Maybe you’ve already heard, maybe you haven’t, but fans of retro gaming (AKA mysort of nerds) have been rejoicing over the last week or so. Why? Because the Sega Genesis has gone back into mass production! Apparently some company in Brazil company called TecToy garnered Sega’s blessing to replicate the classic console with an added bonus: an installed SD card with 22 classic games! (Go here for preorder and pre-loaded game information). Expect the new Genesis to be out by June of next year, and it is my understanding that it will cost approximately $138 (converted from R$ 399).To celebrate this most excellent turn of events, I thought it’d be fun to ask a few people in Louisville’s music community to talk about one of their favorite Genesis games. Read on as a few of our friends tell us about their own personal cartridge connection…
I never had a Super Nintendo. It was all about Sega to me, and I don’t know about y’all, but when I was young I was lucky enough to have Sega Channel. I got 50 new Sega games every month! One game I used to hope popped up every month was Beyond Oasis. I remember playing it for the first time and just free roaming and being amazed by the scope of the game.
I was HOOKED to this action RPG. It had exploration, sword fighting with kick ass combos, a golden armlet with magic powers that summoned characters to help you, mystery, and big boss battles. I enjoyed this game so much that I found it as an adult and finally beat it! I was finally able to defeat the silver armlet with my gold armlet and restore order to the land as Prince Ali.
You’ve crash landed your spaceship on a mining planet. There are no survivors. Your brain is put into a cyborg body and your memory erased so you can be put to work.
…Or you can use your sawblade arm to cut a metal bastard’s high-jump legs off in order to get to the shiny asshole with the flamethrower arm, so you can tear it from their screaming robot body and replace the saw to bathe the entire fucking mine in flame on your way out.
Is Cyborg Justice a repetitive beat ‘em up with a limited color palate and really boring level design? Let me answer that question with another question: Does punching robots and ripping their robot body parts off so you can attach them to your robot body sound like one of the coolest concepts in a video game?
You’re goddamn right it is.
I have an older brother, so some of my earliest memories involve video games and comic books. Emulating my brother when I was a kid quickly grew into my own independent appreciation for video games, and the Sega Genesis is the most nostalgic of all the systems for me.
X-Men 2: Clone Wars was and is one of my favorite games. It released when I was 6 years old. I had no idea what I was doing or what the plot was supposed to be or why my character kept dying, but I was obsessed with the bright colors and creepy aesthetic, the exciting soundtrack, and the fact that I could play on the same screen at the same time with someone else. 20-something years later, the excitement still holds up for me. Nightcrawler is still the best character to be, the level with the giant sentinel is still utterly terrifying (that mouth!), and it’s still one of the best co-op games to play with friends, so long as you’re better than them at it.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be SHAO KAHN?! Hammer in your grip, beating the FUCK out everything in your path. Skull Samurai Hat rooted. Loincloth swinging in the winds of conquest?! Without mercy you’d create heaps of corpses for your followers to trudge through just to keep pace with your Outwordly bloodlust!
Well brothers I AM HERE TO TELL YOU that your dreams are right under your very noses. Sega version of Ultimate MK 3 lets you play as SHAO KAHN aaaaaand Motaro, his Centaur minion who lives to STOMP. THE. FUCK. OUT. THAT. ASS.
Also, you could play as HUMAN SMOKE. We all remember how awesome the ninjas were originally – then they brought the cyborg ninjas in MK3. Well, in Ultimate MK3 you get the whole fucking thing, man. SMOKE, HUMAN SMOKE, CYRAX, SEKTOR, SUB ZERO, SUB ZERO (MASK), SCORPION, ERMAC, RAIN, REPTILE, NOOB SAIBOT – the WHOLE FUCKING THING SON.
PLUS Shao Kahn. PLUS Motaro. PLUS the regular fucking line up of other scrubs (minus Nightwolf aka Chief Beatdown aka THAT DUDE). Ultimate MK3 was dope and the Sega – but ONLY with the 6-button controller – was the best shit to play it on.
