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.)

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.