The Sega Genesis holds the dubious prestige of being my very first video game system. First bought for my brother during the Christmas of ’91, I don’t think my parents realized how much a rather harmless purchase would impact their second son born two years later. My childhood consisted of the Genesis and a passed-down NES from my aunts to waste countless hours of my childhood years with great classics. And while the NES is an excellent system in its own right, back in the day ours didn’t work too well. At times it was VERY frustrating to get it to work, having to constantly blow carts and using the outdated cleaning kit to try and get the games to work. And besides, when I finally did get the game to work, it would happen to be something like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? , where I’d wander around aimlessly trying to figure out what to do. So the NES wasn’t exactly my personal favorite as a kid. When it comes to my childhood experiences, Genesis really did what Nintendidn’t.
The Sega Genesis was a Model 1 Hi-Definition Graphics with 16-bit on the front and a broken reset button. We had two controllers, one was the later six-button controller shaped like the three-button controller, and a large, clunky, and hardly functioning three-button ASCII arcade stick that had buttons that would stick. Looking back, God only knows how we even played with that controller, as half the time you would have to pound the buttons to get them to work, ha ha! But good times were had on the machine anyway, and it’s one that still kicking about today, although I did manage to do away with that barely useable Arcade Stick.
I spent much of my youth playing games like Sonic The Hedgehog , Mortal Kombat I and II , Shining in the Darkness, NBA Jam, Paperboy, Wheel of Fortune , and Ms. Pac-Man , most of the time with my brother, as we would sit on the bottom-half of our bunk beds and play on a tiny eight inch or so TV. Looking back, oddly enough we never did get into arguments over who would use what controll er. He had a preference for that oversized arcade stick compared to the smaller six-button controller. Mind you I’m about a foot shorter and a hundred pounds lighter than my brother, so really he was the only one who had enough strength to operate it efficiently, ha ha!
My brother and I made a great team playing the Genesis. There were definitely some great times in the co-op mode of Great Circus Mystery , I would usually be Minnie and he would be Mickey, but we both had a passion for Disney so it was all good in the end. Or the times when we would play Paperboy and repeat all the stupid things he would say in-game, with such corny jokes as “hey, are you dizzy yet?”” when he crashed into the casual break dancer on the sidewalk or “let’s see you hang-ten! ” when he collided with the skater in the middle of the street. Or the one time I watched him play Ms. Pac-Man to see how far we could get into the game before it ended (Little did we know that it DIDN’T end) only to get to level fourteen and finally say enough was enough.
But the best times were to be had when we were playing against each other. I remember back when my brother and I would play Mortal Kombat II against each other in versus mode. Since I was a little brat, I used to love to do things that would irk my brother. He loved Johnny Cage, and would always choose him. And for some reason, he HATED it when I would pick the same character as he did. So whenever he picked Johnny Cage, I would pick him as well, just to watch him blow up and get mad at me. And then there were the epic games of Wheel of Fortune , in which my brother would ALWAYS be the only white male player that you could choose (Who oddly enough had a striking resemblance to my brother), and I’d end up having to be the Asian lady or something like that, and that annoyed the crap out of me. And he would usually win too! Boy was I jealous when one time he managed to solve the final puzzle and won that brand new car! And who could forget the most epic of showdowns in NBA Jam ? My brother would pick the Orlando Magic, manning Scott Skiles, and I would take to the court with hot shot Scotti Pippen from the Bulls. The games were usually close, and during one particularly heated after all the dunks had been made and the BOOMSHAKALAKAs said, it c ame down to the game being tied with my brother having ball possession. There was only a few seconds on the clock remaining, just enough time to make that From-the-other-end-of-the-court shot. He presses the button, it travels, and IT’S GOOD! Darn you Scott Skiles and your impeccable three-point abilities! It cost me the game that day. Even today when I try to play my brother, I usually get trumped by his superior shooting abilities.
While most of my early gaming was with my brother, I would have my solo adventures on the Genesis as well. A particularly fond memory was when I first beat the arcade mode in Mortal Kombat . I remember shouting to my brother to come see that I had reached Goro with Liu Kang, and then even Shang Tsung! We were surprised at how old he looked, considering he was so young in Mortal Kombat II . And when I finally managed to deliver that last flying kick with Liu Kang to send Shang Tsung onto his back and into a puff of smoke, we happily cheered to see the end credits being displayed.
Or the time I managed to get all six chaos emeralds in Sonic 1 . You see, our aunt had given us the level select code of up-down-left-right, hold A and press start at the title screen so we could play Star Light Zone (My brother’s favorite level) or whatever else we wanted to do in the game. And my brother loved going straight to the Final Zone and beating Robotnik. Well one day I decided I had enough of watching Robotnik juggle those Chaos Emeralds at the end, and used the level select cheat to go to the Special Stage first. I nabbed the first one with relative ease, and then proceeded to play through the rest of the game and attain all of the chaos emeralds. Boy was I surprised to see a frustrated Robotnik at the end this time! That was about as good as it got though when it came to me actually winning at games.
I would attempt to play Shining in the Darkness (in which I named the hero after my brother) but always end up just going to the tavern to listen to the music. And when I did try to go into the labyrinth, I would end up getting killed by some weak slime monsters because I had no idea where to go. The town was nice and sunny, and just fine for me.
The years slowly passed by, but our Genesis never stopped being played. While we did end up getting a plethora of systems during the 32-bit days (Nintendo 64, Playstation, and the Dreamcast!), the Genesis was still a very faithful companion through the years. We managed to secure more and more games through yard sales over the years, including McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 , and many others. And it led me to never buying a PS2 or Xbox (systems I still don’t own, and don’t care to own), as there was always a steady and cheap supply of games to be had on the five systems we already had. I didn’t even get a GameCube until 2006, a few years it had been out. To top it off, a friend of ours gave me a Nomad for free, saying it ate too many batteries and wasn’t worth it. Boy was I excited to hear that it was worth money! That didn’t stop me from using it though on long car rides and vacations to beat Eternal Champions with Larcen and the entire league of the NBA in NBA Jam .
Fast forward to today. After years of playing lots of Sega Genesis, NES, Nintendo 64, and Dreamcast, I dived deeper and deeper into Classic gaming as a whole, acquiring a Sega Saturn, Turbografx-16, Sega CD, 32X, CDX, and countless games upon many different platforms. As I got more and more interested in classic gaming, I was led here to Sega-16 after numerous searches on the Genesis and specific games I was interested in playing. It was here that I found my love of writing articles and reviews, which led me to write for the short-lived Classic Video Game Magazine fanzine, resulting in my work being published. My joining of the community here at Sega-16 also led me to Digital Press, where I ended up befriending many of the regulars there in real life, even leading me to attain a job at a classic video game store close to me. These are things I never expected to happen for just liking classic video games. Now mind you I’m not a basher of modern games, as I also have a 360 and Wii, but they’ll never stand up to the greatness and overall levels of quality set by the classic games of my youth.
So here’s to you Genesis, for helping me set my life on a wonderful path! I hope to make many more memories with you once I have children, and hopefully my good-old Model 1 will still be alive and kicking by then! Thanks for the memories SEGA.