Life Lessons Learned from Video Games #4: A Love Letter to Old School Sega

Though I have very little time to just kick back and play games like when I was a kid, I still follow the culture and play when I can.  I do have a current-gen PS3 but I find the most joy playing the games from my youth.  As I said in previous posts, I started with an Atari PC (and was roundly mocked by all the Nintendo kids), but eventually got an NES for Christmas.  I loved the system and played its games religiously.  Nintendo was so dominant, I didn’t even know what the “Sega Master System” was until I got a Sega Game Gear and it came with an attachment that let me play Master System games.

Game Gear
This IS my original Game Gear. I fell in love with Sega after playing it.

Shortly after acquiring my Game Gear in the early-mid 90s I discovered the Sega Genesis.  Unlike many, I don’t recall ever seeing the “Nintendon’t” or “Blast Processing” commercials.  I do remember seeing Sonic the Hedgehog and Streets of Rage 2 on the demo unit at Target.  The Genesis looked cool and the games were a lot of fun in the store.  I was sold.  I pawned my NES, all my games, and used some birthday money to buy a Sega Genesis (with Streets of Rage 2 included!!)  I loved the system, and began a rabid support of Sega.

Genesis Games
NES fans…I have nearly every great, classic NES game…and I think this collection is every bit as classic and no where near as complete…

In the early-to-mid-90s gamers were divided into Sega people and Nintendo people…I was a Sega person.  I played the fighting games, the Mutant League games, I LOVED the Genesis Shadowrun, and fought viciously with those who compared SNES franchises and graphics.  I so supported Sega I got a Sega CD one Christmas, and a 32X the next.  And I even enjoyed those systems.  I played and beat Sewer Shark; I was obsessed with Sonic CD and it remains the best Sonic game EVER in my opinion.  I had Doom on the 32X and a great little unknown game called Kolibri, a horizontal 2-d shooter where you and a friend can play as hummingbirds.  Don’t laugh…it was terrific…  I eventually bought the Saturn, which for its time was by FAR the best system out there.  It was well-supported and had great tech-specs, but lost out eventually to the N64, and eventually was crushed utterly by the new Playstation.  I even bought a Dreamcast…and only ever played Resident Evil: Code Veronica on it…before the PS2 did it in.

Sega Nomad
My handheld Nomad Genesis system.
Sega CDX
How I currently play my Genesis and Sega CD games on my TV. And a Slime PS2 controller. Because that’s where he lives and he’s photogenic.

Despite all their mistakes in business (Sega was obsessed with hardware and put games and software support secondary, blinded by competing with other companies they forever sought the “best tech” and rushed it out before the market was ready…barely supported it…then rushed out the next one and barely supported it) I have a lot of love for Sega.  After I set up my PS3, I played some Oblivion then, while filing the game away I found my Sega Nomad and spent the rest of the evening playing…you guessed it…Streets of Rage 2.  Still beat it too.  Sega lives in my gaming consciousness.  I still remember the Mortal Kombat blood code (Down-Up-Left-Left-A-Right-Down…memorizing codes from magazines in the grocery store…those were the days…), and playing as a raptor in Jurassic Park.  The GREAT X-Men Genesis games are still loads of fun to play and I still plan to invest time into eventually beating Shadowrun…if it’s possible.

Sega CD Games
To all those who criticize the Sega CD I thought I’d produce a STACK of some great Sega CD games. This pile doesn’t even include the great Terminator game…
Saturn Games
Some of my Saturn games. I don’t have the Panzer Dragoons (though I beat the first one in high school) nor do I have the fantastic “Children of the Atom” X-Men fighting game. I put plenty of time in on that in the 90s too.

Sega is now in software only and is a shadow of its former self.  With the Sony vs Microsoft competition dominating the market now it seems like history is repeating itself.  Sides are being chosen, graphics comparisons are appearing in articles, libraries are being compared, and tech specs have appeared in countless posts and forums.  What seems to be lost is competition is actually good for the market.  I see posts on game sites where rabid fanboys declare their hope that their side puts the other out of business.  Does anyone think that would be good?  A monopoly on game technology would only reduce quality and innovation.  The Wii’s motion control and rapid sales incited Sony and Microsoft into motion controls as well.  The handheld war continues with new innovations like 3d, HD graphics, and wi-fi capability.  Social gaming has gone from a second controller and split screens to worldwide gaming.  I for one am hoping the “big three” continue to produce successful systems and franchises for several “next-gens” to come.  And here’s hoping that none of them, like Sega, become lost relics, sacrifices to the gods of greed and commerce.

But for now I say, long live the memory of Sega.  Plug in some 16-bit fun some time.  The Genesis is every single bit the great, classic console the NES is.  And I’ll GRAND UPPER anyone who says otherwise!

Grand Upper!
GRAND UPPER!  Forward-Forward+B. You can beat the whole game with this one…
Mutant League Hockey
And I don’t care who you are…this is AWESOME…

5 thoughts on “Life Lessons Learned from Video Games #4: A Love Letter to Old School Sega

  1. Mike

    It is possible to beat shadow run. Without cheating. I recently did it on an emulator. I also remember sitting in your room playing sewer shark. Calling out the directions. And I’m so glad you mentioned kolibri. Best least known game of the ever.

  2. James Castro

    I can’t even imagine cheating at Shadowrun…how does one cheat at that game. I still want to play Kolibri…still got that 32X?

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