Hi everyone. For the last few weeks I have started to become a little bit nostalgic of the old days when me and my brothers were playing the Sega Mega Drive (aka Genesis) at my uncle's. And I started to develop a deep passion for Sega's games from yesteryear. I learn to appreciate their great efforts and the amazing contributions to the video game landscape that we know and love today.
My uncle wasn't a big gamer, but he still had an Atari (can't remember which one since we barely used it) and a Mega Drive, and along with it some great games like Sonic 1 and 2, Castlevania Bloodlines, Ranger X, World of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse, Columns, Super Hang-On, and World Cup Italia `90. I loved them all, especially both Sonic games! How cool was it when we managed to gather all Chaos Emeralds and turned into Super Sonic! That game had some truly mind-blowing moments! Oh, and these games were hard, like nearly all games from the era used to be, but we still played them no matter how many times we died, and we got better and better until we completed (most of) them. Super Hang-On was still impossible to beat, however, that shit is crazy difficult. Well, it was that time when Sega left a mark within me.
I still love a lot of the music tracks from the games, like these for example:
I love listenting to those soundtracks! However, there have also been a ton of amazing games on the Mega Drive that I had missed. We were Nintendo fans from early on and my attention went towards the N64 next. I completely missed the entire Sega Saturn and only discovered it years later. Games like Panzer Dragoon, for example, went past me unnoticed.
Sadly the sales were bad and never recovered. But Sega kept on pumping out one great game after another, and I thought that was quite amazing! Of course not every single one can be a hit but the general consensus is that Sega games were mostly first class, very well polished and of high quality. And another thing that I find very impressive even to this day is the wide spectrum of genres that they covered, they had it all. Racing, Platformers, Beat 'em Ups, Fighting, Puzzles, Sports, Strategy, RPGs, you name it. Sega did almost everything, and even more. They also used to poduce a lot of obscure games like Ecco the Dolphin or ToeJam and Earl, how would you describe those?
There are two things that Sega mastered back then in my eyes. First I think a lot of Sega's games had an arcady feeling to them, at least that's how it always felt to me, and I love that a lot! Many of their games are pure fun, just pick them up and start playing right away, but then again this also meant that they were a bit wonky and archaic, like Golden Axe, Space Harrier or Altered Beast. And the second thing is the mindblowing creativity and (in a good way) craziness. Who would ever come up with the idea of a Beat 'em Up inside a comic book? That sounds weird, right? Sega did it with Comix Zone, and it is widely regarded as one of the finest games in its kind. The point is, they had the balls to be crazy, and to make games that no other developer might do. And I salute them for the bravery.
They managed to keep this creativity alive with the Dreamcast as well. I never had one myself but after all these years I wish I had one because there were so many cool and amazing games for the Dreamcast and it's a shame that Sega just couldn't recover financially. Then came the big crash when Sega announced that they restructered to become a third party publisher and leave the hardware business. During these tough times I remember that they kept on making loss over loss over loss, and a lot of staff had to go. These were their darkest hours, I think.
Little anecdote here. I remember visting a buddy who got himself the original Xbox lately. I asked which games he had and among them was Jet Set Radio Future, but he said he didn't like it, it's so weird. I had heard of it from magazines, but first he wanted to show me Morrowind, which we played for like half an hour and which confused me and bored me to hell and back (I guess that was the moment when I developed a strong distaste of western RPGs), and then I played JSRF and I fell in love with it the moment it started. This is exactly the Sega creativity I mentioned earlier. What an amazing game!
A while ago I played the crossover game called Project X Zone 2. For those of you who don't know, it's a strategy game where a whole bunch of characters from all sorts of universes from Sega, Capcom and Bandai Namco are the playable cast. It's not too bad, I would recommend it to anyone who likes japanese games, and of course it is full of references to the respective games. One entire mission is even dedicated to a Sega Saturn game called Burning Rangers. The theme song plays during the entire mission and it's such a jam! So I looked up some info about it and now I want to play that! Also my interest for some other Sega games got sparked like Shinobi for instance, or Virtua Fighter. It is truly amazing how versatile Sega had been as a developer back in the golden days of gaming.
This year I bought Panzer Dragoon Remake and Streets of Rage 4 for my Switch. Both are very cool games, I played the latter every now and then during the last days. And Panzer Dragoon is a game that you won't master on the first try, this is a game that you'll learn to appreciate the more you play it because you'll start to improve with every run and the enjoyment will grow each time. Of course Sonic Mania is excellent. I also have Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap since 2017, I liked that one, too. What's cool is that you can change the graphics and sounds to make it look and feel like a Master System game. I thought that was very awesome!
So what I am trying to say is that Sega might have never been my first choice, but I have alwas had a deep respect for them and their games, and in the recent years Sega started to grow on me. All this leads me to the Sega Mega Drive Mini which released last year. I consider buying one because it would fix my needs, it has an excellent game selection and the price is very fair. Does anyone have one? How do you like it?
Are there any other Sega enthusiasts here? Let's share some love!
Gameplay > Graphics
Substance > Style
Art Direction > Realism