My Genesis began its life in 1991, when my older brother got it for Christmas. I can tell because it came with Sonic The Hedgehog, but sadly I don’t remember playing it because I wasn’t born yet! Fast forward to 1995. I can remember having only two systems, the NES and the Genesis. I can also remember watching my brother and my dad trying to beat Top Gun but always failing at the refueling part. One day, my brother – while he was playing Super Mario Bros. – says “that’s it. I’m playing the Genesis.” I thought to myself “what’s a Genesis? Does it have something to do with the Bible?” Then my brother brings out a sleek black system with the words “16-BIT” on it. After watching him play a game with a blue rat for about an hour he finally gets off, and I quickly made my move. I put in the cartridge, grabbed the controller and turned it on. I saw little white letters, and then it started up. Even though I only played it for about fifteen minutes, it was the greatest fifteen minutes of my two-year-old life. Then my brother came in, so I quickly looked at the cartridge. I couldn’t read it then, but those big letters are forever burned into my memory. SONIC! For about the next year, as soon as my brother would leave for school I would play Genesis until he got home. By 1996, I could beat Green Hill Zone with my eyes closed.
But then it happened! On Christmas day, 1996, we got another console which was also black. It was called the N64. So I immediately abandoned the Genesis and ran to the N64, playing Tony Hawks Pro Skater and Banjo Kazooie until I fell asleep. But, then one day my brother came over to me and made me a proposition. He said, “Ryan, I’ll give you the Genesis if you let me have the N64.” I agreed and quickly ran to the Genesis after playing Sonic for about an hour. My mom then came in and said she’d take me up to Funcoland so I could get a new game, and I was so happy. On the way up I was holding my $20 dollars, confidently thinking about what I was going to buy. I finally got up there, and it felt like I had died and gone to Genesis heaven: shelf after shelf filled with Genesis games! I quickly picked out a game called Toy Story but it cost forty bucks, so I put in down. Then I saw it – an in-box model 1 Sega CD… and only for $20! I quickly asked my mom, who then asked the guy behind the counter. He told her that it was another console, so my mom then said no, and we left. I was crying in the car, still holding my $20.
A few months later, around 1998, I was hit with devastating news. While I was playing Sonic my dad comes in and says, “Ryan you have too many systems. We have to get rid of one, so were taking the Genesis.” I started crying, saying that I still played it, but my dad unplugged the Genesis for the final time. I said goodbye to it and started crying.
Now, fast forward to March 2008. I picked up a NES off eBay and began playing SMB like there was no tomorrow. A week or two after I got it my dad said, “Ryan help me clean out the basement.” I complied and began helping him. I kept thinking that maybe I would find the lost NES or something. Then my dad yelled for me. he said, ” Hey Ryan, look what I found!” At first I thought it was the NES, so I ran over and looked. In my dad’s hands sat a dusty model 1 Sega Genesis. I was amazed! It had the controller and all the hookups, and it still had Sonic in the cartridge slot, which hadn’t been removed since I last touched it.
After we got done cleaning, my dad helped hook it up to a TV. I turned the power on, got a blank screen, switched it off, turned it on again, and got another blank screen. I asked my dad what the problem might be, so we opened up the cartridge slot, and I saw that there was corrosion on a quarter of the contacts. The rest of the day was spent trying to fix it, doing everything I could think of, until my dad suggested I put some rubbing alcohol on it it. I quickly ran to my bathroom, got the rubbing alcohol, and put it on all the contacts. I then put Sonic in and turned it on – another blank screen. Around eight o’clock, I decided to take apart the Genesis. After cleaning every single contact I tried it again and got yet another blank screen. I was getting ready to give up, but then it happened. I started messing with the RF switch, and when I moved it up little white letters suddenly popped up on the screen. I tried it again and the white letters stayed this time, followed by the SEGA logo and then SONIC was working again! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Unfortunately, it didn’t last for long, as fifteen minutes later it froze and gave me an error message.
For the next few months I kept trying the rubbing alcohol and getting the same result. Then during the summer, I came across a forum on eBay that said if you put rubbing alcohol on the game and put it out in the sun for about an hour, it should take off the corrosion. After trying this for about the whole summer I began thinking maybe this Genesis was really dead. I then began thinking of what to do with it. One day, while I was trying to get it working, I got mad and threw the Genesis. Since I had lost the screws for the bottom, it hit a wall and the power light went off. Now, I realized I had a completely broken Genesis.
By now it was August, and I already ordered a replacement console with a few games, but my mom called up a place that specialized in Genesis games. My friend and I ran up to this place, and when we got up there we found a whole row with Genesis games. I quickly picked out a loose cartridge of Ecco The Dolphin, paid for it, and left. We already had the replacement console, and the other Genesis was packed away in a drawer. I got home and made sure the game worked before I started playing. After a while I told my friend that we should try the other Genesis. So I put some rubbing alcohol on it and plugged it in, and then I put Ecco in. For some reason, the power light was on at first, and even though I got a blank screen I tried it again, and it started up perfectly. My friend said, “well I guess its working.” I told him to just wait fifteen minutes. After he left I tried it again, and WAIT A MINUTE IT STARTED UP! I decided to try Sonic. and it started up too. I couldn’t believe it! I started changing the games one after another and kept getting the same result. Ecco was played for an hour, and then I decided to give my Genesis a rest.
The next day I begged my mom to take me back up to that place. When she finally did I picked up a complete copy of Mortal Kombat 3. Now its April 2009 and my Genesis is doing great! It has a great library of games. Plus, I also tracked down a vintage model 1 Sega CD in the box, and I also have a boxed 32X too. Looking back now, I always get a tear in my eye when I look at my Genesis, knowing that at one time it was left for dead, and it’s now living again. Since I only got to play Sonic back then, I can finally experience all of what the Genesis has to offer.