a drawer for years, no being dissected for parts. We both grabbed it and placed it the best we could in. We sat and watched as it hid away forever in the flames. After the fire was dead and we all set up to go home, I reached in and found a piece of metal that once held the circuit board. I wanted to take it, but instead we put it with the rest on a small piece of driftwood and put it in Lake Erie and watched in sail to Canada.

We looked at each other, and walked to the car.

Victoria, you bitch and provider! We loved you as much as we could love an inanimate object and you dying like this is complete and utter bullshit. You’re not supposed to die! A proper funeral is what you deserved and what you got. Life is different now, and so it shall remain. I still have my little guy who’s happily been providing for me since ’93, but his life could too be coming to and end. When that day comes, I’ll know who I’m calling and where I’m going. Good night Victoria, a Model 1 Genesis that did more for more people that anyone could have considered at any damn brainstorming meeting.

Leave a Comment