The Square-Enix event is coming up a little bit later tonight. Not too sure it’ll be worth waiting up for. I’ll see if I can manage to stay awake to check it out. If not, I’ll make sure to grab the news as soon as I wake up. You never know what will come from the event, but I think it’s a gamble staying up for this one!
Flashback to 1992. Snap bracelets are cool, your neon yellow hat doesn’t make you look like a freak and you’re the king of the playground because you can beat all the other kids at a game of pog. Life is good, unless you’re looking for a good game featuring your favorite super heroes.
Back then there weren’t many magazines dedicated to gaming, or at least they were a lot harder to find. Because of this I had two things to rely on. What my friends said would be a good game, and the lies plastered all over a games box art. Due to my limited resources I ended up playing some of the biggest pieces of crap I’ve ever played in my life, but you know what? Even though some of them were awful, I still loved them. The fact that I could play as one of the X-Men, pick my favorite Ninja Turtle, or see Batman fight Wonder Woman blew my tiny Super Mario cereal filled mind.
I would play pretty much anything with my favorite characters in it, meaning I played a lot of crap with the sad misunderstanding that it was good. My memories of near tear inducing excitement over the fact that I could be Wolverine on the NES are very real. Forget that the game was atrocious, I could play as the ol’ canuckle head himself and I was in heaven. For about 5 minutes.
Then came the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I had no idea why I was fighting monsters that looked like they were cobbled together by someone with a fetish for body parts. I just knew that I was my favorite turtle Michelangelo, and though I had no idea what the hell I was doing, I was going to kick a whole lot of shell.
A few years later I was playing X-Men on the Sega Genesis. To this day, the first X-Men on the Genesis is one of my favorite games. It came with one of the coolest posters I had ever seen, had box art to match, and I was once again able to play as Wolverine except this time he wasn’t a brown pixel. Yes, I know most people thought it was awful and prefer the game’s sequel, but I loved THIS game. It was the first, half way decent attempt at the X-Men license, and it did some third wall breaking things back in the day. Like when you defeated Mojo the only way you could continue was by actually pressing the reset button on your Sega Genesis. I remember the first time I got to this point. I was terrified to lose my progress so I put the controller down, and sat with my finger poised over the reset button. After awhile I said screw it, hit the button, and as the screen was flooded with 0’s and 1’s. I held my breath in anticipation of what would happen next. I was able to continue, but I’ll never forget that moment of sheer terror.
There were so many games back then that tricked you with pretty box art. The Incredible Hulk on the Super Nintendo is a good example. I remember seeing some stunning Hulk artwork on the cover of that game, prompting me to rent it and then promptly causing me disappointment. I think this was the moment it started dawning on me that not every super hero game was going to be good. I was never a huge Hulk fan either so instead of a fond memory being formed, a reminder was implanted. Now, every time I went into the rental store and saw his green face staring back at me it was like an omen. A taunt saying “No Destin. Marvel Superheroes: War of the Gems is going to suck. Just look! I’m in it.” The Hulk voices I heard in my head were jerks, but by gone it, they were right.
After going through some absolutely horrendous titles like Justice League: Task Force and TMNT: Tournament Fighters on the Genesis (both of which I thought were good at the time), the games started to get better. They started earning my trust again, and being a huge X-Men fan, I finally purchased my second super hero game. X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse was developed by Capcom and was basically a Beat ‘em up. It Featured favorites like Beast, Wolverine, Cyclops, and Psylocke and you would take on characters like Omega Red, The Sentinels, and even a gigantic Brood Queen. It was X-Men bliss and not just because you could see Psylocke’s butt.
It seemed that this would be the first step toward getting decent comic book games to the masses. Capcom, as many of you know, have since brought us X-Men: Children of the Atom, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and the soon to be released Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Things are much different today as game developers have started to realize “Hey. If I make a game that doesn’t suck, it sells much better than a game that does suck.” Still there’s many times I’ve thought back to the days of that crappy Genesis version of X-Men. Standing in place as Wolverine healed just so I could have the chance to play a little bit longer. Though I was deceived in my purchases and rentals, I will always look back fondly. Look back fondly and be extremely grateful when a superhero game is released today that’s halfway decent.