Remembering Iwata: Thoughts from an NES Kid

nintendo

I was an NES kid. Starting with Atari Computer I was a gamer from a young age and I came into the true world of console gaming, as many of my generation did, via the NES.

Admittedly I haven’t been a fan of Nintendo for the past decade or so. Attribute it to personal taste more than anything, but the franchises and input methods proffered by Nintendo just don’t grab me anymore.

That being said, Nintendo is the only game console and game publisher who truly concentrates on making games. While AAA publishers scramble for DLC, cliche storytelling, and the biggest and best engines and graphics, Nintendo has been essentially making the same Legend of Zelda game since 1986, just in varying wrappers and finding success.

More than anything I feel Nintendo has a continued focus on what made games great when the modern console industry began in the 80s. Their games almost never put anything above pure entertainment. Of course it doesn’t always work but even in their failed attempts the game is a game, designed to entertain. No blown up pretentious nonsense, just fun.  They can have extended depth but almost never at the expense of the fun.

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The loss of Satoru Iwata this week gave me a moment to really think about the gaming industry as a whole. Nintendo’s success with the Wii (even though I didn’t care for the system) and the handheld market shows a totally different kind of thinking than other hardware companies. Nintendo has always felt inclusive rather than exclusive in its design and marketing philosophy. Even in the 8-bit days the games could be played and enjoyed by an eight year old or by a thirty-five year old. That still holds true, even after their latest hardware was toppled from primacy in the current generation, I know as many adults who love their Wii-U as I do kids.

Iwata always seemed to embody the whimsical spirit of Nintendo. He had a playful personality that undermined the stoic “cool” personalities on display from competitors.

Every company can make mistakes, read consumers wrong, and even unintentionally alienate fans with decisions. During this week too many have focused on the recent failings in Nintendo’s policies. Even as a current, distinct non-fan of Nintendo I feel Iwata’s loss was a tremendous loss to the whole of the industry. He was the human face of the “fun” side of gaming. And in an environment where frame rates, exclusivity, and fan-boyism can spark shocking hate campaigns the fun of gaming is something I think everyone could use far more of. It’s entertainment, people, and Iwata’s philosophy was that it should be entertaining always and first. It should always be just for the fun of it. Like him I’m a gamer at heart and I’ll miss him.

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Off the Edge: A Commentary on Forums and Commentaries…

Off the Edge

Everyone needs a good rant. And it’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to go off a bit. It’s been a busy few weeks so I thought I’d take a break to let off some steam.

A lot of people use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family; share random things about themselves; or surreptitiously stalk people. I use mine almost entirely for news and the occasional non sequitur. I’m a fan of several things, including boxing, films, and miniature wargaming. And news flows freely on Facebook in the form of rumors, leaks, and on-the-scene reports.  The news is almost always welcome; the response to news in the form of comments rarely is… I thought I’d let some gripes go about the mood of internet commentary:

1.)    Negativity: I’ve been to several forum sites for ALL my favorite hobbies and the commentary of the reading public is about 90% negative. And of the negativity about 80% of those aren’t just dismissive but also hateful. Games Workshop releases a new model and “it’s the ugliest, most expensive thing ever,”   a new movie comes out and it’s “boring, slow, and overrated,” a fighter wins a fight he was expected to lose and it was because his highly favored opponent was “old, washed up, or over-trained.”   I made similar comments in my How to be a Fan posting series, but why is EVERYTHING the worst thing ever? Rarely will you see some positive comments, but forums and article comments don’t seem to be a place for discussion any more. They’re all just places for people to bitch… Apparently those who remain silent are the quiet approvers…

2.)    Pop-Cultured: This one isn’t related to just forums, but following themed news sites (sci-fi sites, gaming sites, fan sites) they all seem to be obsessed with the same few topics that everyone is obsessed with and post them endlessly. For a few quick examples out of MANY:

  1. Nintendo Culture: Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw said it best; Nintendo has basically been making three games, the same three games over and over again for 30 years. And people freak out every time the new Zelda (which is just like the old Zelda) is released like it’s made out of gold…
  2. Game of Thrones: People love the show. I don’t particularly care for it (fantasy soap opera with nudity) but it’s all the posts talk about. Mostly they talk about characters dying. My thought, if all these characters die at random why would I care the least about any of them?
  3. Firefly: It got cancelled. Lots of great shows get cancelled. It’s not coming back. Saying it over and over doesn’t help.

