Now that we’ve all bought our flowers and chocolates, we can go back to using our money for what really matters: Genesis games! February is the month of love, and what better way to close it out than by sharing the 16-bit love with our readers?
Flicky By Ken Horowitz
As much as I tire of seeing it over and over on different compilations, I cannot seem to escape Flicky. Recently, the little blue bird flapped his wings at me through Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, and it’s almost as though Sega knew that putting an achievement there would entice me back into playing it. See, my problem with Flicky is that it’s one of those games I mastered so thoroughly that it bores me to tears to play it now. Back in the mid ’80s, gamers at the Bally’s Aladdin’s Castle in Hollywood, Florida knew well to fear my chick-saving prowess. I could go seemingly for hours on a single quarter, and while I was nowhere near a Billy Mitchell level of dominance, no one was my equal. Playing it means that I have to go the distance, and simply getting the achievement and exiting is not an option. No, I have to take it all the way, and when I next look at the clock, I’ve spent the better afternoon with this blue bastard.
Damn you Sega… damn you and you and your kitties and birdies.
NHL ’94 By Vince Thornburg
So, this new Play-N-Trade opened up near me, and I check it out with a friend from out of town and his buddy who tags along wherever he goes. He’s FUN! Anydangway, we enter the store and friend goes towards the SNES/Genesis section and drools at the selection. I notice that all of the TV’s either have PS3 or 360 games on them. I’m discouraged until I hear the familiar “Uh-Oh!” of Mickey Mania! I find the Genesis in the corner and get happy very quickly.
But this isn’t about Mickey Mania; it’s about me and the tag-along wanting to play something as out-of-towner looks at games. I’m told I can demo any game so I look and see his Genesis selection. I grab NHL ’94 and decide I should pick that, since hockey is the only sport these two really watch. I grab tagalong and tell him he’s facing me. He’s never played any hockey on the Genesis before, but he agrees. I start to set up the game and pick the Red Wings. I set him up to be the Hartford Whalers.
“NO! I want the Penguins”
Damn him! He somehow picked one of the best teams in the game! I tried to convince him otherwise:
“This is from 1994, see? The Whalers were undefeated in ’94! You’re too young to remember. You’ll win automatically!”
” I don’t care! I want the Penguins!”
“Here, look! These guys are Sharks! From California! Pick them!”
“I don’t wanna play!”
“FINE! Penguins it is!”
So, It’s Red Wings Vs. Penguins. The next screen reveals that we are both at seventy-five overall, so this should be more evenly matched (cause he’s a whiner who needs to have everything his way or he quits! Ooh, how very fourth grade of you! Uh-oh, the noon-aide is calling us back in for class! Recess is over!)
So, the game starts and I let him have the puck. As he skates towards my goal I suddenly go all Mutant League Hockey on him and just assault his players. One by one. As there all knocked out I score two quick goals then let him get the puck again and again. By the third period it was a 2-5 power play his favor as most of my roster was in the penalty box laughing at how I scored another goal with only two damn players!
Right before the game ends, out-of-towner has made his purchases and walks over to watch.
“The guy with two players”
“Oh, you suck “tag-along!” (Names have been changed to protect the idiotic)
I make a shot from the half-point line and claim total victory! Who cares that he never played before and that I tried to give him the Stanley Cup Champion Whalers? I don’t!
Sonic Spinball By Tom Briggs
February has been the second month in a row where I simply haven’t had much time for my beloved Genesis. I did, however, purchase Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection for the Xbox 360, and spent quite a bit of time playing Sonic Spinball of all games.
It started as a quick quest for some easy achievement points. After finishing the second level/board, I was stuck. I had to complete this game. Why? Because I never have. I always get to the last level, The Showdown, and something comes up. Back in the day, I’d leave my Genesis on pause, and try to return to it later. Again, fate would get in the way. My twin brother would turn it off to play a sports game, or my little sister would want to play the original Sonic, or my littlest brother would trip over the console, freezing my game. It NEVER worked out for me. Determined to right this wrong, I set out to defeat Sonic Spinball once and for all.
I still haven’t. I keep on dying and giving up. It’s not a difficult game, I’m just apparently a terrible gamer. Shocking, I know. Still, the game is plenty fun. Playing it now, I’ve noticed a lot of little faults that I ignored when I was younger. The Sonic character model is ugly as hell, the enemy models are mostly unlike anything else seen in the series, and there’s some pretty bad slowdown in certain parts of the game, a big no-no for the series. The game plays nothing like a standard pinball game, which is both good and bad. Retaining some platform elements helps separate the game from others like Devil’s Crush, but detract from the overall pinball experience. It is addictive though, and I’m going to keep playing well into March until I finally destroy the damn game!
Space Harrier II By Tom Lenting
In the twenty years that I’ve been a Sega fan, I somehow managed to miss Space Harrier. Did I miss much? Well, that’s hard to say, since I only managed to acquire a copy of Space Harrier II for the Genesis and that game didn’t age too well. The graphics look dated, the gameplay involves taking a lot of cheap hits and the story is nothing to write home about either (“the heroic Space Harrier has jettisoned into their time warp via intergalactic teleportation!”) Nevertheless, despite all its shortcomings I don’t think Space Harrier is a bad game. I actually like the cheap story, the decent tunes and the game manages to have some sort of charisma of its own – a sort of charm that most Sega games that are released nowadays desperately need.
Forgotten Worlds By Sebastian Sponsel
I was the first member of my family to walk away from my hometown where my entire family (grandparents, parents, and siblings) had lived for the last hundred years or so. The furthest a cousin of mine had moved was about a half-hour drive away. After several months of traveling around I found a job and an apartment and settled down a good four hundred kilometres from the city I had grown up in (for now, at least). What a surprise, then, when suddenly a few weeks back my sister announced that she decided to leave, too, and got a job offer in the same city as me! Of course, I offered to help her go apartment hunting, and she stayed with me for a couple of days.
So there we were, reunited in my small one room apartment, reminiscing about the old days. Her gaze wandered over to my DVD and video game rack, and suddenly she said “What – you still have THAT game?” The game in question was a sole, Japanese cartridge – box and manual have, unfortunately, been lost ages ago. It was one of our first games for the Mega Drive, back when we got it twenty years ago. All the others we had to trade back in when we wanted new games – my parents insisted. But when I moved out, I found that this cartridge, for some reason, was still in my possession. Somehow, we had completely forgotten about it.
We had spent much of our childhood years playing video games on the Mega Drive together. My sister had long grown out of that passion. But we were reminiscing and nostalgic, and so we decided to pop in the cartridge from our lost childhood days to blast our way once more though the Forgotten worlds.
By the way, the cartridge was the same, but the console was a different one! We played the same old Japanese cartridge, but for the first time with English texts! For the first time, we actually understood what items we bought, and what the screen texts read!
Truly, we were exploring long Forgotten Worlds…
Sonic Spinball image property of Chris Taylor.