Considering that the online gaming sites are covering the event, I suppose I may as well, since I was there from the start.

I’ve been a Sega fan for a long time. So much so that I was only one of two people in my hometown who owned a Sega Master System. Oh sure, I owned the NES and all that came with that (the Master System came as a gift from Grandma), but I was well aware of Shinobi, Space Harrier, Altered Beast and Phantasy Star long before many of my peers.

I got the Genesis in 1989 for my 13th birthday, again being the first to adopt Sega’s new system. It was a short-lived “victory” for me as two of my grandparents died a week later (my Mom’s Mom and my Dad’s Dad), so I had a blissfully unaware week prior to those losses, and in the long run, playing games after the fact kept my mind focused on other things. While this is a little more personal than I usually delve on here, I figured it was only fair to share the context of where i was in that time in my life.

Of course, I got Altered Beast as the pack-in game, and I thought it was amazing. I had also gotten Space Harrier II, Last Battle and Revenge of Shinobi shortly after, followed by Ghouls ‘N’ Ghosts and Golden Axe. Those games alone kept me busy for months, and popular in the neighborhood.

There were other titles as time went by: Phantasy Star II, and things really got good when Ghostbusters and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker came out. This is around the time when the Sega’s slogan “Genesis Does What Nintendon’t” came into play, and in so many ways, Sega really did, and I followed every update breathlessly in my Sega Visions magazine, long before the internet.

And then Sonic the Hedgehog came out.

It’s hard for a lot of current gamers to remember that at one time, Sonic really was cool. He was fast, well animated, had bright, colorful levels and catchy music. He was the only “mascot character” that stood up to Mario and lived, not to mention still survived. To add to the excitement, Sega put out awesome versions of Spider-Man and X-Men and Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Aladdin, proving that decent games based off of licensed characters could actually be made.

But the Genesis was also home to a lot of unigue types of games and influences as well. They had a ton of more Japanese style games from third-parties such as the brutally hard Target Earth or Valis III. Sega also brought out ToeJam & Earl and Streets of Rage.

I initially held out on getting a Sega CD, but I remember good titles such as Sonic CD, the amazing music in Ecco the Dolphin, and the hideous FMV games such as the hilariously bad Dracula Unleashed. As bad as that game was, I had a soft spot for the over the top acting.

I avoided the 32X. I just couldn’t justify the thing, or another blocky mushroom-shaped piece added on to my system.

When I moved from home a few years back, Dad accidentally threw out my Genesis during some cleaning. I managed to have a few games left over, but alas, that part of my gaming archive was gone.

I still have a soft spot for the Genesis. I still have a sense of bemusement seeing Mario and Sonic duke it out in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, as I view it as a means to “settle the score” from the real “Console Wars”. The “Nintendo Vs. Sega” battles were a hot point of contention among the middle-school crowds of my youth, and in some ways, it’s still kind of weird to see the two companies so “buddy-buddy” now.

The Genesis still survives. I downloaded Revenge of Shinobi off of the Wii’s Virtual Console service this morning, and I still remember the “infinite shurikens” code (it’s amazing the trivial tidbits of information that one retains). Earlier in the year, I bought Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection for my Xbox 360, and while it has a large majority of the system’s classic games, it doesn’t have them all. Sega was a juggernaut back in those days in terms of releasing titles. They didn’t do what Nintendo did. They did their own thing back in those days, and I doubt we’ll ever see that version of Sega again, outside of the Dreamcast days.

20 years later, I’m still playing Genesis games. And perhaps one day, the most die-hard of Nintendo fans that are still out there can set aside those differences, and “play nice” these days like Nintendo and Sega have, and see how the other half lived.

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Filed under: classic gamingsega gamingsega genesis