So what’s the problem with these posts? Well we see about 800 Game of Thrones “these people died” posts a day. Meanwhile other great fantasy/sci fi topics are getting ignored by sites supposedly designed to discuss sci fi and fantasy but seem to be stuck in the same few loops. I think it would be remiss if themed sites ignored the most popular topics, but when 90% of topics ARE Nintendo or Game of Thrones the site has become a specified fan page. How about introducing people to some lesser-known material? Save “All Firefly All the Time” for the specific fan pages.

3.)    Memes: I won’t lie. I do find some of them hilarious. All the “Shut up and take my moneys” and Grumpy Cats make for good quick reference moods but they’ve become ridiculously overused. The evolution of the Meme is so fast even Professor Richard Dawkins’ head would spin. It’s gotten to the point where people almost talk in “Meme.” And they are almost always snark-based. So not only are people negative but they’re lazy and negative. Posters could use some training in how to be cleverly negative. Read this review or this review from Roger Ebert to see how it’s done. Just posting “meh” or the Picard face palm isn’t nearly so effective.

Yes I’m aware of the irony of complaining about internet complainers. But what can be done?

First, remember why you’re there. If you’re on a hobby site you’re there because SUPPOSEDLY you enjoy the hobby. Then why are you just complaining? Some forums have an active debate where people discuss merits and even theories, but many are just lines of hatred. The latest rulebook for Warhammer 40k hadn’t hit SHELVES yet and people were declaring they were quitting because it was the worst ever. Calm down. It’s a hobby. It’s for fun. If you’re not having fun do something else instead of bitching about why you’re not having fun playing something you haven’t played yet based on news you read 15 minutes ago.

Second, remember these are people you’re talking to not just screen names. Debating is good. We all have unique perspectives, but declaring someone’s opinion invalid simply because it disagrees with yours is non-sense. Could Ali beat Tyson? We’ll never know. But your guess is LITERALLY as good as mine. So just because we disagree doesn’t make either of us wrong. Also those about whom you’re spewing your venom are also people. Jervis Johnson is certainly not an idiot and wrote very complex rules for a very complex game in conjunction with several other game experts. If you can do better maybe you can make your own game (with blackjack! And hookers!) or maybe it’s easier to arm-chair general and criticize than actually DO something? Being proactive about things is hard but it’s actually progress rather than just whining.

Third, remember none of us are perfect. We will make mistakes, lose our rags, and make bad decisions; but remember it’s EASY to criticize, which is why the rewards for doing so are so low. It’s much riskier to actually be out there doing something, but the chances at achieving something and making an actual difference. If you’re ever proved wrong or change your opinion be gracious enough to admit it. You’ll be surprised how effective that is…

I know I’ve sounded like “can’t we all just get along” before, but it may not be the best philosophy, because we can’t and shouldn’t. Disagreement leads to new ideas (Thesis+Antithesis=Synthesis=NEW Thesis+Antithesis, etc.) but we can be respectful at all times. I’ve had many, many great debates with people and we were all are allowed to conclude our discussions as in the Napoleonic Wars, “in good order, with colors and arms.”

It’s just the internet. It’s hobbies. It’s entertainment, people. It’s NOT that critical.

How to be a Good Fan: Don’t be the Comic Book Guy

Off the Edge

This is kind of a case study of the quintessential “bad fan.”  Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons as a character pre-dates the spread of internet criticism, but it seems every forum, website that allows commentary, or YouTube video is packed with almost nothing but Comic Book Guys (hereafter referred to as “CBGs”).

