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The Dog Days of Childhood


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A Sega Genesis Retrospective

Back in the year of 1989, I was a mere two years old by October. Obviously I wasn't old enough to have the experience to excel at a game, but for having such a short attention span at that age I was so marveled by a game's graphics that I didn't mind it. I already had an NES by my side, but that all changed when my mom and stepdad went out of their way to buy me and my siblings our first 16-bit system, the Sega Genesis, bundled with a free game.

The bundle we got featured one of the first few launch titles, Altered Beast. I liked the detail of a game screenshot to interest buyers in what they were getting as a free game.

We also received Golden Axe, which just like Altered Beast had a neat feature that was pretty mindblowing at the time, digitized voices in a video game. But because of how young I was at the time I remember getting genuinely creeped out by the screams of death heard in both games.

They didn't keep me from playing though as I kept coming back to watch my older brother and sister play as they would get farther than I did. There was just something so entertaining in watching them progress in the levels that I couldn't and mowing down baddies like they were nothing.

One of the earliest memories I have of the Sega Genesis was watching my brother play Altered Beast for the first time, only to freak out and hide behind the couch as the recurring villain, Neff would shout "WELCOME TO YOUR DOOM!" in a loud, booming voice.

As 1990 had been moving along I was starting to acquire more games, Bonanza Brothers, the Ghostbusters game, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and eventually the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Ghostbusters had a pretty challenging difficulty, so I always left it up to my older brother to play it. As for me I kept going back to Castle of Illusion.

Bonanza Brothers on the other hand had some fun two player action as my brother and I enjoyed going around and snagging items from unsuspecting police and running to the exit. We never did beat it, but it delivered some great fun regardless of unfinished playthroughs and Castle of Illusion was probably the most played game I had at the time.

Castle of Illusion was so revered by critics and gamers alike that it became one of the most well known and fun games for the Sega Genesis.

By 1992 and '93 onward my library was really picking up, I had Decap Attack, Sonic 2, Toxic Crusaders, Krusty's Super Fun House, Rocket Knight Adventures, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, and Cyborg Justice. This was also an unexpected time when my older sister had helped bring in some allowance toward the Sega Genesis add-on, the Sega CD, which I had eight titles for.

Sonic CD, Stellar Fire, Brutal: Paws of Fury, Heart of the Alien, Chuck Rock, Dragon's Lair, Sewer Shark and Dracula Unleashed. With these 16-bit graphics games having CD quality soundtracks, it made for a far more interesting game experience when it came to playing video games in stereo format.

The Sega CD required some digging around if you wanted to find good games, unfortunately a lot of its library in the U.S. consisted of some rather campy, shallow and forgettable interactive full motion video sequence games like Sewer Shark and Ground Zero Texas, only made worse by the heavily compressed video quality to fit on the disc, thus leading some of the underrated games to get overlooked.

By 1994 to 1996 the Sega CD was dwindling in sales and Sega went back to Genesis releases, thus having more games to own, this time gathering up games like the soon to be popular Earthworm Jim, Asterix and the Great Rescue, the Sonic clone Socket: Time Dominator, King of the Monsters, The Incredible Hulk, and the last Genesis game I ever got and one of the last Genesis games to release, Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble.

I was pretty amazed at how long the system was running steam for, especially when the Sega Saturn was out just by 1995. I was and still am an Earthworm Jim fan thanks to playing the original game, and it had such a phenomenal, off the wall charm about it that I never saw in any other game. I got to rent the sequel, but to me it just didn't trump the original. I was a little late at getting the second and last Genesis add-on, the 32X, but it didn't have as much lasting appeal like the Sega CD did with those games that I owned for it. As far as owning it went, the only game I ever had for it was Tempo, a weird platformer game by Sega that had some unique sprite animations.

As impressive as they tried to market it out to be, the Genesis itself was already biting the dust by the time the 32X was out and unfortunately, there wasn't enough good games on it to make it last.

And with that, my time with owning a Sega Genesis had ended as both it and my Super Nintendo would get replaced with a Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64 soon after. Even though the Sega CD and 32X didn't have as big of a library, the Genesis on its own boasted quite a few hundred games to help it stand on its own, and it made for some fun sibling rivalries via the two player games before my brother and sister had moved away. But with how fast those years had gone it's hard to believe the system is 30 years old now.

What are your memories of the Sega Genesis? Leave a comment and as always, see you next article!
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Benjanime Posted on Oct 08, 2019 at 10:49 PM


it's phenomenal knowing the amount of innovative games that were put out on the system, i've always wanted to play knuckles chaotix myself, the only way i knew about it was from gamepro magazine. if not for my parents wanting to get rid of my systems upon buying new ones i probably could have built up quite the library. thanks again for the comment and thanks for reading :)

Julie Posted on Oct 08, 2019 at 10:11 PM

The Sega Genesis is my favorite console of all time to date, for sure! I still have the first edition of the console (from 1989), with fantastic sound quality (I always use the stereo headphone output)! Love this console; after him, the console I love the most is the Sega Saturn ...
My first cartridge was Zoom !, which I bought before I even had the console, and after that , with the time, I had almost every title I wanted to have, that I saw published in the magazines of that magical time - luckily. With the arrival of the Sega CD, Sonic CD was a must, along with a few more games, but with the arrival of the 32X I finally got to know Knuckles Chaotix, a slightly improved version of Mortal Kombat II, a definitive version for Virtua Racing, a surprising version of Virtua Fighters, among other pearls such as Kolibri. I never intend to get rid of my Sega Genesis, it has affective value for me. Very special; marked an era!

Benjanime Posted on Sep 08, 2019 at 01:43 AM

i always wanted to get my hands on the rare, sought out version of revenge of shinobi that featured the spider-man/batman boss before the later releases which recolored the sprites. an odd but interesting connection in gaming.

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 07, 2019 at 11:39 PM

Great piece Ben. I recall all the games I played most on my Genesis, mostly Altered Beast, Shinobi, Sword of Vermillion, Mutant League Football, Sonic The Hedgehog, Moonwalker, and a few others. We did get some enjoyment out of the Sega CD as well.

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