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.)

The Collection

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Once upon a time, I collected video game systems and games as a hobby.

*Not my collection. Would have been cool though...

I slowly built up my collection over time. A SEGA Saturn here; a random game there. Often I would plug in a misc.  system and play some of the games I had for the fun of it. As time progressed, however, I found that my collection was gathering dust. Mt interests had changed. I mean, I still liked playing video games but didn’t feel the need to collect them anymore. So, I started to sell off the mounds of hardened plastic I had accumulated. I remember that  upsetting me at first. No longer would I be able to play Panzer Dragoon for the heck of it. The collection that had been everything to me was being dwindled away into nothing.

We all find our identity, who we are, in the things that we believe and do. For a long time, my identity had been as a video game collector. With the selling of my collection, that was a title I would no longer bear. Perhaps this was a good thing though. Collecting chunks of plastic, consoles and games, only to let them collect dust and ultimately not be played makes no sense. It’s like me going into the public library, buying all the books up, only to never read them or let anyone else read them for that matter. “Captain it is simply not logical.”

Since the great video game purge, I have tried to limit my video game library. I have done this by becoming an avid user of Goozex, on online video game trading site. This has allowed me to obtain $60 games by getting rid of games that I no longer play. This has occasionally led me to slight dilemmas of which games to get rid of -the inner collector in me wanting to keep them all!- . As I stated above though, this makes no sense. Especially when I can take a game I no longer play and trade it in for something I actually  will.

Recovery

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In light of my upcoming scheduled surgery, I thought it would be fun to talk about my gaming experience the last time I was in surgical recovery. Prepare for a flash-backed story in 3, 2, 1.

Many moons ago, my wisdom teeth decided to become impacted and were in need of a good pull. My parents, being the wonderful people that they are, decided to rid my mouth of these painful nuisances. So, we quickly found a local ex-military oral surgeon who was willing to embark on this potentially painful mission. A few hours later, I was at home in the bed of recovery. Finally, rest!

Hyped up on Vicodin to help ease the pain, I fired up the faithful SEGA Genesis. Vectorman was on the menu.

  1. The first time I played the game I got to the end, used all my continues, and died. Game Over.
  2. The second time through I somehow did the same thing.
  3. The third time though…I beat the game! Take that Warhead!

I actually think that Vectorman was the first 16-bit game I had ever beaten. Simply glorious! The precision with which I could play the game, after almost beating it multiple times, was borderline machine-like. I had somehow overcome the pain, embraced the drugs, and evolved into Vectorman.

Surf Report – 10/9/10

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Welcome to the Sunday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :

Our motto here at JBG is, “because there is more to life than just games”. The individual sections of God and Life exist in an effort to explore the world beyond the flickering screen. In addition to venturing into topics outside of video gaming, such as faith and life, we have also pushed an overall agenda of moderation. Video games, as with any other hobby, are meant to be consumed in a healthy manner. I have personally witnessed, both in my life and others, the impact of excessive gaming (late nights, lost jobs, and loss of friends). The results of embracing gaming as a lifestyle are certainly destructive when taken beyond normal levels.

Recently, I got thinking about how JBG’s mission extends just beyond the gospel of moderation. I quickly came to the conclusion that we are also here to preach against distractions. For me, gaming can be a distraction; for others it can be something as simple as trolling Facebook. All the noise and media we intake on a daily basis can lead us to neglecting the spiritual sides of ourselves. Basically, distractions can cause us not to hear God’s voice –I am not saying that He speaks audibly, but I am also not saying that He can’t!-.

The question I want to ask you, on this wonderful Sunday, is this: What is distracting you? If it is video games, why not take some time away from them; if it is Facebook, why not take an extended vacation. A thought to ponder on.

.: Life :

What have you been reading lately?

Over the summer I happened to purchase a Nook for my birthday. This delving into the land of e-books has caused me enjoy all sorts of fantasy books. Everything from the first book in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series to more recently, First King of Shannara by Terry Brooks. At first, I found the Shannara book to be wordy and the story cliche. As I have progressed, however, I have been suddenly surprised by where the story is taking me. Perhaps Brooks isn’t a Tolkien hack after all.

Syp, over @ BioBreak, posted last week on what books he is reading. I don’t know about you, but I love hearing about new books! Check it out.

.: Gaming :

When I have had time for gaming, I have been diving into The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Absolutely amazing! If I hadn’t had my nose buried in the 90’s, with a SEGA Genesis, I probably would have discovered this gem! So far, I have managed to obtain all of the pendants and the Master Sword. Until next time.

That’s it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!

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?

Top Games You Miss Playing With Your Friends

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Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

SEGA Genesis

Nintendo 64

  • Banjo Kazooie
  • Bio F.R.E.A.K.S.
  • Diddy Kong Racing
  • Duke Nukem 64
  • Mark Kart 64
  • San Francisco: Rush
  • Super Smash Brothers
  • Turok
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • 007

PC

  • Battlezone
  • Command and Conquer / Red Alert
  • Diablo 1 & 2
  • Drakan
  • Homeworld/ Cataclysm
  • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
  • Mechwarrior 2
  • Monkey Island Series
  • Myst
  • Sam and Max
  • Starcraft/ Warcraft/ Warcraft II
  • World of Warcraft

Arcade

Any games you miss playing with your friends? Add to the list in the comments below!