What makes the CBG type such a bad fan?  He’s the one who loves something so much he ends up obsessing about it without end; then his love (as love of anything can do) turns to passive-aggressive hatred.  He can’t wait to take something he loves, and tell the world why it’s not good, not what it used to be, or somehow a “betrayal” of his obsessed loyalties.  He knows everything about it.  He’s the kind of “fan” who takes the time to learn all things about something (including it seems watching entire films in slo-o-o-o mo-o-o-o-tion) just so he can point out its flaws.

The most famous and now apparently meme-worthy quote ever uttered by CBG was from the “Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” episode of The Simpsons.  After Poochie’s “hilariously unfunny debut” CBG commented that it was the “Worst. Episode. Ever.” And later went on to state that “As a loyal fan I feel they owe me.”  To which Bart responds, “What could they owe you? They’ve given you thousands of hours of entertainment for free!  If anything, YOU owe THEM!”  CBG’s retort, “Worst. Episode. Ever.”  This exchange pretty much sums up what bad fans like CBG are all about.  There’s a bit of narcissism to them — they feel that entertainment is all about what should entertain them personally, and they are somehow owed this for their patronage.  I can see CBG on every 4Chan, Bell of Lost Souls, YouTube, and TV show webpage I’ve ever been to.  Even sometimes quoting CBG proudly, “Worst. ::WHATEVER::. Ever.”

This guy is one bad fan…

In my Warhammer experience I see it a lot. Games Workshop comes out with new models.  Annoying posters all say, then build on each other’s comments like, “Wow that’s ugly I won’t get one.”  “Why are they so expensive!!!  I’m quitting.”   “They ruined xxx by changing the rule to do xxx.”  Yet…they still sell the miniatures, special editions of books, and these people are coming to the site day after day…just to say how much they hate everything?  One post I saw kind of summed these posts up, “Will you all quit complaining?  You’re going to end up buying them…”  I bet that person was right.

Another point is, like CBG did to Poochie (who was designed to be awful), focusing on something bad and channeling all fan hatred on it.  Nothing shows this better than Jar-Jar Binks.  People were severely disappointed with Phantom Menace.  It was kind of a slow, mediocre movie, but it had its fun parts.  I liked Darth Maul.  But for some reason what everyone heaped their rage on was Jar-Jar Binks.  He was almost a scapegoat.  Fans didn’t like the movie like they thought they would, so it became Jar-Jar’s fault.  I don’t find him any more annoying that C3P0 or the Ewoks honestly…But all the fury was directed right at him.  I thought Anakin’s “chosen one” story was far more tired than the comic relief character.

I won’t say CBG doesn’t have a point; any kind of entertainment eventually suffers from its age.  Again from that episode of The Simpsons, Lisa points out that over the years the innovation and characters can’t maintain the same impact they once had.  To try to make the show, comic book, music, whatever fresh creators try all kinds of things.  They add new characters, kill someone off (often only to bring them back…somehow), or totally change their style (say going from hard rock to techno or rap).  Some fans actually love these changes.  Some don’t.  But I actually feel it’s more impactful to simply change one’s own behavior than complain without end about the new status of whatever you’re obsessing about.

Going back to The Simpsons, for its first 9 seasons it was close to my favorite show ever.  After season 9 it seemed to get a bit “stupider” in its jokes and, to me, became more about watching Homer scream and guest stars.  Now that was to ME.  My response was to try it for a bit.  Watch the odd one here and there…and then give it up.  I haven’t watched a full episode since season 11.  I didn’t continue to watch it just so I could go to the forums later and complain about how it was the Worst. Episode. Ever.

