Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Only Two Fans in the World

Turn back the time machine to the late 1980's and think video game consoles. The glory of the Atari had mostly waned, and two competitors rose to fill the void. My family was fortunate enough to have some disposable income and snapped up one of these amazing boxes. You're probably picturing this:


Nope. While everyone else was jumping around with Mario and shooting ducks, my brother and I were taking precisely-timed 30 minute turns on this beasty:

This $200.00 investment came with Hang-On and Safari Hunt:

Kids around the neighborhood invited us over to experience Mario and Top Gun, but no one wanted to play Hang-On or Alex Kidd. That didn't stop my brother and I from spending many glorious summer days inside maintaining our pale and haunted appearances.

I still recall reading about a new game called, Phantasy Star. It was to be our introduction to the role playing game. Looking at this picture elicits a stream of nostalgia bound glory and also a little shame, as I begged my poor mother for the game endlessly:
Phantasy Star box.jpg
Now, I'm not a video game historian, but this thing was ground breaking. First of all, note the fact that we have a female protagonist. That's pretty awesome. The game had four heroes that you would explore the world, fight monsters, level up, buy/find better equipment, and actually had a mostly coherent story line:

You can see where I learned my colorful language with early influences like this. Both the SEGA master system and the next generation console, the SEGA Genesis, did poorly in sales compared to the NES and SNES. It fostered a defensive pride and SEGA loyalty in my brother and I. We were quick to point out the hardware superiority (we were born nerds from day 1) of the SEGA versus the NES, but it fell upon deaf ears.

When it wasn't my brother's turn or play (or my dad, as he sometimes played = waiting a full hour!!) I would watch whomever was at the controls, experiencing the game with them, and some games (Streets of Rage anyone??) would allow for 2 players, which could not have gotten better.

Almost thirty years later, and my brother and I are still avid gamers, a passion that we share. Occasionally discussions with friends and new acquaintances will turn to retro-gaming and I'm always hoping I will encounter another SEGA fan, but inevitably talk turns to Mario.

How about you? Ever had the joy of rocking a SEGA Master System or Genesis?

1 comment:

  1. I think I made you wait longer than just 1 hour. I was the king of Hang On.