Before I begin this story, a brief bit of background information is needed. Growing up, I had two Sega Genesis consoles. The first was my uncle’s, an original Model 1 he purchased a few days after launch in 1989. The second came in 1995; a Model 2 that my sister received for her eleventh birthday. The Model 1 stayed over in my uncle’s room and it never left. He even had a Sega CD unit for it. One of his friends once came over with it, and they played all night. When he left the following morning, he just forgot the thing here, game and all. I don’t get it either, but it is what it is, and he never came back for it (which may be either a good or bad thing, I’m still undecided).
Anyway, my uncle was always a bit of a Sega nut. The first console I ever played was his Sega Master System (which now proudly sits among my collection, complete with a number of accessories), and he always bought the newest Sega system on or right after launch. Genesis, Saturn, Dreamcast – I was always lucky enough to have the chance to play them in my own house right after their releases. In fact, I didn’t even know what the hell Nintendo was until 1991 or so, when I read about the Super NES in an issue of GamePro and just had to have one. But that’s another story for another day, for this is a tale about Genesisgate.
You see, after my sister got her Model 2, we never really played my uncle’s Model 1 anymore. The Model 2 was hooked up on our porch area, and it saw gameplay well into 1998, even after we received a Sony PlayStation. Then one day in 1999, it was packed up and shipped to a dreadful place: The Corner.
In the deepest, dankest corner of my basement there lays a messy pyramid of boxes and containers. This is where the old toys and games of our childhood went to loiter in storage and develop a horrible musty smell. It’s such a wildly messy, large, nearly inaccessible area that it has come to be known amongst the lore of my household as merely “The Corner.” Say “The Corner,” and everyone in this house instantly knows what you mean. So one fateful day a decade ago, I allowed my cherished Model 2 Genesis to disappear to our house’s version of purgatory uncontested, too taken with the luster of the PlayStation and N64 to care much.
Fast forward some seven, eight years later. It was in this time period that I was scooped up by the breezes of nostalgia and set out to put the old band back together. I gathered together and organized all my old systems and games (I had never believed in trading in games, thankfully) and realized I had a really nice collection. My SNES, my Saturn, my PlayStation, my Master System, an inherited Atari 2600, my Game Gear, my Game Boy, and well beyond; on top of all my then-contemporary games, I had a good number of systems and games. But one thing was missing, and it ate away at me; the Genesis. I had all these games for it, but I didn’t have the system to display amongst the others. I exist in a lucky household; the type of house where, after a good number of years have passed and technology becomes more advanced, old video games that my family members owned become mine by de facto, as they don’t care about them anymore. This is how I was able to score Tomba! and Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return from my sister, as she’s just completely apathetic about old games. My uncle, as well. Besides the aforementioned Master System giving, half my Saturn library comes from him not caring that I took his games. So, naturally, it’d be easy pickings for me to just ask for and take his old Model 1 to take its rightful place amongst my collection, right?
Feeling all the confidence in the world, I approached him in his room one day. His Sega Genesis was still hooked up in the shelf underneath his TV, I shit you not, despite no one touching it in close to a decade. Caked under an inch of dust and slapped atop the Sega CD, it just sat there, ripe for the taking. “Hey, can I have your Genesis?”
“Okay, I… what?”
He repeated what he had just said, and it dumbfounded me.
“Why? Why not? No one plays it anymore and you have no games for it. Just give it to me.”
“No, I don’t want to.”
“You’re not getting it. Give it up.”
And so, resigned to defeat, I left. What more could I do? I sensed he was being difficult just for the sake of being difficult, but there’s not much I could do. I was sans-Genesis, and it was killing my strict organizational OCD to no end. Then I remembered — the Model 2!
In The Corner.
One day a year or two prior, my sister and I had attempted to unearth the Genesis, to free it from its tomb. That didn’t go over too well. We made even more of a mess, didn’t find it, and got yelled at; forbidden to ever approach The Corner again. Another expedition down there for me would have to be done under strict secrecy so no one would be the wiser. And so it was that, over the course of roughly a month that summer, I would sneak downstairs in efforts to find the old, neglected Model 2. The Corner would taunt me each time I did so. You must understand what it takes to access The Corner in the first place. The front portion is blocked off by a long abandoned outside swing seat, the type old folks sit on. That means you have to shimmy between a rack of fishing lines and a shelf of non-perishables, and then you’re in the belly of the beast. Box on top of box, ripped black trash bags of stuffed animals, a four-foot stack of board games. And here it was that I meticulously dug and searched, hoping upon hope to find my prize. I found many items from my childhood down there, but I didn’t find the Genesis.
Then I realized one day where it must be. The last box. Right on the bottom, right in the very corner, underneath a gaggle of big, heavy boxes. There was no way I’d be able to get to it without making a considerable mess and noise, so I did what any logical person would do: I tore a hole in its side and lunged my arm in.
Kneeling atop two air conditioners (as they, too, were banished to this awful place) and contorting my body to reach, I groped and molested many an object, none obviously a Sega Genesis. Finally, I came to a cardboard box, and began to extract it. I saw unmistakable logos — a Sega… Menacer. Oh. But oh well, I thought, might as well take it anyway, so I tore that bastard out of there. But that was it. I just couldn’t get my arm further in that large box, and tearing a bigger hole would risk quite a verbal lashing if anyone ever found out. So, depressed, I retreated, but at least I wasn’t empty handed. The Sega Menacer took its place amongst my collection, though I haven’t played with it at all since like, 1996.
About a month later, I just got sick of not having a Genesis and said the hell with it. There was a listing on eBay for a Model 1 going for ten bucks. No hook ups or controllers, but I already had all those, so I ordered it. A day after I ordered, the seller informed me that there was a slight problem with the controller ports, but it should be easily fixed. When it finally came in, it was a glorious sight; finally a new Genesis console for me to play and sit where it belongs. I took a look at the controller port and my stomach turned a little; the pins were bent to all hell. Easily fixed though, I bent them back into place. I joyously set it up and went to town with my old games.
It took about a month for me to realize something was slightly off with this Genesis. After seeing an image of a Genesis online, I realized my new system was missing the ‘High Definition Graphics’ text across its top, and the ’16-bit’ wording was an off-color. Realizing this must have been one of the infamous systems with inferior sound and the like, I lamented for all of a minute before realizing it was a very fixable problem.
So I swapped it with my uncle’s old Model 1. No one the wiser, no one who’d even care. It has sat there all this time, and I believe it likely will until the end of time, as Captain Spite never cared about playing it again in the first place. It sits there atop the Sega CD (which is broken, by the way. Believe me, if it worked I would have snatched it up somehow as well. I brought it to my room not too long ago in efforts to get it to work, but no go. If anyone could help with that I’d really appreciate it, but I digress.)
But this story has an even happier ending, as well. You see, earlier this year, I finally conquered The Corner. One day I had all the time in the world, as everyone was gone for the day, so I schooled it and made it my bitch. Brilliant stacking, ingenious moving, I was on top of my game that day and easily came to The Bottom Box. It was here I was able to finally find and extract the Model 2 Genesis, freeing it from its tomb and bringing it back to its throne as it so deserved. I was able to put everything back perfectly and, to the unknowing eye, The Corner is just as big a threat as it’s ever been.
So, my collection is that more complete. I must admit, finding and reading Sega-16 back in 2005 is what inspired me to go on my nostalgia bender in the first place. It was a gateway to me doing all of this, along with buying many new games and scoring one hell of a deal just one week ago: an NES, four controllers, a Zapper, and twenty-seven games for fifty bucks. And this is just the beginning, hopefully I can only go on to amass more.