One of my favorites, that I came to very late, is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I love that Joss Whedon style of humor+drama+weird.  But even it made the classic changes.  It went for “introduce new character” (only kinda made sense, even in fantasy world), then “kill character” as options for extending its life.  It was still great, but not as good.  Same goes for Eureka.  TERRIFIC sci-fi show. Then they went back in time, changed the reality, and kind of rebooted the show.  Still great, but I personally preferred the original set up.

The same goes for The Walking Dead.  Great show.  Great story, fresh characters, interesting take on the zombie apocalypse.  Halfway through last season I kind of lost interest.  The show wasn’t any different really, but I just stopped watching unless I wanted to catch up later.

I’m not saying voicing your opinion isn’t positive.  But it should be constructive and not just bitching for bitching’s sake.  Constructive complaints are what happened with Futurama.  The show was cancelled.  The fanbase came together and made its support so publicly known that they eventually released new episodes on DVD and then returned to TV (sadly ending this year…).  THAT is how fans should work.  The constructive way to voice your beliefs about something you’re a fan of is to do so positively, seeking to change what’s wrong, not just repeating what you don’t like in snarky and anonymous form in the internet.  The positive way I expressed my dislike for the newer Simpsons was to stop watching.  I didn’t like it, but people do, so why should I spend my time complaining a.) The show is bad now, b.) These new stupid fans are the reason it’s bad c.) They should just go back to “the way it was.”  Who am I to say what other people should like?  New fans like the new version, they shouldn’t make a show just for me…and maybe, just maybe, I’m the one who changed.  Maybe the things I once obsessed about don’t, as Lisa said, have the same impact.

So many of us fans still watch shows they no longer love just to make bad jokes (usually just quotes from something else, or different versions of memes that have been around since 2006) on forums and sites later.  THAT’S being a bad fan I think.  If the toys you once loved aren’t fun anymore…stop playing with them, and maybe, pick up something new.  It’s the only way to grow.  Staying with the same-old-same-old that you now hate is to decay.  Again, it only breeds hostility and negativity.  Why do that to yourself, or worse, inflict your negativity on others?

The Simpsons gave us many perfect caricatures of nerd fans.  I remember one who asked, “In episode 2F09, when Itchy plays Scratchy’s skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes that same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe that this is some sort of a…a magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.”  Homer’s response, “I’ll field this one. Let me ask you a question. Why would a man whose shirt says “Genius at Work” spend all of his time watching a children’s cartoon show?”  Yep.  That about sums it up.

For the sake of all fans, please don’t be the Comic Book Guy…

The next post ties into this one, Don’t Build Them Up Just to Tear Them Down.

How to be a Good Fan: You Like this, I Like That…Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off…

Off the Edge

In my “Just War” philosophy course in grad school, we learned that during any kind of conflict there comes a time where combatants start to see the situation as “us” versus “them.”  Viewing an opponent this way essentially dehumanizes them and makes it easier for people to do horrible things to each other they wouldn’t do in any other circumstances.

While that might seem like a strange opener for a series about fandom, the same holds true for disagreeing fans.  We all fall victim to it, but recently I’ve started to catch myself doing it and tried to curtail it when I feel it creeping in.

I remember during what James Rolfe calls “The Bit Wars” between Sega and Nintendo; I was in the Sega camp.  But I don’t remember hating Super Nintendo.  I just never played it and vehemently disagreed with comments disparaging Sega’s games or systems.  I still do.  I had loads of fun on Sega CD and 32X!

It’s gotten much worse with Xbox and Playstation fans.  I’ve had both systems from previous and current generations.  I prefer Playstation simply because I’ve found it to be more reliable, more a fit for my gaming needs, and more consumer-friendly.  I admit I have sunk down to the “us versus them” mentality, especially when the now recanted Xbox One specs were announced.  But the truth is both are good systems for their fan bases, both have a good line up of games, and we NEED both to keep competition healthy.  Monopoly is always bad for the consumer.

