SEGA: The Soundtrack of My Youth

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  • Red Hot Chili Peppers poster on the wall? Check.
  • Drum set with dirty clothes stuffed in the bass drum? Check.
  • Bed unmade? Check.
  • Exposed carpet nail strip that you stepped on each time you entered the room? Check. Ouch!

Welcome to my childhood friend’s brother’s room. It was here that I discovered golden axes, dolphins that echoed, and a faster than fast hedgehog. Of course, I am talking about the pinnacle of the 16-bit era, the SEGA Genesis.

When not outside playing with G.I. Joes or swimming in the pool, my friend Greg and I would often sneak into his brother’s room and take turns playing Sonic the Hedgehog. I remember thinking that the game was incredibly fast. As advertised, Sonic was a lot faster than Nintendo’s Mario. SEGA. One of our most favorite games to play on the Genesis was Golden Axe. What is sad is that we were both terrible at it. I remember getting mad at each other for accidentally hitting the other person’s character. Whoops! I also recall typically playing as the muscled-out he-man. Greg would play as the dwarf with the long white beard. Sad to think that we never beat the game, especially after all the hours we sunk into it.

My experience with SEGA systems goes even further back than Ryan’s aromatic room–dirty laundry mixed with deodorant–. I remember my cousin Casey introducing me to the 8-bit SEGA Master System. I must have spent the afternoon with her playing Alex Kidd. She had all the cool toys, even Mario Paint on the NES. Beyond Casey, my friend Andrea also had a Master System– what is it with girls having all this video game goodness?–. I don’t remember what games I played over at Andrea’s house, but I do remember the distinct packaging of the Master System games.

The 16-bit era is probably my most favorite when it comes to video games. These are the games that I played late into the night when I slept over at friends homes. SEGA games play like a soundtrack to my early childhood. Highlights include:

  • Beating Vectorman while hyped up on Vicodin.
  • Hours of playing Road Rash.
  • Airline Tycoon.
  • Feeling of claustrophobia from playing Echo the Dolphin.
  • Never beating Sonic the Hedgehog. (I can admit that the underwater portions always did me in.)

Maturity

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My fondest video game memories all stem from childhood. Be it sitting in the family room playing the NES with my younger sister or hanging out at a friends house playing Road Rash on the Genesis, video games have always played a part in my life. Fast forward to today, and I often find myself trying to recapture those moments.

In November of last year, my sister flew out to spend some time with my family and I. We mostly just hung out around the house and played with my son. Nothing big. However, we did end up playing Super Mario Brothers 3 on the Wii. Talk about stirring up some memories. By the end of our game time, I had realized a few things:

  • My sister will always be a better Mario Brothers player than I will ever, ever be.
  • Gaming is best when your playing with others.

What was great about revisiting this past time with her, was that no fights broke out. I’m serious. My Mom never had to swoop in and take the controllers away because we wouldn’t share or honor the others next turn.

“You die one more time and I get the next life.”

Age has a way of making one want what has been. Having my sister out and playing Mario 3 though made me realize that those gaming moments haven’t gone away. In fact, they have only gotten better due to age and maturity. One thing that I will never miss is being grounded off the NES due to fighting. Hurray for growing older.

What are your favorite video game memories?