When I was in elementary school my parents gave me the option of getting one video game system and a single game. I chose the Sega due to the 6 in 1 game pack. I cheated the system and get 7 games, day one! Suck it, SNES! My favorite of those games was Golden Axe. It’s the story of three tough mothers fighting with brawn and a little bit of magic to take down the soldiers of (and eventually) Death Adder.
Golden Axe is a side scrolling arcade style game. You fight against skeletons, ride on top of dragons, and throw mongoloids off cliffs. I always thought the most stellar feature of this gem was the sound effects. As you deliver a beat down on the bad dudes they let out screams of agony in defeat (fucking hostile). I always chose to fight as Gilius Thunderhead, a dwarf standing about 3 foot 6 with a 60 inch battle axe and a fervor for lightning.
Gaming evolves, people’s tastes evolve, but this game withstands the test of time. Even after 20+ years this game is a great way to kill a Sunday afternoon. It takes about an hour and a half to beat the whole game unless you’re weak and don’t have functional thumbs. However, I believe you too can defeat the Death Adder and reclaim the Golden Axe.
If my childhood friends were to read this, it would stun them to find out I’m writing about NBA Live ’95 as my favored game after so many years together battling over Madden football with intermittent pizza and caffeine breaks. Madden was pretty much my only Christmas gift from 1993-1999 from my parents and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. Perhaps the intensity of experience year after year made it hard to pick out one specific year from the greatest sports game franchise of the 1990s. Rather than untangle the complex emotions I have towards the most meaningful game of my childhood, I chose to share my feelings on NBA Live 95 – the pinnacle of basketball gaming.
First, there is the historical significance of 1995. Throughout the 90s, basketball games were marred by the Jordan factor. However, NBA Live 95 was produced in that small window when MJ stepped away from the sport he dominated to pursue his passion for baseball. This created an incredibly exciting couple of seasons of NBA basketball before his return. League parity created an excitement that encouraged me to explore a number of teams and matchups. So many fantastic teams and players spread across the league are etched into my memory from that period, I’ll spare you lists that bring back the joy and passion of gaming in my teenage years.
Another reason I love NBA Live 95 is that it represents to me the perfect era of sports video games. There was still an elegance and simplicity to the graphics with the emphasis on balancing fun with realism in results, statistics, and gameplay. Previous games seemed to lack that realism and often veered into cartoonish absurdity. The unique isometric court angle was new and unique at the time and really was a fantastic way to view the game. The graphics made me feel like my game was being televised and the elements of managing a game with realistic fouls, fatigue, and as a result the necessity of substitutions also really elevated the decision-making in the game to another level. Further, with NBA Live 95, there was a touch involved with gameplay that made it feel so much more immersive than any previous game. The best sports games are engaging even when played alone, even if the rivalries between friends clearly take it to the next level. Despite all of these great elements, it managed to capture the realism of a game without getting so bogged down in graphics, ultra-detailed stats/skills, and button combinations. Sadly these qualities, which became increasingly prevalent throughout the late 90s, encouraged me to retire at a tender young age from gaming. That was fine. It gave me more time to make noise with music anyway.
Still, it wouldn’t do to just describe the amazing range of appeal in the game. Even spending a bit of time writing this brought back a flood of memories in the neighborhood playing these games with so many dear, and now distant, friends. If you’re thinking about your childhood video games without thinking about the memories with great friends, you’re completely missing the point. So I tip my cap to neighborhood pals that I spent hours battling with and against in this game and others. Josh Bishop (Vinny Testaverde extraordinaire, a rare FIFA 94 fanatic, and a great Final Fantasy 1 companion), Peter Helm (the best Samus in the 4th grade and a hell of a Mega Man player), Stewart Skiles (Bavaro!), Jon Morris (dude had Super Mario 2 before anyone else!), Matt Dunkel (He had the NBA Live commitment and was a devotee of KG long before his glory with the Celtics), and my greatest nemesis, my older brother Matt who battled me in so many different games growing up that I couldn’t begin to sum it all up. I’d love to drag out the games of our childhood and battle you all again someday.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In case you were wondering, Decap Attack is/was my fucking jam.