Here are some thoughts on one opinion versus another opinion and ways that have helped me avoid “Us Versus Them” situations:

Realizing Nothing is Perfect:  I love my PS3.  I had a launch system that lasted 5-6 years in the same time my bro-in law had 3-4 Xboxes that red-ringed.  That being said, I know lots of people apparently had disc read problems with launch PS3s.  Even when mine died, it did so while a disc was in, and I had to take the #*%^@#$%@&$ apart to get the disc out.  PS3 isn’t perfect, just a better fit for me.  Because Xbox is a better fit for you doesn’t make you wrong, just different from me.  Everything has issues and we enjoy them in spite of them.

Even the chaos god of perfection isn’t perfect…poor, poor chaos god…

Understanding That a Difference of Opinion is OK:  It’s good to truly enjoy something.  If you immerse yourself entirely into the world of whatever your love may be (Star Trek or Star Wars, Final Fantasy, Mario, Legend of Zelda, X-Men etc…) it’s good for you.  Any kind of learning exercises the mind.  I even think it’s ok to drive your friends crazy with your enthusiasm.  You’ve learned ALL this stuff; you want to share it.  Your friends always have the right to say, “You know I’m a little tired of hearing about Spiderman…,” and if they do, that should be respected.  Going a step further, it’s even ok for them to say, “You know I really don’t like Spiderman…”  If they do, even though it may seem incomprehensible to your obsessed brain, it is OK too.  It doesn’t matter what it is, how popular, how important it is to your day, if someone else isn’t interested or doesn’t like it…they don’t like it and they aren’t crazy for having that opinion.  Recently I’ve seen TONS of this.  I was shown three episodes of Game of Thrones.  It was like a high-production value, fantasy realm soap opera to me.  I didn’t care for it.  I’ve had family and friends get me to watch some of Dr. Who.  It was mediocre sci-fi TV to me; I just couldn’t get into it.  I like Joss Whedon, but I don’t feel like trying Firefly right now.  I’m not WRONG for these beliefs.  Certainly not just because someone else thinks these are the greatest things ever.  If you absolutely despise Warhammer, or history, or boxing, or Lovecraft it doesn’t make you wrong just because I love them.  Again, what fits for you, isn’t necessarily what fits for me.  And judging each other because we don’t share obsessions doesn’t help anyone.

The Running Man audience. Definitely the worst kind of obsessed, bad fans!

Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off:  Debating is good.  If you want to explain to me WHY Christopher Nolan’s Batman films weren’t a pretentious drag that essentially told the same story three times (someone tries to make fear take over Gotham, so the city destroys itself…) feel free.  I will explain why I feel how I feel.  We can show counterpoints, logic, and conclusions — we can attempt to persuade through example.  It can be fun.  It can be enlightening.  It’s almost always mentally stimulating.  It’s a debate, and it’s good.  Arguing is bad.  Arguing is what occurs when respect and logic abandon a discussion in favor of bias and hostility.  If we’ve both made our points, repeating them or insisting, “You just don’t get it,” “You need to see it from the beginning,” or “I’m not surprised you don’t like it, you’re into stupid stuff like XXXX” doesn’t add to the discussion.  Once points are made and opinions finalized, if neither side budges, in the terminology of the Napoleonic Wars, we should both be allowed to “leave the field with our weapons and colors.”  It’s a sign of respect of each other and our opposing opinions and an acknowledgement that we’re agreeing to disagree.

Methinks any kind of debating with this guy…likely won’t be fair…

With all there is out there to become a fan of, no one can ever be a fan of everything, and even amongst the closest of relationships there are bound to be differences, sometimes VAST differences, of opinion.  If we all agreed on everything, imagine how dull life would be.  But it’s important, no matter how much you love something, how much you devote your life to it, and how much you know about it to respect the opinions of others who may be neutrally disinterested or actively opposed to it — even if they insist on sinking to the negative level — take the high road…people who take the low road probably do so often, and it won’t be in anyone’s best interest to pursue them into the depths.

And finally, maybe most importantly, share the things you are a fan of with those you care about as long as they are receptive, but not if they suggest they are not.  Our interests are a big part of showing who we are.  But people don’t necessarily need or want converting.  Respect that and respect them for their opinions, even if they directly oppose yours.  You’ve said poe-tay-toe, they’ve said poe-tah-toe…so yeah…

And just for fun…Christopher Walken’s sings!

Life Lessons from Video Games: Versus Mode!

LifeLessonsHeader

I’ve been playing video games since I 4 years old.  My first “gaming” system was an Atari 400 and was replaced (actually it was added to by) an Atari 800XL in the mid-80s.  I was a military kid who lived in secluded base-housing and, essentially, only knew my family.  I just assumed that everyone was playing Centipede, Missile Command, Frogger, and  Pac-Man.  In addition I had loads of games that almost no one has heard of but remain my all-time favorites; Sea Horse Hide n Seek, Ducks Ahoy, and Movie Musical Madness.  It wasn’t until my father retired from the USAF and we moved into “civilian” life that I first learned of what kinds of systems were popular.

I had an Atari…but never heard of an Atari 2600.  My memories of Pac-Man are slightly different from most others…the 400 and 800XL computers I had played different versions that actually (to me) looked superior to the 2600 version.  I only ever saw Commodore 64s and Apple IIs in school.  I never heard of Colecovision until I saw it on VH1’s I Love the 80s and never heard of Intellevision until James Rolfe did a video about it.  I DID hear of NES almost immediately after my we left the military lifestyle.

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Atari400

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I can remember being in my elementary school cafeteria in my private school blue shirt and slacks and a vicious little rich kid snarling at me, “What?  You don’t have Nintendo?! What’s ‘Atari’?”  I remember telling my mom that and she said, “I bet our Atari has better graphics than their ‘Nintendo…'”  And I immediately agreed.  And the game was on.

Over my lifetime I’ve seen numerous competitions in video games, systems, and gaming culture in general that are all just as frivolous and subjective as this one.  Sega vs. Nintendo.  Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat.  Sony vs. Microsoft.  It’s been fascinating to see them come and go, and each generation of hardware and software customers act like it’s the first time these things have ever been discussed.  I’ve been thinking a lot about all these various, senseless wars I’ve witnessed during my gaming life and thought I’d start sharing some of the most memorable.  Since this is just a little intro I thought I’d start with a brief look at the Atari vs NES.

Of course the Atari 400, which came out in 1979, and even the updated 800XL had nothing, hardware-wise, on the NES.  The NES came over from Japan with a library of games that would become classics (and some hardware strangeness that would fall into pop-culture obscurity).  Since the NES clearly has the edge in nearly every technical sense, I thought I’d look at just one thing that strikes me as amusing in terms of my old Ataris compared to the NES.

I started watching AVGN when the new Ghostbusters game was set to come out on current-gen consoles.  I heard a funny online reviewer had reviewed the NES Ghostbusters game and I was intrigued, I didn’t know there WAS one.  I turned on his review and was alarmed to see him reviewing a game I knew…only I knew it from my Atari 800XL…I knew it on floppy disk……and I knew a MUCH better version!  Smoother gameplay, more “ghostbuster-y” graphics, and less idiotic additions (like the gas station…)  Granted it was still a monotonous “wtf is going on?” kind of game, but the NES version looks like a butchered port…of an Atari game.  The Atari version was no masterpiece…but it’s definitely competitive with the later NES version!

That little fact did indeed help remind me that, although the most popular system might dominate the market, the reviews, and rewrite the history, for the minority of us who lived with other brands…we might have found a nice classic gem.

In two weeks I’ll start versus mode in earnest, and will try to do one every two weeks.  The first one will be the most appropriate way to start such a contest and has been a heated debate for almost 20 years…ladies and gentlemen…it will be: Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat!

Atari GB

NES GB

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…